About the SCAC

 

The Securities Class Action Clearinghouse (SCAC) provides detailed information relating to the prosecution, defense, and settlement of federal class action securities fraud litigation.

The SCAC team maintains a Filings database of more than 4,000 securities class action lawsuits filed since passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The database also contains copies of complaints, briefs, dispositive orders, and other litigation-related materials filed in these cases.

The SCAC offers regular email notifications of new securities class action filings and news. Institutional investors with more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management are registered with the SCAC to receive automatic notices of litigation developments that may affect investments in their portfolios. Hundreds of attorneys, executives, scholars, and media personnel have also registered with the SCAC. If you would like to receive email notifications, please register here.

The SCAC has made significant contributions to the empirical study of class action securities fraud litigation.

In 2009, during a roundtable discussion on Securities Claims Statistics, the SCAC was recognized for utilizing the best methodologies and protocols for counting, classifying and reporting on securities class action lawsuits. The Smithsonian Institution also recognized the SCAC as an example of "visionary use of information technology in the field of education and academia." The SCAC has served as a model for other research databases that provide no- or low-cost content to the public. Projects that have been modeled on the SCAC include the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse from the Washington University in St. Louis, the Stanford-originated Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse (IPLC, now known as Lex Machina), and Stanford Securities Litigation Analytics.

We have concentrated our resources on the data gathering methodologies.

Our researchers gather filings from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database and extract and analyze thousands of complaints, briefs, and other litigation-related material. We also extract information from documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), press releases and news articles, and academic sources. We are constantly fine-tuning our data gathering methodologies to ensure that we are capturing and publishing the best available data. We also welcome feedback concerning our methodology and the content of our site. Please send comments to scac@law.stanford.edu.

SCAC Database Sample Data

We track securities class actions filed in Federal Court after the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 came into effect. Therefore, our population of records consist of securities class action lawsuits filed in federal court on or after January 1, 1996.

We do not track lawsuits filed in state court where there is no parallel federal civil class action. Nor we track SEC enforcement proceedings, but we track parallel federal civil class actions filed in federal court.

Definition of a Single Filing or Record in the SCAC Database

Often when there is a violation of the federal securities laws, issuers, underwriters, investment banks, broker firms, mutual funds, or a combination of these, will be sued in multiple class action complaints, filed by different named plaintiffs represented by different plaintiff law firms. While these filings often contain substantially similar allegations, there may be variations between the allegations or defendants in separate complaints. In the early stages of the litigation, one court will typically consolidate all of the related securities class actions into a single proceeding that can be jointly managed.

We undertake the challenge of compiling into a single “record” or “filing” all of the related lawsuits long before the courts consolidate those lawsuits into a single proceeding. A unique “record” or “filing” in our database thus consists of one or more securities class action complaints with the same underlying allegations filed against the same defendant or set of defendants. Later-filed complaints that arise out of the same subject matter become part of that record or filing.

Although a record or filing may consist of several related class action complaints, case summaries generally rely on information gleaned from the first identified complaint, which is used as a proxy for all of the related complaints. If multiple complaints are filed at one time, we rely on the complaint that appears to contain the most detailed allegations. If we locate an amended and/or consolidated complaint, we update the case summary and other information as needed.

1 · I am unable to print and/or download PDF court documents. What is happening?

The problem with certain PDF documents on our Website, unfortunately, comes directly from the law firms providing us with the complaints. Some of these PDF documents are encrypted. When a PDF document is encrypted you are unable to do anything but what the author allows the user to do. One of the most common encryptions is not allowing the user to print the document. We apologize since we are unable to do anything about those specially encrypted documents.

If you require a hard copy of a filing with a encrypted PDF document, you will need to contact the court where the complaint was filed or the firm who filed the complaint. The court will most definitely charge a fee. Some firms do charge and some don't.

2 · What cases do the SCAC database cover?

It covers all securities class actions filed in Federal Court after the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 came into effect. Therefore, our population of records consist of securities class action lawsuits filed after 1995.

3 · How often is the Stanford Clearinghouse Database and Website updated?

The Filings database is updated each business day. The News section is updated two or three times per week. The Academic Articles section is updated as soon as the papers are available for publishing. The Litigation Activity Indices and the Clearinghouse Reports which are led by Cornerstone Research’s team are biannual and annual publications.

4 · How soon after a filing does the Clearinghouse send out an e-mail notification of the filing?

We generally send out e-mail notification once a week concerning all cases which have been filed since the previous notice.

5 · How soon after a filing does the Clearinghouse post the complaint in an action?

After a lawsuit is filed, we generally post the complaint in the same day, or within three days when the complaint is not available in electronic format. A delay of up to seven days may occur because all court documents are processed so that they can be text searchable.

6 · Do we plan to add different types of cases to the Clearinghouse?

We do not have any current plans to expand the site to cover different types (i.e. non-securities) of class actions or other types of litigation. However, our group at the Stanford Law School and the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance is in the process of completing other databases and making them available to the public. For further inquiries, please contact Nancy Easterbrook from our office of Corporate & Foundation Relations at neasterb@law.stanford.edu

7 · Can I obtain a paper copy of a document that is posted on the site?

While most documents that are posted on the site are able to be downloaded and printed for free, we do not have the resources to mail or fax paper copies of documents to individuals. Notice the some documents posted in the site are encrypted. When a file (document) is encrypted you are unable to do anything but what the author of that document allows you to do. For this reason, you are in most cases able to view the document only. (Please read: I am unable to print and/or download PDF court documents. What is happening?)

8 · Can we give individuals advice about such topics as whether an individual has enough evidence to bring a class action or whether or not an investor should join the class in a particular case?

No. While we will answer general questions about the Securities Class Clearinghouse itself, we are not able to answer questions which require giving legal advice.

9 · Does the Clearinghouse modify documents before posting them?

No. We do not modify the text of documents before posting them to the site. An error in the original document will also appear on the posted document. Prior to 2000, when we had to create HTML versions of the court documents, an error in the document appeared with a "[sic]" symbol behind it. We did sometimes modify the spacing or layout of a document, but not the content.

10 · What is a securities class action?

A securities class action is a case brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 on behalf of a group of persons who purchased the securities of a particular company during a specified period of time (the class period). The complaint generally contains allegations that the company and/or certain of its officers and directors violated one or more of the federal or state securities laws. A suit is filed as a class action because the members of the class are so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable. For a case to proceed as a class action, there should be a well-defined commonality of interest in the questions of law and fact involved in the case. Further, the plaintiffs must establish that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy and that the prosecution of separate actions by individual class members would create a risk of inconsistent and varying adjudications.

11 · Are there laws which protect individual investors against fraud by company management?

The Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are the main federal laws which prohibit such conduct. The text of these statutes is available at Securities Lawyer's Deskbook run by the University of Cincinnati College of Law. The URL is: http://taft.law.uc.edu/CCL/index.html. In addition, the states have securities laws, known as blue sky laws, which are also designed to protect individual investors.

12 · Where can I find more information about securities class actions?

A section of this website is devoted to securities-related Academic Articles, including written testimonies, and securities class actions lawsuits analysis and statistical reports (Clearinghouse Reports). The URL addresses are: http://securities.stanford.edu/academic_articles.html and http://securities.stanford.edu/clearinghouse_research.html.

13 · Can the data be downloaded?

The data cannot be automatically downloaded -in Excel format for example. However, you should feel free to use the data that you can obtain from this website for academic research purpose. You are not allowed to commercialize or make public the data of this website in your own website, publish on any other media outlet or distribute.

This project is made possible only through the vision and generosity of Cornerstone Research and the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance.

Register to receive weekly-email notification of recent filings and news

Please register to receive e-mail notification from the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. You will receive a weekly-email of the list of recent filings every Monday, and a weekly email of news of securities class action litigation every Friday.

If you have any questions regarding registration, please send an email to scac@law.stanford.edu.
 
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Stanford Law School
Press inquiries or for information about the content and functionality on this site, please contact scac@law.stanford.edu.

Cornerstone Research
For press inquiries about Cornerstone Research, please contact Susan Wittner at swittner@cornerstone.com. For information about Cornerstone Research materials on this site, including securities class action filings, settlements, and litigation activity indices, please contact securities_class_action_research@cornerstone.com.

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