The goal of the antitrust laws is to protect and promote competition for goods and services of all kinds. There are two main federal antitrust statutes. First, the Clayton Act prohibits mergers that are likely to substantially lessen competition. Second, the Sherman Act prohibits contracts, combinations and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain trade and also forbids monopolization by a dominant firm in a market. There are also laws in many states that are directed at promoting fair competition.
Private citizens and businesses, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission enforce the federal antitrust laws. Violations of the Sherman Act give rise to both civil damages and criminal punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and $100 million in fines. Criminal penalties for violations of the Sherman Act, though, may only be sought by the U.S. Department of Justice. In states that have enacted antitrust laws, the executive branches of those states enforce them. In general, however, private citizens and businesses may also enforce state antitrust laws.
Antitrust actions may be brought as individual or class actions, depending on the facts of any given case and the desires of the injured plaintiffs. The decision to proceed on a class or individual basis, or to “opt out” of an existing action is one that involves balancing a number of factors, including economics, the probabilities of success, damages and relative bargaining power, among other factors. Scott + Scott works closely with its clients to ensure such decisions are made prudently, on an informed basis and in the client’s best interests.
A class action is a representative lawsuit that allows representatives or named plaintiffs to sue one or more defendants on behalf of others who have suffered the same type of harm. Class actions are typically filed when the issues in a case apply to so many people that it is not practical for them all to litigate their own separate individual lawsuits.
A securities class action is a class action filed by investors who purchased a company’s debt or equity offering within a specific period of time known as a “class period” and suffered economic injury as a result of a significant negative public disclosure about the company during that class period that caused a serious drop in the company’s stock price. Securities class actions generally are brought under the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws including the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and the Securities Act of 1933.
Securities class actions provide shareholders with the ability to be represented in lawsuits against large, well-funded corporations who are alleged to have violated the securities laws and have a lot of money to spend on defending lawsuits directed at those violations. Class actions allow investors who would never have brought an individual action against a company to seek recovery from the company without having to individually retain lawyers and incur legal fees.
Securities class actions are typically brought when: (a) a publicly held company and its officers, directors, other employees, accountants or underwriters publicly make any untrue statement of a material fact or omit to state material facts; and (b) as a result of ultimate disclosure of the untrue statement or omission, the company’s stock price drops, injuring investors who purchased the stock at artificially high prices during the class period.
A class period is a specific time period that starts when a company makes an untrue statement of a material fact about the company or the company has a duty to disclose such material fact and fails to do so. A class period generally ends when accurate information about the company is publicly disclosed.
If you purchased publicly traded securities that declined in value following a significant negative disclosure about the company, you may have a claim. Scott + Scott will quickly investigate the matter and advise as to whether any securities fraud may have occurred. If you wish to discuss your claim or have any questions concerning your rights in a securities-fraud action, please contact us.
A valid claim in a securities class action depends on when the stock was purchased. If you purchased your stock during the class period and suffered losses as a result of the alleged fraud, you have a claim even if you sold your stock before the filing of a securities class action.
Having suffered meaningful losses, you are entitled to be represented by the best available lawyers to pursue your claims. Experienced counsel will pursue your claims diligently. Scott + Scott is a national law firm with extensive experience in securities class actions and a record of obtaining exceptional results for class members.
A lead plaintiff is a class member, or class members, appointed by the court to represent the interests of the class. The lead plaintiff must seek appointment as such and usually has the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class of those seeking lead plaintiff appointment. Lead plaintiff designation can be granted to individuals, groups of individuals or institutional investors.
Courts appoint a lead plaintiff or lead plaintiffs to represent a class from the member or members of a class who: (i) request to be a lead plaintiff within 60 days of the publication of a notice of the pendency of a class action; and (ii) are most capable of adequately representing the interests of the class.
Damage experts estimate the price that the subject stock would have been during the class period had all material facts been known at the beginning of the class period. This figure may or may not equal the total amount that investors feel they lost on their investment. This is because stock prices reflect many factors in any given case and not always solely the allegedly undisclosed or misrepresented truth.
Scott + Scott represents investors in securities class actions on a contingent-fee basis. We seek fees from the court if, and only if, we are successful in obtaining a recovery for the class. All costs and expenses of the litigation are advanced by Scott + Scott.
With few exceptions, if a non-U.S. investor acquires the publicly traded securities of a U.S.-based corporation, or any securities on a U.S. exchange, they may participate in U.S. securities-fraud litigation concerning those securities, whether that is in the form of an individual action, as an active participant in a class action or as an absent class member.
No. Just like all injured investors in any given case, non-U.S. investors may choose to seek active participation in a class action as a lead or representative plaintiff, choose to remain an absent class member or pursue individual litigation on their own behalf.
Derivative actions are lawsuits filed by shareholders on behalf of the corporation to enforce a cause of action against a third party, such as an officer or director of that corporation. Derivative actions are brought when a corporation possesses, but does not enforce, its rights against third parties, which may include insiders. It is often necessary for shareholders to institute a derivative action because the corporation, which is run by officers and directors, will not bring a lawsuit against one of its own, even where there is serious wrongdoing.
Derivative actions most often involve claims that officers and directors are wasting corporate assets or that a corporation’s management or board of directors breached fiduciary duties owed to shareholders by negligence, mismanagement or self-dealing.
Any relief granted pursuant to a derivative action is a judgment against a third person requiring them to pay money to or make changes for the benefit of the corporation. If money is recovered as a result of a derivative action, it is paid back to the corporation.