Using State Inspection Statutes for Discovery in Federal Securities Fraud Actions
Thomas, Randall S., 1955-
Martin, Kenneth J.
We propose that plaintiffs in securities fraud actions should use state inspections statutes to obtain discovery about potential securities fraud cases. First, we argue that the Private Securities Law Reform Act has substantially increased shareholders' difficulty in uncovering securities fraud. Next, we show that shareholders have an alternative method of investigating fraud: state inspections statutes. We then analyze cases filed under the Delaware inspection statute to examine the costs to plaintiffs of pursuing claims under this statute. We find that the statutory inspection process is a largely successful, although expensive and time-consuming, process. Nevertheless, potential plaintiffs could realize substantial benefits from utilizing inspection statutes in this manner, particularly if Delaware streamlined its inspection process to make it faster and less costly for shareholders seeking information.