Stockholder Lawsuits

posted on:
February 1, 2003

Jere Beasley

The sorry record left by Corporate America from last year’s scandals hasn’t seemed to bother the Bush White House a great deal. As a result, we have seen the most shareholder fraud lawsuits ever filed in one year. According to a report by Stanford Law School, 260 shareholder fraud lawsuits were filed last year. This was a 54% increase over 2001, during which year there were 169 shareholder suits. Most of those cases were settled with the average settlement being for $16 million. During 2001 there were also 224 corporate financial restatements. In the first half of last year, there were 125 restatements. This record insofar as the number of lawsuits is impressive because the 1995 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act made it more difficult for financial fraud victims to file suits. I wonder if President Bush and Karl Rove consider the losses suffered by American investors – many of them Republicans – to be insignificant. Surely, they don’t believe the 260 lawsuits to be of a frivolous nature. Another observation is that we don’t see any of the corporate CEO’s out on strike, although some of them appear to be headed for jail.

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