Securities Class Action Services 101

This area is dedicated to helping you overcome the various challenges you might encounter while working with securities class actions.  It's our goal to make the process of recovering funds easier for your clients.  We've developed this section of the website to provide you with educational materials that cater to many learning styles and different aspects of the securities class action process.  We encourage you to check back often as we revise this area on a regular basis, and we welcome your feedback and requests for specific topics of interest. 

 

 

Click on one of the following links to jump to that section of the webpage:

Class Actions 101: The Basics of Class Actions

Tools 101: Tools Required to File a Claim

Terminology 101: Understanding Class Action Terminology 

 

 

 

Class Actions 101: The Basics of Class Actions

We realize class actions can be seem complex and confusing. We've created an easy-to-read infographic that clearly depicts the steps involved in a typical class action settlement.

 

 

 

 

Tools 101: Tools Required to File a Claim

This section is coming soon.

 

 

 

Terminology 101: Understanding Class Action Terminology

The following is a list of commonly asked questions and answers that help explain the terminology used in class actions.

GENERAL INQUIRIES

What is a class action?
In a class action, one or more people - call the representative plaintiffs - sue of behalf of other people that have similar claims.   All these people together are called a "class" and individually each is called a "class member".

Why should I participate in a class action?
A class action gives individuals the ability to seek damages that would otherwise be too small to purse individually.  In most cases, it also allows individuals to do it without incurring legal fees.  Class actions also give individuals the ability to hold companies accountable for unlawful activities.  You may receive compensation for a wrong, injury, or loss that you sustained.  Finally, by participating you demonstrate to the court that the alleged harm done was substantial and impacted a large number of people.

Is it worth my time to complete a claim?
It is impossible to know what, if any recovery might be possible.  Some cases go to trial while others will settle.  Others may be dismissed by the court.  A settlement can involve a payment into a common fund to be distributed to all members of the class in proportion to the amount each is determined to have lost.  For specific details of your case, please review the Notice of Settlement.

How do you know if you are eligible to file a claim?
This depends on the case you're referring to. It's best to visit the case website, visit the FAQ available on the page and see the specific criteria listed in the official Court documents.

What is a class period?
A class period is a specific time period during which a company is alleged to have been improperly conducting its business.

How do I know if you received my claim?
We will acknowledge receipt of your claim by mail or email within 60 days.  Your claim is not deemed fully filed until you receive an acknowledgement postcard.  If you do not receive a postcard within 60 days please contact us.

How will I receive payment?
This depends on the individual class action.  Some cases allow for direct deposit but in the majority of cases, eligible class members receive compensation by cheque.

What is a Representative Claimant?
The Representative Plaintiff is a person or entity appointed by the court to stand in for and act on behalf of the other class members in the litigation.  The Representative Plaintiff will work with Class Counsel to determine the course and direction of the litigation.

When will I receive my payment?
Depending on the number of claims, this process can take six to twelve months after the claim deadline.  Updates are available on the case specific website (found on the Notice and the Claim Form).

Why does it take so long to receive a payment?
Typically, class actions involve hundreds or thousands of claimants.  Each claim needs to be reviewed individually to determine eligibility and damages in accordance with the settlement agreement.  

What happens if I move?
It is your responsibility to inform the claims administrator of your new address.

How long do I have to cash my cheque?
Unless otherwise noted, non-government cheques are considered stale-dated after six months.  

Does it cost me anything to participate in a class action?
Generally, no legal fees are paid unless a class action is successful.   Should there be a successful resolution to a case, legal fees are typically drawn from the settlement proceeds before a distribution to class members.  Please review the notice for specific details of your class action. 

What is an opt-out?
To opt-out of a class action is to exclude yourself from the class action.   This means that if an individual opts-out they will not be eligible to receive any settlement benefits that a court may approve.  They will, however, be able to pursue their own claim on an individual basis.

What happens if I don't opt out?
If a person does not opt-out of a class action they will be bound by the terms of the class action whether they submit a claim in the matter or not.

What is the difference between objecting and excluding or opting out?
Objecting is telling the court that you don't like something about the Settlement.  Depending on the settlement, you may do this in writing or by appearing in person at the settlement approval hearing.  Excluding yourself or opting out is telling the court that you don't want to be part of the settlement class.  If you exclude yourself or opt out, you give up your right to receive any benefits recovered through the settlement.

What happens if I do nothing?
If you do nothing, you will not receive any benefits from this Settlement but you will be bound by its terms and you will give up your right to start a lawsuit against the Defendants about the legal issues resolved by the settlement.

What is class counsel?
Class counsel is the group of lawyers appointed by the court to represent the class.

How does class counsel get paid?
If there is a successful resolution to a case, class counsel will ask the court to approve the payment of their fees and reimburse their expenses in these lawsuits.  The amounts that the court approves will be paid out of the settlement fund.

What happens if the claims exceed the settlement fund?
Generally, in the event class members submit valid claims in an amount greater than the funds available in the settlement fund, most settlement agreements stipulate that the benefits be reduced pro rata (payments are reduced in the same proportion as everyone else's benefits).

 

SECURITIES CLASS ACTION INQUIRES

How many claims do I need to file?
You need to file a separate claim form for each account in which the relevant security was held.  If you are an eligible claimant, you will receive a separate cheque for each approved claim.

What happens if I have more than one account i.e. cash account and an RRSP account?
You need to file a separate claim form for each account in which the relevant security was held.  If you are an eligible claimant, you will receive a separate cheque for each approved claim.

How will I receive payment if my account is registered e.g. RRSP?
The payee on the cheque will be John Doe RRSP.

What if my account type is not listed on the claim form e.g. margin account?
Please check the "other" box in the "Claimant Identification" section of the claim form and write the name of the account in the blank space provided e.g. margin account.

What is the difference between a beneficial purchaser and a record purchaser?
A security claimant who acquired securities and held the certificate(s) in their name is the beneficial purchaser.  If, however, the certificate was registered in the name of a third party, such as a nominee or brokerage firm, the Securities Claimant is the beneficial purchaser and the third party is the record purchaser of the securities.

What is the trade date vs. the settlement date?
Trade date is the date the order is executed in the market.  Settlement date is the date on which a trade settles.  That is, the actual day on which transfer of cash or assets is completed.