Filing Claims

In many ways, the most important action by an investor with a financial interest in a securities class action lawsuit, is filing a claim form. If an investor does not file a claim form, that investor, no matter how big the loss, will receive nothing from the settlement fund. We guide our clients through a sample claim form [link], providing individual explanations for each piece of information required by the form. We also answer the question Where’s The Money?, providing an explanation of what happens between the agreement to settle a case and the mailing of the settlement checks, which can take 2 years or more.

How to File a Claim Form

In most settlements of securities class action lawsuits, only those investors who fit the definition of a class member and who file a proof of claim form have the opportunity to receive their share of a settlement fund. When a court grants preliminary approval to a settlement, it also approves the form of notice that the plaintiff in the case will send to class members as well as the claim form that each class member is required to complete and submit in order to participate in the distribution of the settlement fund. The claims administrator selected by the lead plaintiff distributes the notices and claim forms to "shareholders of record," the shareholders whose names appear on a company’s roster of shareholders. Appearing on the roster of shareholders are investors who have taken possession of their stock (in the form of a certificate issued by the company) or large, corporate nominees, usually brokerage firms, who hold the stock for their clients. Many investors typically purchase stock and leave it in their investment account.

In the notice approved by the court, the brokerage firms and other nominees are instructed to send copies of the notice and claim form to their clients or provide the claims administrator with the names and addresses of their clients so the claims administrator can mail the notices and claim forms to those investors directly.

The investor should receive the notice either directly from the claims administrator or from his or her broker. If a class member-investor learns about a settlement, but does not receive a notice and claim form, he or she may obtain a copy of the notice and claim form directly from the claims administrator. We provide links to the claims administrator for each settled securities class action lawsuit here. Certain claims administrators have posted notices and claim forms for individual cases online. For others, investors must contact the claims administrator by telephone or regular mail. We provide contact information about the various claims administrators here.

Investors must provide all information requested on the claim form, or the claims administrator will reject the claim as deficient. Although the claims administrator will notify the investor of a determination of deficiency, and permit the investor to fix the problem, an investor should provide as much information as he or she has when first completing the form, to avoid complications later.

Where's the Money?

Once a settlement is announced, investors often want to know when they can expect to receive their portion of the settlement. Click here for an explanation of the settlement process in PDF form.

Typical Settlement Calendar At A Glance

Day 1:
The handshake settles the case.

Day 10:
The lawyers sign a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the preliminary terms of the settlement.

Day 45:
The lawyers complete the Settlement Agreement and accompanying documents and submit them to the court for preliminary approval.

Day 50:
The court grants preliminary approval to the settlement.

Day 55:
Notice of the settlement is published and mailed.
2 months since handshake.

Day 145:
Fairness hearing.
5 months since handshake.

Day 175:
Last day for claim forms to be mailed.

Day 540:
Claims administration completed. Claims administrator issues its report.
1 year from claim form due date.

Day 570:
Lawyers for the class request permission to distribute the settlement fund based on the report of the claims administrator.

Day 585:
Court grants permission to distribute.

Day 605:
Settlement fund distributed.
A year and a half from handshake.