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September 09, 2002
Retirees' Stock Losses Attract Lawyers
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increasing number of trial lawyers are finding a niche in mining the discontent of retired investors, according to the Associated Press.

While big law firms are getting attention by filing class-action lawsuits against companies and brokerage houses, other lawyers are casting their nets for individual retiree-clients in states like Florida, where 18 percent of the population is over age 65.

"Most of the grandmas and grandpas in Florida who lost money in the market think it's their own fault or God's will. We're trying to educate them that they may have a claim," says one Florida lawyer, James Richard Hooper. "There's a fiduciary relationship with your stockbroker, not unlike your doctor or lawyer. They're supposed to be looking out for you."

Hooper tells the AP that he has yet to file any claims, although his law firm has received hundreds of calls since his four radio and television ads began running two weeks ago.

Among the claims that can be made against the brokerage firms, Hooper said, are breach of fiduciary duty, unsuitability, negligence, failure to supervise and misrepresentation.

Last year, the number of class-action suits for federal securities fraud more than doubled from the previous year, according to the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse at Stanford Law School.

In 2000, there were 214 lawsuits. In 2001, there were 486 lawsuits, many deriving from initial public offering claims.

To read the Associated Press article, via the Houston Chronicle, click here.

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