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US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Securities Fraud Class Action and to Consider Fraud on the Market Damage Theory

 

Class action status is an important tool for plaintiffs in many different types of lawsuits. It gives plaintiffs strength in numbers when filing lawsuits against large corporations. It also allows plaintiffs to collect claims which would normally be too small to justify filing a lawsuit if the plaintiff were left to do so on her own. It is the number of plaintiffs and the subsequently larger claim against the defendant which makes it possible for these plaintiffs to seek redress against defendants.

Many companies utilize illegal business practices and rely on people determining that the small claims are not worth a lawsuit in order to continue those practices. Even if a customer or investor loses a small amount of money, a company that uses the same practice with hundreds of thousands of similarly situated people could potentially rake in millions of dollars illegally.

Despite the fact that class action status is a necessary tool which is provided to plaintiffs in the laws of the United States, the Supreme Court has recently displayed a pattern of ruling against class actions. Such rulings are making it increasingly difficult for plaintiffs to file class action lawsuits which can be upheld in court. As a result of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, lower courts have had to consistently deny plaintiffs class action status in cases which would normally have been allowed to move forward as class action lawsuits.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear another case in which the parties are disputing whether or not the case can continue as a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought against Halliburton, a publicly traded energy company, by a class action of the company’s share holders. The shareholders allege that Halliburton misrepresented its potential liability in asbestos litigation, revenue from construction contracts, and benefits from a merger. According to the lawsuit, shareholders allegedly lost money after the company’s stock prices dropped after news about one or more of these factors was revealed.

The plaintiffs in the case are relying on a landmark decision which was made in 1988 in the case of Basic v. Levinson. In that case, the court determined that shareholders have the right to know about a potential merger, even before it happens. The ruling also determined that shareholders don’t have to prove that they made investment decisions based on a company’s misstatement of facts. Instead, the ruling upheld the concept of “fraud on the market,” which assumes that misleading corporate assertions are reflected in a company’s stock price.

Halliburton is hoping that the court will overturn the 1988 ruling in their favor, arguing that “Real-world experience has crippled the theoretical underpinnings of Basic”. The shareholders, on the other hand, argue that “A reversal of Basic v. Levinson would represent the most radical change in the private enforcement of the federal securities law in a generation and would be a severe blow to investors’ rights.”

According to Halliburton, even in a well-developed securities market, “stock prices do not efficiently incorporate all types of information at all times.” Because of this, the energy company argues, shareholders should not be able to sue a company based on price fluctuations alone.


Our Chicago class action and consumer fraud lawyers have been bringing fraud and class action claims for many years. Our Chicago class action attorneys have brought class action cases involving mass consumer product defects, false advertising and failure to honor warranties similar to the claims in this case. We are looking for new class actions or individual consumer cases to pursue involving defective products and other consumer fraud claims. Contact us if you feel you have a claim at our toll free number (877) 990-4990 or filling out an online contact form.

Our Chicago consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action unfair debt collection and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totaling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center. DiTommaso-Lubin is proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.

Our Aurora and Oak Lawn consumer lawyers provide assistance in fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can look here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases we have handled. You can contact one of our Illinois consumer protection lawyers who can assist in lemon law, unfair debt collection, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, consumer fraud or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog.