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Securities Fraud


The federal securities laws were enacted to promote honesty and integrity within the securities markets. Abbey Spanier's practice has focused on investor protection and recovery of assets through the enforcement of a wide range of federal and state laws either by means of a class action on behalf of all affected investors or, where appropriate, by bringing individual actions on behalf of large institutional investors.

Both prior and subsequent to the passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PSLRA"), Abbey Spanier has specialized in prosecuting corporate and accounting frauds. The Firm's experience in pursuing class action securities litigation under state and federal law is extensive. The Firm has prosecuted hundreds of securities class actions and derivative actions and has recovered billions of dollars for its clients and class members. We have achieved substantial recoveries for our clients in some of the largest and most prominent securities cases in history.

On January 29, 2010, the three month long securities fraud trial against Vivendi Universal, S.A., culminated with a jury verdict finding Vivendi liable for securities fraud on all 57 material misstatements. The Vivendi case is just one of nine securities class actions tried to verdict based on wrongs committed following the passage of the PSLRA. Since 2002, Abbey Spanier, LLP has represented the class plaintiffs in this long pending class action against defendants Vivendi Universal, S.A., and its two most senior officers, Jean Marie Messier and Guillaume Hannezo.

The jury, after deliberating for three weeks, found defendant Vivendi violated the federal securities laws by making false and misleading statements concerning Vivendi's liquidity and overall performance between October 30, 2000, and August 14, 2002 (the "Class Period"). The class consists of all persons from the United States, France, England and the Netherlands who purchased or otherwise acquired ordinary shares or American Depository Shares ("ADS's") of Vivendi during the Class Period. In re Vivendi Universal, S.A. Sec. Litig., 02 Civ. 5571 (RJH)(HNP)(S.D.N.Y.)

Abbey Spanier is widely recognized as one of the leading plaintiffs' securities class action law firms in the United States and is renowned for innovative legal strategies that maximize client recoveries. For instance, in In re BankAmerica Sec. Litig., MDL No. 1264 (E.D. Mo.), the Firm pursued the novel legal theory of applying the proxy disclosure statutes of §14(a) of the 1934 Act to a misleading characterization of a merger as a "merger of equals." The merger of equals label was increasingly being used by merger parties to justify lower takeover premiums than would have been paid in an outright takeover purchase. Abbey Spanier successfully developed the claim that the merger of equals characterization was misleading in the absence of an intent to actually share control among the merger partners and that shareholders were wrongly denied a control premium in the merger as a result of the misleading characterization.