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Securities Act - Liability
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  1. Securities Act - Liability Section 11 standing “due diligence” (last updated 14 Feb 13)

  2. Drafters of Securities Act of 1933 • James M. Landis {} • HLS (1924) • S Ct clerk, Brandeis (1925) • Chair, FTC (1933-34) • Chair, SEC (1935-37) • Dean, HLS (1937-1946) • Thomas G. Corcoran {} • HLS (1926) • SCt clerk OWH (1927) • WS lawyer (1927-32) • Bureaucrat (1932-35) • Lobbyist par excellence • Benjamin V. Cohen {} • SJD HLS (1915) • FDR’s “brain trust” • Genl counsel PWA • Dumbarton Oaks (UN)

  3. Investor protection in public offering September 12, 1938 • Disclosure (market protection) • Mandatory • Managed (“gun-jumping” rule) • SEC oversight (regulatory protection) • Review and comment • Acceleration authority • Investigation / stop order / enforcement (§17) • Private liability (court protection) • §11: material misinformation in RS • §12(a)(1): §5 violation (non-exempt, unregistered sales) • §12(a)(2): other material misinfo in offering

  4. Compare §11 to Rule 10b-5?

  5. Securities fraud action Rule 10b-5 • Transactional nexus • Plaintiff • Defendant • Elements • Material misrepresentation or omission • Scienter • Reliance • Causation • Damages • Procedure

  6. Who can be plaintiffs?

  7. §11 Civil Liabilities on Account of False Registration Statement (a) Persons possessing cause of action; persons liable. In case any part of the registration statement, when such part became effective, contained an untrue statement of a material fact or omitted to state a material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, any person acquiring such security … may, either at law or in equity, in any court of competent jurisdiction, sue--

  8. §11 Civil Liabilities on Account of False Registration Statement (a) Persons possessing cause of action; persons liable. In case any part of the registration statement, when such part became effective, contained an untrue statement of a material fact or omitted to state a material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, any person acquiring such security … may, either at law or in equity, in any court of competent jurisdiction, sue--

  9. Krim v. pcOrder.com, Inc.(5th Cir 2005) Beebe buy Market (NASDAQ) Burke sell Petrick CEDE & Co. CEDE & Co. 250,000 shs (insiders) 2.5 MM shs (IPO) Is “tracing” a hyper-technicality? Issuer

  10. §11 Civil Liabilities on Account of False Registration Statement (e) Measure of damages. The suit authorized under subsection (a) of this section may be to recover such damages as shall represent the difference between the amount paid for the security (not exceeding the price at which the security was offered to the public) and … [depends on whether sold before or held through suit]

  11. Who can be defendants?What is “due diligence” defense”?

  12. Escott v. Bar-Chris Construction Corp.(SD NY 1968) Market (plaintiffs) Retail group UW counsel Managing UW UW UW UW $$ build Issuer Board of directors Factor Bowlingalleys notes notes Signing officers Accountant (auditor) Company counsel

  13. §11(a) Persons possessing cause of action; persons liable. …any person acquiring such security … may … sue – • every person who signed the registration statement; • every person who was a director of … the issuer …; • every person who, with his consent, is named in the RS as being … a director…; • every accountant … who has with his consent been named as having … certified any part of the RS … with respect to the statement in such RS … which purports to have been … certified by him; • every underwriter with respect to such security.

  14. Escott v. Bar-Chris Construction Corp.(SD NY 1968) Market (plaintiffs) Retail group UW counsel Managing UW UW UW UW Issuer Board of directors Signing officers Accountant (auditor) Company counsel

  15. What is “due diligence” defense?

  16. Rule 176 -- Circumstances Affecting the Determination of What Constitutes Reasonable Investigation and Reasonable Grounds for Belief Under Section 11 of the Securities Act In determining whether or not the conduct of a person constitutes a reasonable investigation or a reasonable ground for belief meeting the standard set forth in section 11(c), relevant circumstances include, with respect to a person other than the issuer. • The type of issuer; • The type of security; • The type of person; • The office held when the person is an officer; • The presence or absence of another relationship to the issuer when the person is a director or proposed director; • Reasonable reliance on officers, employees, and others whose duties should have given them knowledge of the particular facts ; • When the person is an underwriter, the type of underwriting arrangement, the role of the particular person as an underwriter and the availability of information with respect to the registrant; and • Whether, with respect to a fact or document, incorporated by reference, the particular person had any responsibility for the fact or document at the time of the filing from which it was incorporated.

  17. Break into five groups: Inside insiders Outside insiders Outsiders Underwriters Accountant/auditor What would youadvise each to do?

  18. The end

  19. Abbey v. Computer Memories, Inc(ND Cal 1986) Plaintiff Market (NASDAQ) Fidelity Brokerage sell buy DLJ (Pershing ) Mayer & Schweitzer (market maker) Depository Trust Co. 2 MM shs (of 11 MM shs outstanding) Is “tracing” a hyper-technicality? Issuer