The Supreme Court May Soon Take Away This Important Right


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If the controversial oil-services company Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) has its way, then small investors may soon lose one of their most potent weapons against corporate fraud: the ability to file class-action lawsuits under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

At the end of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Halliburton's appeal in a class-action case brought by investors against it and CEO David Lesar for "knowingly or severely recklessly misleading" the public more than a decade ago about the company's liability for asbestos claims.

Indeed, it's no exaggeration to say that the very existence of securities fraud class actions hinges almost entirely on the outcome of this case.

The facts of the case
The facts involve statements made by Halliburton in 2001 about the extent of exposure to asbestos litigation assumed in its acquisition of Dresser Industries.

In January of that year, the company reported that "prospective asbestos liabilities ... should have minimal adverse impact on the company going forward." In August, it claimed that "asbestos exposure concerns appear to be overblown." And in November, it stated that "open asbestos claims will be resolved without a material adverse effect on our financial position or the results of operations."

Yet less than a month after the last statement, Halliburton was hit with a $30 million asbestos verdict, causing investors to lose faith in the company's assurances and fear the worst. Shares in the oil services company proceeded to plummet, dropping by 42.7% on the day of the announcement.

The current class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of investors soon thereafter and has made its way through various courts ever since.

A critical legal wrinkle
The specific issue before the Supreme Court is a nuanced one. Halliburton isn't simply professing its innocence or asking the justices to hold that it didn't mislead investors. Instead, it's moving the court to bar plaintiffs from litigating the case as a class action as opposed to separate lawsuits.

On the surface, this doesn't seem like a big deal. Who cares if investors have to sue Halliburton individually as opposed to as a class? What difference does it make to people who didn't own Halliburton stock when the alleged misrepresentations took place?

The answer is that it makes a huge difference.

This is because Halliburton is asking the court to overturn a legal doctrine known as the "fraud on the market" theory, which creates a rebuttable presumption that investors rely on statements of material fact made publicly by corporate executives. Without this presumption, securities fraud cases would be far too complicated to litigate as class actions, leaving individual investors to fend for themselves against deep-pocketed corporations.

The implications of this would be considerable. Most importantly, for nearly three decades, the securities laws have been predicated on both public and private enforcement -- the former by the SEC and Justice Department and the latter by private class-action lawsuits. Without the latter, in turn, the market would lose a critical overseer and, one can only assume, be far more susceptible to deceit.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 6:07 PM, frellmedead wrote:

    Stop holding companies criminally or civilly responsible in the first place. Go after the executives and board members, and prosecute them and seize their assets.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 6:36 PM, dreamchancer wrote:

    The Supreme Courts job is to protect the integrity of the Constitution not to diminish people's rights. Once they do this we move towards socialism as out government would like us to do.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 6:38 PM, yaovk wrote:

    Thanks to Cheney, Halliburton profited obscenely in the war of Iraq. Now Halliburton and other big corporations want to openly rape this country by gutting any deterrent law or act against their misdeeds. How could the Supreme Court would allow white collar criminals with a carte blanche to commit frauds and crimes against the consumers and the public at large? No wonder the rich are getting obscenely richer and they are financing our corrupt politicians to do their bidding.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:19 PM, BobinTexas wrote:

    Unfortunately, the trust level in corporate management is very low. Unrealistic marketing claims, outright wishful thinking far removed from reality, and the unrelenting pursuit for short term profit at the expense of long term stability have become the keystone of modern corporate operations. While not always popular to the short termer, following leadership like Warren Buffett is still the safest way for an individual to invest. Leaders with lucrative golden parachutes offer individual investors nothing.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:22 PM, Libertarian71 wrote:

    This a one-sided article that glosses over the nuanced legal issues involved. Obviously, plaintiffs' class action lawyers, with whom Mr. Maxfield aligns himself with in the article, will make it sound like the End of the World if the Supreme Court overturns Basic, Inc. v. Levison. But many legal scholars believe that case was wrongly decided, and the decision itself is at odds with the general rules governing class certification.

    Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure generally requires a finding that each of the class members specifically relied on the alleged misrepresentations at issue. Reliance is generally not "inferred" on a class-wide basis in the non-securities context. That is the crux of the issue.

    To Motley Fool readers, here are links to arguments from the "other side":

    Halliburton's brief on the merits: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/13-...

    Amicus brief of legal scholars in support of Halliburton's position: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/13-...

    You can read all of the briefs here:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/halliburton-co-v-...

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:23 PM, Libertarian71 wrote:

    This a one-sided article that glosses over the nuanced legal issues involved. Obviously, plaintiffs' class action lawyers, with whom Mr. Maxfield aligns himself with in the article, will make it sound like the End of the World if the Supreme Court overturns Basic, Inc. v. Levison. But many legal scholars believe that case was wrongly decided, and the decision itself is at odds with the general rules governing class certification.

    Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure generally requires a finding that each of the class members specifically relied on the alleged misrepresentations at issue. Reliance is generally not "inferred" on a class-wide basis in the non-securities context. That is the crux of the issue.

    To Motley Fool readers, here are links to arguments from the "other side":

    Halliburton's brief on the merits: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/13-...

    Amicus brief of legal scholars in support of Halliburton's position: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/13-...

    You can read all of the briefs here:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/halliburton-co-v-...

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:24 PM, NoBelieverInGovt wrote:

    Isn't it just so classic for the Federal Courts to all of a sudden "discover" some perceived wrong 70 plus years AFTER the fact?

    The US "Justice System" is a farce.

    The Constitution has a major defect and that is to allow the so called "justices" to make decisions upon something 70 years AFTER the fact.

    If it was a real issue, they could have acted decades ago.

    The farce of American "justice" allows the courts to drag their feet, keep their cozy M-F jobs, and do little their entire career other than pretend to be "making hard decisions."

    The Constitution fails to protect us from being manipulated by the court system.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:26 PM, NoBelieverInGovt wrote:

    Actually, BobInTexas, the trust in private corporations is much higher than the public trust in the American government.

    Where you been? Certainly not reading public poll statistics.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:33 PM, airjackie wrote:

    Time to get 5 Justices paid for a vote and Dick Cheney is on it right now. Slappy Thomas Clarence is in, Scalia is in and even Alito has his hand out to vote for Halliburton. Now with 6 Justices left it should be interesting. But don't worry Halliburton has much bigger problems with Iran. After Iran watched the dysfunctional lunatic clowns in the Congress/Senate try to push more sanctions Iran has open it's oil deals to others around the World. Pay back is something.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:48 PM, oldgeek60 wrote:

    Perhaps, someone can point out, in Article III the power of SCOTUS, that allows, it's interference in Civil Corporate Law?

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:51 PM, davidaus wrote:

    Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Chase, Monsanto... this is the REAL U.S. government...we have no freedoms left anymore...one by one they have all been stripped away by these greedy pigs

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 7:59 PM, oldgeek60 wrote:

    SCOTUS operates at the will of the People and within the boundaries set in the Constitution by the People in Article III. No where in Article III, is the Federal Court given the power to legislate, even a parking law or to modify any existing law, including the Constitution. This power is limited to the Congress, with approval of the People.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 8:06 PM, larryillman wrote:

    I own a wide variety of stocks. Every once in a while I get the mailing for going into such a law suit. Years ago I actually did the required paper work. My return was a few pennies for all the time I spent. What a waste of time for the small investor. Maybe worth it to a very large investor but it seems more likely a scam for the lawyers. And, of course, the company pays for the behavior of some company officials.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 8:23 PM, BilboBaggins wrote:

    Corporate executives should just be given freedom of speech like the rest of us. Let them make predictions. Let them speak to investors without having a lawyer edit every word they say. Let them speak without fear that every word will be used against them .

    Then let the market hold them accountable.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 8:31 PM, darma2u wrote:

    Given how many on this Supreme Court have behavior and acted along with the their alignment with Corporate Rights, leaves little to my imagination. Justice's Thomas and Scalia noted support of the Koch Brothers doesn't take much of a leap. This as I call them the Supreme 5 make the law verse interpret and judge the law, given how they finagled what comes up in front of them, ie. Citizens United, their manipulation left me with a clear mind that the outcome had been decided before the case came in front of the court. Also given the reports of how judges and justices get to where they are, just like those in Congress it is difficult to see them as truly a 'good', honest and 'independent' Court.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 8:32 PM, mtnhiker wrote:

    The only people who really rely on class action lawsuits are those in the legal industry. Occasionally an individual profits form class action lawsuits, but it has been the legal industry who have been using class action lawsuits to line their pockets at the expense of the consumer and the taxpayer - the use of class action by the legal industry has been criminal and Judges allowing these claims to go forward is a travesty of justice.

    The legal industry is lining up against this because it takes away in income stream that had no risk and huge payoffs - all at the expense of the consumer.

    Motley Fool seems to be square on the side of the legal industry and conveniently neglects how the little guys have been hurt time and again by class action lawsuits.

    This article is a joke, recently Motley Fool has been carrying water for the Democratic Party trying to protect cronyism, and now an important funding source for the Democratic Party - the legal industry.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 8:53 PM, Blessthebeasts wrote:

    Typical of SCOTUS that they would actually hear a corporation's appeal concerning removing citizen protections (after the Chief Justice and his other conservative jurists have been duly bought off by Halliburton) - after all, they declared corporations "people" didn't they? Time to remove lifetime judgeships and the perks these dinosaurs receive and replace them with judges who understand that, first and foremost, their job is to interpret the constitution in order to ensure citizen protections - not the other way around.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 9:35 PM, McEquity wrote:

    I believe lesar still is CEO not sure why this article refers to him as the former one

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 9:37 PM, Westabutchie wrote:

    I have been involved is several class suits and we won them all. I received a coupon for 24 cents on my next purchase and the attorneys split $46,000,000 of shareholder money (value).

    Companies are caught in a bind. during a multi-year trial, should they guess what a jury will decide or what they feel is proper? Answer is neither. Juries of non experts are a poor way to decide disputes (arbitration is somewhat better) and a company should not telegraph their hopes or fears so the jury can consider facts not in evidence.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 10:49 PM, mightythor47 wrote:

    I guess I'm a little confused here. What do stockholders gain by suing a company they own?

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 10:50 PM, Libertarian71 wrote:

    "Perhaps, someone can point out, in Article III the power of SCOTUS, that allows, it's interference in Civil Corporate Law?"

    The Supreme Court in this case is not "interfering with Civil Corporate Law." Nor are they being asked to strike down an Act of Congress. Rather, the Court is being asked to revisit one of its own prior precedents, Basic, Inc. v. Levinson, and determine whether the decision is in conformity with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing class certification. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure themselves are promulgated by the United States Supreme Court pursuant to the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. section 2072. Accordingly, the idea that the Court is somehow overstepping its bounds by reviewing this case has no merit.

    A more pertinent question is whether someone can identify in Article II the power of Congress to interfere with "Civil Corporate Law."

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 11:43 PM, Libertarian71 wrote:

    "I guess I'm a little confused here. What do stockholders gain by suing a company they own?"

    Money.

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 11:50 PM, quacker wrote:

    well if they gave obama enough money they will win the case, has nothing to do with whats best

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 11:59 PM, Buzzrammet wrote:

    Why would anyone quote a well known liar, hypocrite and general rabble rouser like Mychal Massie? Irrespective of his color he has NO credibility with anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together.

    As far as this lawsuit goes it is a given the vote will be, again, 5 to 4 in favor of the corporations against anyone who dares to go up against them. Little people, whether majory stockholders or just some people harmed by corporations would be left for dead with no repercussions against any corporation who created harm in any way shape or form.

    But as I said, the five anti democracy and pro fascist corporate state SCOTUS will rule in favor of Halliburton as always.

    To Dreamchancer, you do realize your comment makes absolutely no sense?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 12:39 AM, hbofbyu wrote:

    People, even very smart people, will deceive themselves if they are paid to do so.

    Lawyers do it, corporate CEOs do it. Motley Fool writers do it.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 1:19 AM, BigDadd55 wrote:

    Halliburton already owns the house of representatives and the senate, why not the supreme court too?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 1:47 AM, JonK wrote:

    I hope Halliburton wins this one. Class Actions are a bunch of crap and the only people who make any money are the greedy scumbag lawyers.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 2:19 AM, Libertarian71 wrote:

    I made a typo above. I meant to say: A more pertinent question is whether someone can identify in Article I the power of Congress to interfere with "Civil Corporate Law."

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 2:37 AM, Hagar0960 wrote:

    Shame, shame, shame, Mr. Maxfield. You disclose that you have no position in the stocks named, but you do not disclose that you are an attorney and thus have a professional monetary interest in how permissive the law is on class actions.

    The class actions frequently have nothing to do with protecting the shareholders and everything to do with enriching the lawyers. The shareholders have already been burned once by management that - if it did not affirmatively lie - was at least careless with the company operations. Now on top of it, a pack of law firms compete to be first to the courthouse to sue the company owned by the shareholders in the name of the shareholders. They extract a hefty settlement from the company, take 30% for themselves, and pay the rest to the shareholders whose company they just plundered. Effectively, taking money from one pocket of the client who has already lost on the company, taking part from themselves, and returning the remainder to the other pocket, all the time praising themselves for the great service they are providing to the client.

    I too am a lawyer, and I hope the Supreme Court shuts down this lawyers' hog trough. It is shameful.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:03 AM, loujack11 wrote:

    Evil is as evil does.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:20 AM, andiconda wrote:

    Ahh the hands of Fascism turning one by one.. When will America Wake up

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:47 AM, wildwillywong wrote:

    What in the name of Jesus would possess Halliburton to buy Dresser Industries in the first place?

    Was it because Dresser had a grandfathered license to trade with Saddam and other enemies of the United States, and Halliburton wanted that license?

    That's what somebody told me, but I never knew if it was true or not.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 9:14 AM, lm1b2 wrote:

    Hopefully they will rule for the plaintiff ! More important then this is when is the Court going to reign in the Presidential power grab by Obama,and past presidents concerning the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution,this affects not only Obama violating our constitution,but all future presidents !

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 9:35 AM, peckbill wrote:

    Who represents the citizens of the United States of America? By Constitution we elect people from each State and areas within the State to go to Washington D.C. to represent the citizens of the United States of America. What happened to this philosophy? It doesn’t work the way it is supposed to. The people we elect and send to Congress represents only those with influence and money. Who represents the citizens and their needs, wants and beliefs? Let’s look at a couple examples; 1) without exception every State (by 75% of the people; don’t listen to other percentages, put the item on the ballot in each State and find the truth) DO NOT want gay marriage to be recognized (most people do not object to a Civil Union); yet the Supreme Court and all its jesters as well a many Congressional leaders repeatedly go with the people wanting gay marriage recognition, 2) over 72% of the people within the United States of America want to see a significant increase in the hourly wage; yet, many in Congress continually listen to the few who are rich and influential and will not support a wage increase, 3) over 80% of the citizens of the United States of America insist that individual who come to live in the United States do so under the existing laws. If an individual wants to become a citizen he or she must earn that right. Yet; our people in Congress and many greedy businessmen want to give a free ride to many illegal immigrants who are in the United States of America, 4) the Constitution is bragged upon frequently about the individual rights and freedoms of the American citizen. Yet, many in Congress and the very influential continually rob this inalienable right from women, 5) the Constitution brags of fairness in government. Yet, Congress allows members of Congress to continually cheat and steal from the people, i.e., they misuse the word “exclusively” in application of the federal tax code; it allows money for political advertising to be used for anything the candidate so chooses, it provide very large payments of subsidy to members of Congress and pays individual insurance premiums and defaults, 6) 73% OF THE PEOPLE IN THE United States believe there must be gun control to stop the useless killings and power push of the few, mainly NRA members. Where is our Congress; how many of them fear that they will lose votes if they go against the NRA (the NRA is not even a close majority), 81% of the people believe that pots and other hard drugs should not be allowed to be openly used nor sold; they fear for the future of their children and others. Every day, one State or another allows pot to be openly sold and used without any strict controls; the federal government looks the other way when the subject comes up. Where is our Congress and where are our federal police? and, 7) the fairness to the citizens of the United States of America really goes down the drain when our federal government provides more money to overseas countries than we spend on individual programs with the United States of America. Where did we go wrong and how can something broken so badly be fixed?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:15 AM, Noshirt wrote:

    oldgeek60, Article III of the Constitution gives the federal courts the power to decide matters arising under federal law. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is a federal statute.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:30 AM, AllenElliott wrote:

    How then are they going to reconcile this with the Tobacco Industry, who has paid out millions for their failure to notify the public.?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:33 AM, Michaellaborde wrote:

    This is how slimmey crooked lawyers steal money from companies that contribute to the wellness of of our economy and provide good jobs to many. These "class action" law suits only make lawyers rich millionaires by stealing wealth. And guess what, 99.9% of judges are lawyers. It's a legal abyss and a lawyer "click". Tying up the court system and costing the tax payer $millions. A blight upon our nation.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:34 AM, grampysz wrote:

    Our Supreme Court lost it's way some time ago. Their dissection of legal jargon ends up overriding protection of our Constitutional Rights.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:55 AM, golchie2 wrote:

    The average investor in a class action lawsuit receives a small pittance if the case is decided in favor of the investor; the lawyers are the ones who make the real money

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 12:04 PM, LinJSolo wrote:

    The USSC is supposed to be fair and impartial about decisions made for ALL involved. If they side with wealth and corporate concerns, then just like many situations that have happened and exist in this ever growing corrupt and greed ridden country; it'll be just one more way that the citizens in this country get screwed! For various reasons class action suits are important, since a great number of people have been affected by the same company and for the same issue. If they allow the corporation to have it their way, it will be such a waste of time and money given the issue of hundreds or thousands of people involved in the same suit; so it will be such an obnoxious situation to remedy. I'm hoping that they give this situation a great deal of thought and consideration. But perhaps if they choose to side with corporations, they're hoping that lots of people will just drop out of the situation, that is why if they side wrongly with the wealthy entity; will really put the screws to the little person who has been wronged in the first place! There needs to be a safety net always in this country, to protect people from manufactures mistakes, especially when it comes to a product consumed or used by a large number of people; so it makes no sense to end class action suits!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 12:29 PM, pyrrho wrote:

    The Roberts Court will rule in favor of Haliburton because that kind of ruling would be consistent with its decisions in the past which favored the wealthy and corporations. Citizens United allowed those with deep pockets to purchase our representation. The Affordable Care Act, because its the law, will fill the pockets of those who own and run insurance companies. Finding in favor of Haliburton is merely being consistent in the ongoing redistribution of wealth and power in this country.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 12:36 PM, philthymcnasty wrote:

    One of the differences between a third world country and a first world country is how the law protects the investor. If they take this right away from investors, then they can say goodbye to future investments. It wont happen overnight, but it would happen pretty quickly.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 12:56 PM, onisac wrote:

    Greed and money make up the nations and companies of the world. How can that possibly work for the better? A reminder:

    "Thomas Jeffersons letter to Securetary of the treasary

    Albert Gallation 1802

    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous

    to our liberties, than standing armies. If the American

    people ever allow private banks to control the issue of

    their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the

    banks and corporations that will grow up around (the

    bank) will deprive the people of all property until their

    children wake-up homeless, on the continent their

    fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken

    from the banks, and restored to the people, to whom it

    properly belongs."

    Thomas Jefferson,

    Any questions?

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 2:19 PM, meeeto wrote:

    let see Halliburton's is own by Bush and the U.S. Supreme Court is own by Bush How do you think they will rule!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 3:18 PM, theredbob1 wrote:

    Lets all keep in mind that haliburton/cheney won't release info on what they're injecting into the ground in their fracturing . Keep an open mind and wonder what this might be.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 4:15 PM, Freddyfreebe1 wrote:

    class-action lawsuits got a lot of lawyer rich, while you got nicks and dimes. But it is the only way the people of this country can stop the greedy companies from selling junk and killing people with there lies. Bad Drugs will kill the population and bankrupt healthcare if this law is changed.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 4:37 PM, brooklybummer wrote:

    Halliburton would steal the penny off a dead man's eyes and then charge the government for doing it.

    If there is a company that has screwed the American government and public, it is Halliburton.

    Instead of doing time for their crimes, they just get more government business. Now they want to make sure they never pay for their crimes.

    I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court rules against Halliburton's suite.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 5:01 PM, dodyloves wrote:

    Now look at this Our own Supreme Court people that never lose there job's are going or may take away more of our rights? Now what kind of American are they if they take away our rights an I guess there rights are different then our rights ? Is there something Wrong with this picture? YES! Stop American form taking our American rights away from us! This country is turning into a Joke! Jefferson , Washington, Madison, Benjamin, FOUR FATHERS WHERE ARE YOU PLEASE! AMERICANS DIED TO GET THESES RIGHTS FOR US. WAKE UP AMERICANS. WE THE PEOPLE. FIGHT OR DIE TRYING TO KEEP THE RIGHT THAT WHERE GIVEN TO US!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 5:06 PM, iosax wrote:

    Haliburton is part of our real government as opposed to the "Broadway", reality show one, represented by congress. Supreme court is just a rubber stamp for this real government, there is no doubt on how it's gonna rule

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 5:52 PM, drjcm wrote:

    I have no dog in this fight, but am tired of lawyers supposedly representing me, suing companies in which I own stock, getting a huge payout with me getting $25 or a coupon to buy 50 feet of 6 inch pipe at 5%off. The lawyers in these class action suits don't represent the shareholder but themselves, and weaken the shareholder's company and their supposed client for their own profit. I would hope something stops this ripoff of the shareholder pretending it is in the shareholder's interest. When I have written to "my attorneys" asking how a $40 million settlement weakening my company $40 million with shareholders getting half and them getting half I have never gotten a reasonable explanation. Halliburton may be an obscenely bad company, but the Law Firms that pretend to represent the shareholder are at least as bad.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 9:18 PM, LLbLibra wrote:

    If SCOTUS rules in favor of Halliburton, then Congress should overrule that decision by statutorily enacted legislation to reinstate the right of private class action in securities fraud matters. However, expecting Congress to do anything that is associated with protecting the rights of the American People is a long shot to say the least as evidenced by their promulgation of the Supreme Court Case Selection Act of 1988 which stole the right of federal review of state court action that violated the Constitution and laws of the United States. The founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves at the dismal manner in which our government now operates.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 2:41 AM, whyzup wrote:

    If there was a poster company for why this Right should NOT be abolished it would be HALLIBURTON..

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 3:52 AM, buoy1 wrote:

    The problem with class action is, the lawyers get $90 million, the people hurt get 36 cents each.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 8:02 AM, wrdbrd wrote:

    Let me tell you about class action suits. I have been party to two.

    We saved money for our kids education. Thousands and thousands of $.

    When it came time to start getting it, the trusted company AT&T went belly up. They were found guilty of falsifying information. We were reimbursed $10.00

    We had a similar one on another case. We got zero.

    Where did the billions go. to the blood-sucking lawyers. The only "right" associated with this is the right for lawyers to make money off of the people.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 10:27 AM, dkangan wrote:

    I am always interested when I hear about someone 'giving' or 'taking away' a right. Under US Constitutional law, rights are not 'given', people are imbued with them. The government may or may not recognize the rights that we naturally have, but we have them. Class action suits are a product of law. Can we say that they are a 'right'?

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 11:20 AM, sogole wrote:

    Just water seeks its own level,Evil will also.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 11:57 AM, cat2009 wrote:

    Why wouldn't they. They gave us Obamacare under the pretense that it was a tax.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:10 PM, ceh4702 wrote:

    After the vote on Obama Care I don't believe the supreme court even cares about people. They have lost touch with reality.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:14 PM, ceh4702 wrote:

    Judges are just puppets appointed by the government who enslave people when laws are unable to be passed in congress or violate the laws that are passed. Where is the checks and balances? Judges are just government puppets.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:16 PM, ceh4702 wrote:

    I see the job of the supreme court as to punish and enslave the citizens of the USA.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:18 PM, ceh4702 wrote:

    Every 2 years the citizens should have the option to vote against or for retaining all federally and state appointed judges. Judges are not kings.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2014, at 6:08 PM, kal1492 wrote:

    The only group that makes money off of class action lawsuits are the lawyers. If the lawsuit is won the investor gets so little it isn't worth filling out the paper work. Then their investment is further hurt by the company paying the winning lawyers. Sue the managers who are guilty of the actions, not the company.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2014, at 6:56 PM, edallan wrote:

    I'm afraid that once again we can expect the Roberts Court to act in favor of the rich and powerful and to deprive human Americans of meaningful access to the courts.

    We have seen the Roberts Court rule that corporations, such as banks, utilities, brokerage firms, can swindle consumers with impunity, that companies can cheat employees of pay if the class is "too large" or "too small," that when it comes to buying politicians, money is no object. In the predecessor to Citizens United, Caperton v. Massey, the four explicitly corrupt members of the Supreme Court held that it would be perfectly fine for the CEO of a company appealing a $50 million judgement against it to give a $3 million bribe to the chief justice of a state supreme court hearing the appeal as long as the bribe was laundered properly. Antonin Scalia never sees a conflict of interest and gets his questions from Fox News rather than legal briefs, and year after year Clarence Thomas "forgets" to file mandatory disclosures of how much money -- typically six figures -- his wife gets paid annually by Big Business for the fact that quite coincidentally his decisions coincide with the positions that she is lobbying for.

    This is certainly not to deny the reality that in a great many class action cases, the lawyers make out far better than the victims. But one side effect of successful suits is that companies are deterred from committing further and future swindles of the same type.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 7:21 AM, Ziponline wrote:

    If a person lived potentially forever we would all be concerned at the unfair advantage that person would have. Why did we give this power (and profit potential) to corporations (as persons) when they are not human? Eventually the power and immense wealth in one corporation is going to disturb you. by then it is a bit late. And dont tell me we all benefit from their profits, its the hidden power and control they seem to exert over human affairs I am afraid of.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 10:46 AM, HoosierRube wrote:

    The sky is falling the sky is falling. Run away, run away. Death and doom is just around the corner.

    And don't forget, weather is now a weapon of mass destruction.

    I say relax, remember when Simon Bar Sinister controlled weather and Underdog flew in to save the day?

    Underdog, we need you now!

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2014, at 9:55 PM, monkota wrote:

    My experience with Civil Action Suits, has been that the Attorneys get most of the money. They have become nothing more than a Lawyers retirement fund.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2014, at 11:43 AM, TENOFWANDS wrote:

    IF and ONLY IF the unfolding regulatory reforms perform a social function that is redundant with that of litigation and LESS costly, then the removal of this right may actually be the way to go. After all, one does not litigate with one's tailor over ill-fitting garments.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 10:36 PM, sluggo47 wrote:

    As usual the devil is in the details and this author doesn't give us both sides of the case.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 7:42 PM, 092326 wrote:

    Not an objective article. Class action suits do not benefit the small investor, only the law firm. What we really need in this country is Tort Reform. How about an article on that subject?

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 8:48 AM, 1pOwedyank wrote:

    @onisac Thomas Jefferson also used said banking system to make the Louisiana Purchase. He also said all men are created equal, yet owned slaves that were viewed as an asset.

    We all have our views and beliefs based on education and life experience, but nothing can replace common sense.

    Laws are nothing more than rules, and most believe rules are meant to be broken.

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