Class Action Lawsuits—What Should You Do?

Every investor’s nightmare is a thick envelope full of legal documents which only a securities lawyer might understand. What do you do with it? You’ve tried to read the fine print before, and tried to follow the instructions, gather the necessary documentation and fill out the forms. But you have never been confident that you have done it right. Or, more likely, you have convinced yourself that you probably won’t get that much anyway and tossed it all away.

Don’t fret about it; BWFA takes care of Class Action Lawsuit Settlement claims for you.

Class Action Lawsuits are a fact of life in the investment business. In recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of Class Action Lawsuits, prompted by stricter legislation, increased regulatory scrutiny, and outrage over greed and breach of fiduciary responsibility by executives and board members. While many of the suits have merit, still too many of them appear to have none. And, even when the suits have merit, the stockholders’ share of the settlements resulting from these suits is frequently a fraction of what they deserve.

We want to make sure our clients know that we handle all the work associated with Class Action Lawsuits. Typically, this involves the following steps (in order):

1. Notification of the settlement
What usually happens is that one of our clients receives the notice of settlement and forwards the legal documents to us. It happens this way because our clients’ securities are registered in THEIR names, not in our name. So, our clients get the notices first.

2. Determining who is entitled to initiate a claim
Typically, the individuals who can participate in the settlement are those who purchased or sold securities within a specified date range. We use our accounting records to identify who can participate.

3. Is a claim worth making? 
The best we can do here is an estimate, based on the facts provided. The actual amount available to pay a claim varies considerably, based on the number of people who initiate a claim, the amount of accounting and legal fees, and other factors. If we determine that you might be awarded an amount in excess of $50, we will initiate a claim.

4. Initial notification by email or letter
We send you an email or letter explaining that you will be receiving important documents from us in the next several days which will require your signature.

5. Receipt of the claim forms
We complete all the information on the forms, so all you have to do is sign and return the claim documents to us by a specified date.

6. Claim forms and documentation to the settlement agent
We organize and package all the documentation and claim forms to make the process easy for the settlement agent, so that there are no unnecessary delays. Our recent procedure has included notifying you when we send the claim forms to the settlement agent, to keep you informed.

7. Receipt of settlement proceeds
This can take up to a year or more, based on the particulars of the lawsuit. The amounts vary, but it has not been unusual for our clients to receive several hundred to several thousand dollars.

So, what should you do? When we send you a claim form, sign and return it to us promptly. We do the rest, at no additional cost to you.