Edited by Sean Griffith, Jessica Erickson, David H. Webber and Verity Winship
Chapter 2: Securities class actions and severe frauds
The chapter examines the impact of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) on securities class actions in light of the severe frauds that occurred in the years after its passage. These years coincided with a period of significant accounting restatements. Securities class actions thus often addressed what were believed to be severe frauds at large public companies. In light of these lawsuits, the PSLRA’s assumption that securities class actions do no more than harass companies with volatile stock prices is no longer valid. This narrative may have been true before the PSLRA, but it has been displaced in part by examples of securities class actions that have provided investors with a remedy for the worst frauds. This success will likely secure the survival of the securities class action for another generation, but also raises new questions about how to ensure that such actions are effective in addressing severe frauds.
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