15 U.S. Code § 77z–1 - Private securities litigation
The provisions of this subsection shall apply to each private action arising under this subchapter that is brought as a plaintiff class action pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
The certification filed pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to be a waiver of the attorney-client privilege.
If more than one action on behalf of a class asserting substantially the same claim or claims arising under this subchapter is filed, only the plaintiff or plaintiffs in the first filed action shall be required to cause notice to be published in accordance with clause (i).
Not later than 90 days after the date on which a notice is published under subparagraph (A)(i), the court shall consider any motion made by a purported class member in response to the notice, including any motion by a class member who is not individually named as a plaintiff in the complaint or complaints, and shall appoint as lead plaintiff the member or members of the purported plaintiff class that the court determines to be most capable of adequately representing the interests of class members (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as the “most adequate plaintiff”) in accordance with this subparagraph.
If more than one action on behalf of a class asserting substantially the same claim or claims arising under this subchapter has been filed, and any party has sought to consolidate those actions for pretrial purposes or for trial, the court shall not make the determination required by clause (i) until after the decision on the motion to consolidate is rendered. As soon as practicable after such decision is rendered, the court shall appoint the most adequate plaintiff as lead plaintiff for the consolidated actions in accordance with this subparagraph.
For purposes of this subparagraph, discovery relating to whether a member or members of the purported plaintiff class is the most adequate plaintiff may be conducted by a plaintiff only if the plaintiff first demonstrates a reasonable basis for a finding that the presumptively most adequate plaintiff is incapable of adequately representing the class.
The most adequate plaintiff shall, subject to the approval of the court, select and retain counsel to represent the class.
Except as the court may otherwise permit, consistent with the purposes of this section, a person may be a lead plaintiff, or an officer, director, or fiduciary of a lead plaintiff, in no more than 5 securities class actions brought as plaintiff class actions pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure during any 3-year period.
The share of any final judgment or of any settlement that is awarded to a representative party serving on behalf of a class shall be equal, on a per share basis, to the portion of the final judgment or settlement awarded to all other members of the class. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the award of reasonable costs and expenses (including lost wages) directly relating to the representation of the class to any representative party serving on behalf of the class.
The terms and provisions of any settlement agreement of a class action shall not be filed under seal, except that on motion of any party to the settlement, the court may order filing under seal for those portions of a settlement agreement as to which good cause is shown for such filing under seal. For purposes of this paragraph, good cause shall exist only if publication of a term or provision of a settlement agreement would cause direct and substantial harm to any party.
Total attorneys’ fees and expenses awarded by the court to counsel for the plaintiff class shall not exceed a reasonable percentage of the amount of any damages and prejudgment interest actually paid to the class.
The amount of the settlement proposed to be distributed to the parties to the action, determined in the aggregate and on an average per share basis.
If the settling parties agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the plaintiff prevailed on each claim alleged under this subchapter, a statement concerning the average amount of such potential damages per share.
If the parties do not agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the plaintiff prevailed on each claim alleged under this subchapter, a statement from each settling party concerning the issue or issues on which the parties disagree.
A statement made in accordance with clause (i) or (ii) concerning the amount of damages shall not be admissible in any Federal or State judicial action or administrative proceeding, other than an action or proceeding arising out of such statement.
If any of the settling parties or their counsel intend to apply to the court for an award of attorneys’ fees or costs from any fund established as part of the settlement, a statement indicating which parties or counsel intend to make such an application, the amount of fees and costs that will be sought (including the amount of such fees and costs determined on an average per share basis), and a brief explanation supporting the fees and costs sought.
The name, telephone number, and address of one or more representatives of counsel for the plaintiff class who will be reasonably available to answer questions from class members concerning any matter contained in any notice of settlement published or otherwise disseminated to the class.
A brief statement explaining the reasons why the parties are proposing the settlement.
If a plaintiff class is represented by an attorney who directly owns or otherwise has a beneficial interest in the securities that are the subject of the litigation, the court shall make a determination of whether such ownership or other interest constitutes a conflict of interest sufficient to disqualify the attorney from representing the plaintiff class.
In any private action arising under this subchapter, all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed during the pendency of any motion to dismiss, unless the court finds, upon the motion of any party, that particularized discovery is necessary to preserve evidence or to prevent undue prejudice to that party.
During the pendency of any stay of discovery pursuant to this subsection, unless otherwise ordered by the court, any party to the action with actual notice of the allegations contained in the complaint shall treat all documents, data compilations (including electronically recorded or stored data), and tangible objects that are in the custody or control of such person and that are relevant to the allegations, as if they were the subject of a continuing request for production of documents from an opposing party under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
A party aggrieved by the willful failure of an opposing party to comply with paragraph (2) may apply to the court for an order awarding appropriate sanctions.
Upon a proper showing, a court may stay discovery proceedings in any private action in a State court as necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments, in an action subject to a stay of discovery pursuant to this subsection.
In any private action arising under this subchapter, upon final adjudication of the action, the court shall include in the record specific findings regarding compliance by each party and each attorney representing any party with each requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to any complaint, responsive pleading, or dispositive motion.
If the court makes a finding under paragraph (1) that a party or attorney violated any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to any complaint, responsive pleading, or dispositive motion, the court shall impose sanctions on such party or attorney in accordance with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Prior to making a finding that any party or attorney has violated Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court shall give such party or attorney notice and an opportunity to respond.
In any private action arising under this subchapter in which the plaintiff may recover money damages only on proof that a defendant acted with a particular state of mind, the court shall, when requested by a defendant, submit to the jury a written interrogatory on the issue of each such defendant’s state of mind at the time the alleged violation occurred.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1), (3)(A)(iii), (B)(iii)(I)(cc), (vi), (b)(2), and (c), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
1998—Pub. L. 105–353, § 301(a)(5), made technical correction relating to placement of section in subchapter.
Subsec. (b)(4). Pub. L. 105–353, § 101(a)(2), added par. (4).
Amendment by section 101(a)(2) of Pub. L. 105–353 not to affect or apply to any action commenced before and pending on Nov. 3, 1998, see section 101(c) of Pub. L. 105–353, set out as a note under section 77p of this title.
Section not to affect or apply to any private action arising under this subchapter or title I of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.), commenced before and pending on Dec. 22, 1995, see section 108 of Pub. L. 104–67, set out as an Effective Date of 1995 Amendment note under section 77l of this title.
Nothing in section to be deemed to create or ratify any implied right of action, or to prevent Commission, by rule or regulation, from restricting or otherwise regulating private actions under Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.), see section 203 of Pub. L. 104–67, set out as a note under section 78j–1 of this title.
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