Investor Fraud

Investor Fraud FAQ

Class-action lawsuits serve as a powerful tool when going up against some of the largest companies in the country. Through class-action suits, top attorneys can represent hundreds of clients at one time, thereby making the largest impact on behalf of the entire class. Most securities cases are a result of a company profits ahead of the well being and key interests of its investors, employees and stakeholders.

Below are several common questions we receive about securities litigation and class actions in general. If you have a specific question about a case or investigation, please contact us.

Individual Investors

1. What is a securities class action?
A securities class action is one case filed on behalf of hundreds or thousands of people. In the securities practice at Hagens Berman, most of our cases deal with investment fraud, ERISA violations regarding 401(k) and employee savings plans, fraudulent marketing and sales tactics of investment tools and more.

2. What's the importance of a lead plaintiff?
In any class-action lawsuit, a named lead plaintiff is required to represent the interest of all involved class members. In securities cases, this is best served by the person with the greatest financial loss. Often, multiple firms will file a proposed class action, and the lead counsel appointment goes to the firm with the lead plaintiff with the greatest loss. This ensures that the interests of the entire class are best served.

3. What is required of a lead plaintiff?
The lead plaintiff plays a critical role in class-action cases, but it is not extensive. Since you are representing potentially thousands of people, there are a few items you need to be aware of, including:

  • Being generally familiar with the litigation,
  • Providing Hagens Berman with and preserving any documents related to the case, and
  • Participation in the discussion of any settlement offerings.

4. What does a class-action lawsuit cost plaintiffs?
At Hagens Berman, there are no sign-up costs to join a suit, and our clients make no payment at any time throughout the litigation process. In class-action lawsuits, the firm asks the court to build legal fees into the final settlement or verdict. That means if Hagens Berman is successful, the firm is paid once the case is settled and done. If the case does not reach completion, the firm takes the loss, and neither the lead plaintiff nor any members of the class owe anything.

5. Why do investors need to sign up to join a class action?
Greater participation from investors, employees or shareholders in a securities case not only reaffirms the case's validity, but can also increase the settlement or verdict amount. A large class indicates to a judge and court that a problem is widespread and the effects of a company's actions cannot be ignored. Since there is no monetary contribution needed, nor are class members required to attend trial or even meet with attorneys, it serves as a no-lose situation for the class.

6. How are investors notified of class actions and settlements?
Hagens Berman notifies all class members that sign up to join a suit of any significant case updates or settlement announcements. Additionally, when a settlement is reached in a class action, the court often requires the defendant to reach out to affected individuals so there is an equal chance of participation.

7. What results could investors see from participating in a class action?
Securities class actions result in a monetary refund that is settled between the two parties or decided by a judge. Individual reimbursements depend on each case individually and what kind of loss a class member suffered. The greater an individual's loss, the more likely they are to see a greater reimbursement. However, it's important to keep in mind that final settlements and verdicts can be divided among thousands of class members, if not more.

Institutional Investors

1. What experience does Hagens Berman have in representing institutions?
Hagens Berman served as a special assistant attorney general for the states of Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Alaska, Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Vermont and Rhode Island in the landmark Tobacco Litigation. Hagens Berman successfully settled the case for $260 billion.

The settlement negotiations required that defendant Liggett admit what the industry has denied to this day: smoking causes cancer and heart disease; nicotine addicts; and the industry targets children.

2. What tools does Hagens Berman use to help monitor institutional investments?
Recently, Hagens Berman integrated an institutional investor monitoring program that helps serve clients in various ways. The program allows Hagens Berman to track investments daily and monitor for significant drops in price, new cases filed related to a client's investments and settlements reached in existing cases.

By tracking this information, Hagens Berman can recommend cases worth pursuing, notify clients of significant changes in investments and advise clients regarding lead plaintiff positions. All of these services are free of charge, and ensure that institutional investors are positioned on the forefront of legal activity regarding important investments.

3. What kind of institutional clients does Hagens Berman work with?
Hagens Berman works with a variety of institutional investors including public funds, multi-employer funds, financial institutions and more. The firm works with public employees' retirement funds in various states as well as teachers' retirement systems