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Securities Law Info Center

The federal securities laws are complex. If you have questions about these laws and the various types of securities abuses, contact an attorney.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Securities Arbitration and Litigation

Q: What are securities?

A: The term "securities" covers a number of different instruments including stocks, mutual funds, bonds, notes, debentures, investment contracts, treasury stocks and transferable shares.

Q: What is securities fraud?

A: Securities fraud is a scheme or artifice to defraud a person in connection with the sale of securities. It is also known as investment fraud, and it is the intentional deception of investors that results in financial gain. Companies can commit securities fraud by disseminating false and/or misleading information to the public. A broker-dealer can also commit securities fraud by breaching his or her duty to disclose relevant information to clients and failing to look out for the clients' best interests.

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Securities Arbitration and Litigation - An Overview

The term "securities" covers a number of different instruments including stocks, mutual funds, bonds, notes, debentures, investment contracts, treasury stocks and transferable shares. When investors lose money because of violations of securities laws by a company, broker-dealer or analyst, they can bring a private suit to hold the defendant civilly liable and recover damages. Litigation and arbitration over violations of federal and state securities laws can be complex, expensive and time consuming.

It is important to discuss your situation and potential claims with a lawyer at Kaufmann Gildin & Robbins LLP in New York, NY who has experience handling securities cases.

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Securities Litigation - Claims and Defenses

There are a variety of claims that private plaintiffs can bring under federal securities laws. The following briefly describes claims under various sections of the federal securities laws, as well as the defenses that may be available. Because of the complexity of these claims and the federal securities laws in general, it is important to have an experienced securities attorney evaluate your situation.

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Securities Arbitration

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Instead of your case being heard by a judge or jury in court, it is heard by between one and three neutral arbitrators. The arbitrators will hear all the evidence and render a decision. In 1987, in Shearson v. McMahon, the U.S. Supreme Court held that agreements to submit securities disputes to arbitration were enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act. Today, disputes between customers and broker-dealers are largely resolved in arbitration rather than in courts. Arbitration for these disputes is overseen by a self-regulatory organization such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)). An attorney who has experience handling securities arbitration can review your situation and explain arbitration procedures to you.

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Establishing a Securities Case

There are a number of factual, procedural and legal issues that a plaintiff must consider before deciding whether to file a lawsuit for a violation of the federal or state securities laws. Potential plaintiffs and their lawyers should consider issues such as: the applicable statute of limitations, the evidence supporting their claims, potential defenses that the defendant could raise and damages. An experienced securities lawyer can evaluate your situation and help you determine how to best proceed.

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Private Securities Litigation Reform Act

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA) was designed to prevent the "routine filing of lawsuits against issuers of securities and others whenever there is a significant change in an issuer's stock price, without regard to any underlying culpability of the issuer, and with only faint hope that the discovery process might lead eventually to some plausible cause of action…." H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-369 (1995), reprinted in 1995 U.S.C.C.A.N. 679, 730. The PSLRA established new rules for securities class actions and brought about several important changes affecting cases brought under the securities laws. This article provides a general overview of a few of the key provisions of the PSLRA. An experienced securities attorney can provide you with more guidance regarding the PSLRA.

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Securities Resource Links

NASDAQ
The world's largest electronic stock market.

New York Stock Exchange
Web site for the New York Stock Exchange.

Securities and Exchange Commission
The primary mission of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the securities markets.

EDGAR (database of SEC filings)
All foreign and domestic companies are required to file registration statements, periodic reports and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access this information for free. Instructions for searching the EDGAR database are available on this site.

Reuters
Investment and financial news from Reuters.

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