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April 18, 2012

Creating a more secure future

by: William H. Narwold

Motley Rice stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, representing people who have been injured, sometimes fatally, as a result of corporate malfeasance. We take pride in advocating for the rights of our clients and strongly believe that we litigate causes, not just cases. To us, this is one of the justice system’s most important functions—creating parity between individuals and powerful corporations.

When Motley Rice expanded our litigation focus to include securities fraud, with many of our clients being large pension funds and institutional investors, some of our traditional clients may have scratched their heads and asked how this area of law fits into our firm’s mission. After all, aren’t securities fraud class actions about money? How is one large investor suing a public company a “cause”? I’ll tell you how.

The securities laws giving investors the right to bring suit were enacted in response to the Great Depression. Following that financial disaster, the government determined that corporations often fail to adequately self-regulate and decided to give investors tools to protect themselves. Among those tools was shareholder litigation. Although the Great Depressions was decades ago, we learned in 2008 that the problems of that era still exist. The current financial crisis resulted from overreaching, reckless, and, in many cases, fraudulent behavior on Wall Street. The great injustice is that the victims of such behavior had to do with causing the crisis.

The victims are average people who live thousands of miles from Wall Street. Our nation’s hard-working citizens are the ones who suffer: the worker who lost his job in a factory; the assistant who lost a job with a defunct investment bank; the small business that closed because credit dried up; the mom and dad who wonder whether they’ll ever be able to retire. These people didn’t invest in exotic financial instruments or take on massive debt. When Wall Street fell, however, it fell on top of them while executives walked away with severance packages and comfortably retired.

Back to my point, which is this; fighting securities fraud for Motley Rice is a cause, not just a case, and it is a cause that affects us all. Shareholders have both a right and responsibility to exercise their voices in the corporate governance of public companies. At Motley Rice, we believe the future of our country depends on a healthy and growing economy based on industry and ingenuity, not on mountains of debt and financial slight-of-hand. Shareholders have to speak up, and that is sometimes only accomplished through our court system.

When a securities fraud lawsuit is filed, it’s not just about money. It’s about sending the powerful message that fraud is not acceptable. It’s about preventing another 2008. It’s about making sure that we have a robust economy, one that allows you, me and mom and pop to retire.

On this blog we may often discuss relevant financial issues, and perhaps suggest ways for shareholders to have their voices heard. As you read these entries, think about the reason this is so important and how you or those you love might be affected –our economy and future depends on it. For Motley Rice, seeking to create a more secure future through improved corporate governance and accountability is a worthy cause.