Primary liability refers to an obligation for which a party is directly responsible. Secondary liability, on the other hand, refers to an obligation that is the responsibility of another party if the party that is directly responsible fails to satisfy the obligation. In some cases, parties will attempt to attach primary liability to “secondary” actors. An example may be found in the recent Stoneridge v. Scientific Atlanta decision, in which the plaintiff attempted to attach primary liability to a third party. The Supreme Court found against the plaintiff, restricting the scope of securities fraud lawsuits.
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