Potential Liabilities In The IPO Process– Part III
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | March 30, 2011 Tags: , , , , , ,

Rule 10(b) and 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) is commonly known as the anti-fraud rule. Rule 10b-5 applies to any oral or written communication in connection with the purchase and sale of securities. To establish a claim under Rule 10b-5, the claimant must show fraud in the form of an omission or misstatement and that such fraud occurred in connection with the purchase or sale of a security. Rule 10b-5 provides a private cause of action by a purchaser of securities against any person who makes an untrue statement or omits a material fact, not just the Issuer.

To make a claim under 10b-5 a person must establish:

Misrepresentations and Omissions

Misrepresentation or Omission of a Material Fact – the key point here being “material”. A fact is material if, in light of the totality of information, it is substantially likely it would impact a reasonable persons investment decision. The test is based on a reasonable man’s perspective, not necessarily the investor making the claim.

Scienter/State of Mind – Rule 10b-5 requires that the defendant be aware of the fraud. Awareness can be established either by actual awareness (defendant states that they have 5 contracts when there is only 3) or by showing that the defendant should have been aware with reasonable inquiry and diligence (defendant had the contracts available to review, but just didn’t).


Reliance – the plaintiff in a 10b-5 claim must show that they relied on the misinformation or lack of information. In other words there must be a link between the alleged fraud and the investment decision. It is presumed when material information is withheld there is reliance. The presumption of reliance can be rebutted by showing that the claimant’s decision to purchase or sell shares was not influenced by the alleged fraud, or that the alleged fraud did not alter or change the stock price.

Causation – the plaintiff in a 10b-5 claim must show that the fraud caused damages. Damages is a calculation of the monetary loss of the claimant and such damages must be linked to the fraud.

Damages – in addition to linking the damages to the fraud, the claimant must actually have damages. That is, they must have lost money.

The Author

Attorney Laura Anthony
Founding Partner, Legal & Compliance, LLC
Securities, Reverse Mergers, Corporate Transactions

Securities attorney Laura Anthony provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size public Companies as well as private Companies intending to go public on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB), now known as the OTCQB. For more than a decade Ms. Anthony has dedicated her securities law practice towards being “the big firm alternative.” Clients receive fast and efficient cutting-edge legal service without the inherent delays and unnecessary expense of “partner-heavy” securities law firms.

Ms. Anthony’s focus includes but is not limited to compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (“Exchange Act”) including Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K and the proxy requirements of Section 14. In addition, Ms. Anthony prepares private placement memorandums, registration statements under both the Exchange Act and Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). Moreover, Ms. Anthony represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse and forward mergers, including preparation of deal documents such as Merger Agreements, Stock Purchase Agreements, Asset Purchase Agreements and Reorganization Agreements. Ms. Anthony prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of the Exchange Act, state law and FINRA for corporate changes such as name changes, reverse and forward splits and change of domicile.

Contact Legal & Compliance, LLC for a free initial consultation or second opinion on an existing matter.

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