Securities Litigators Suggest It Pays To Fight Proceedings Brought By SEC/FINRA
Two broker-dealer side securities litigators from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP conducted a study that concluded broker-dealers can benefit from fighting proceedings brought by the SEC and FINRA. The study says that firms who fought proceedings brought by the SEC won a dismissal 19% of the time and FINRA complaints that were fought were dismissed 15% of the time. With regard to fines, respondents to SEC charges convinced the judge to lower the fines 83% of the time and FINRA respondents succeeded in reducing fines roughly 50% of the time.
Another interesting but not surprising statistic published by the study is that respondents who hired counsel were overwhelmingly more successful than those that did not. SEC respondents represented by counsel succeeded in getting approximately 22% of charges dismissed, and FINRA respondents with counsel succeeded in getting approximately 19% of charges dismissed. SEC and FINRA respondents without counsel went 0-for-16 from January 2006 through December 2007.
Clearly, the terrible rate of success for pro-se respondents is a testament to the unfortunate pay-to-play factor in our justice system that favors those with resources to hire a lawyer. However, another possible factor not discussed in the study is that a respondent who believes he or she is guilty or liable, may be less likely to fight or spend money on counsel. If true, this factor would slightly skew the pool of pro-se respondents towards a lower “success” rate.
Read the study results here.
Written by David Welch, Esq.