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H.R.1058

One Hundred Fourth Congress of the United States of America
AT THE FIRST SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the fourth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-five

An Act To reform Federal securities litigation, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the 'Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995'.

(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I--REDUCTION OF ABUSIVE LITIGATION
Sec. 101. Private securities litigation reform.
Sec. 102. Safe harbor for forward-looking statements.
Sec. 103. Elimination of certain abusive practices.
Sec. 104. Authority of Commission to prosecute aiding and abetting.
Sec. 105. Loss causation.
Sec. 106. Study and report on protections for senior citizens and qualified retirement plans.
Sec. 107. Amendment to Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Sec. 108. Applicability.

TITLE II--REDUCTION OF COERCIVE SETTLEMENTS
Sec. 201. Proportionate liability.
Sec. 202. Applicability.
Sec. 203. Rule of construction.

TITLE III--AUDITOR DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE FRAUD
Sec. 301. Fraud detection and disclosure.

TITLE I--REDUCTION OF ABUSIVE LITIGATION

SEC. 101. PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM.

(a) SECURITIES ACT OF 1933- Title I of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

'SEC. 27. PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION.

'(a) PRIVATE CLASS ACTIONS-

'(1) IN GENERAL- The provisions of this subsection shall apply to each private action arising under this title that is brought as a plaintiff class action pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(2) CERTIFICATION FILED WITH COMPLAINT-
'(A) IN GENERAL- Each plaintiff seeking to serve as a representative party on behalf of a class shall provide a sworn certification, which shall be personally signed by such plaintiff and filed with the complaint, that--
'(i) states that the plaintiff has reviewed the complaint and authorized its filing;
'(ii) states that the plaintiff did not purchase the security that is the subject of the complaint at the direction of plaintiff's counsel or in order to participate in any private action arising under this title;
'(iii) states that the plaintiff is willing to serve as a representative party on behalf of a class, including providing testimony at deposition and trial, if necessary;
'(iv) sets forth all of the transactions of the plaintiff in the security that is the subject of the complaint during the class period specified in the complaint;
'(v) identifies any other action under this title, filed during the 3-year period preceding the date on which the certification is signed by the plaintiff, in which the plaintiff has sought to serve, or served, as a representative party on behalf of a class; and '(vi) states that the plaintiff will not accept any payment
for serving as a representative party on behalf of a class beyond the plaintiff's pro rata share of any recovery, except as ordered or approved by the court in accordance with paragraph (4).
'(B) NONWAIVER OF ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE- The certification filed pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to be a waiver of the attorney-client privilege.

'(3) APPOINTMENT OF LEAD PLAINTIFF-
'(A) EARLY NOTICE TO CLASS MEMBERS-
'(i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 20 days after the date on which the complaint is filed, the plaintiff or plaintiffs shall cause to be published, in a widely circulated national business-oriented publication or wire service, a notice advising members of the purported plaintiff class--
'(I) of the pendency of the action, the claims asserted therein, and the purported class period; and
'(II) that, not later than 60 days after the date on which the notice is published, any member of the purported class may move the court to serve as lead plaintiff of the purported class.
'(ii) MULTIPLE ACTIONS- If more than one action on behalf of a class asserting substantially the same claim or claims arising under this title is filed, only the plaintiff or plaintiffs in the first filed action shall be required to cause notice to be published in accordance with clause (i).
'(iii) ADDITIONAL NOTICES MAY BE REQUIRED UNDER FEDERAL RULES- Notice required under clause (i) shall be in addition to any notice required pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(B) APPOINTMENT OF LEAD PLAINTIFF-
'(i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 90 days after the date on which a notice is published under subparagraph (A)(i), the court shall consider any motion made by a purported class member in response to the notice, including any motion by a class member who is not individually named as a plaintiff in the complaint or complaints, and shall appoint as lead plaintiff the member or members of the purported plaintiff class that the court determines to be most capable of adequately representing the interests of class members (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as the 'most adequate plaintiff') in accordance with this subparagraph.
'(ii) CONSOLIDATED ACTIONS- If more than one action on behalf of a class asserting substantially the same claim or claims arising under this title has been filed, and any party has sought to consolidate those actions for pretrial purposes or for trial, the court shall not make the determination required by clause (i) until after the decision on the motion to consolidate is rendered. As soon as practicable after such decision is rendered, the court shall appoint the most adequate plaintiff as lead plaintiff for the consolidated actions in accordance with this subparagraph.
'(iii) REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION-
'(I) IN GENERAL- Subject to subclause (II), for purposes of clause (i), the court shall adopt a presumption that the most adequate plaintiff in any private action arising under this title is the person or group of persons that--
'(aa) has either filed the complaint or made a motion in response to a notice under subparagraph (A)(i);
'(bb) in the determination of the court, has the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class; and
'(cc) otherwise satisfies the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
'(II) REBUTTAL EVIDENCE- The presumption described in subclause (I) may be rebutted only upon proof by a member of the purported plaintiff class that the presumptively most adequate plaintiff--
'(aa) will not fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class; or
'(bb) is subject to unique defenses that render such plaintiff incapable of adequately representing the class.
'(iv) DISCOVERY- For purposes of this subparagraph, discovery relating to whether a member or members of the purported plaintiff class is the most adequate plaintiff may be conducted by a plaintiff only if the plaintiff first demonstrates a reasonable basis for a finding that the presumptively most adequate plaintiff is incapable of adequately representing the class.
'(v) SELECTION OF LEAD COUNSEL- The most adequate plaintiff shall, subject to the approval of the court, select and retain counsel to represent the class.
'(vi) RESTRICTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL PLAINTIFFS- Except as the court may otherwise permit, consistent with the purposes of this section, a person may be a lead plaintiff, or an officer, director, or fiduciary of a lead plaintiff, in no more than 5 securities class actions brought as plaintiff class actions pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure during any 3-year period.
'(4) RECOVERY BY PLAINTIFFS- The share of any final judgment or of any settlement that is awarded to a representative party serving on behalf of a class shall be equal, on a per share basis, to the portion of the final judgment or settlement awarded to all other members of the class. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the award of reasonable costs and expenses (including lost wages) directly relating to the representation of the class to any representative party serving on behalf of the class.
'(5) RESTRICTIONS ON SETTLEMENTS UNDER SEAL- The terms and provisions of any settlement agreement of a class action shall not be filed under seal, except that on motion of any party to the settlement, the court may order filing under seal for those portions of a settlement agreement as to which good cause is shown for such filing under seal. For purposes of this paragraph, good cause shall exist only if publication of a term or provision of a settlement agreement would cause direct and substantial harm to any party.
'(6) RESTRICTIONS ON PAYMENT OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND EXPENSES- Total attorneys' fees and expenses awarded by the court to counsel for the plaintiff class shall not exceed a reasonable percentage of the amount of any damages and prejudgment interest actually paid to the class.
'(7) DISCLOSURE OF SETTLEMENT TERMS TO CLASS MEMBERS- Any proposed or final settlement agreement that is published or otherwise disseminated to the class shall include each of the following statements, along with a cover page summarizing the information contained in such statements:
'(A) STATEMENT OF PLAINTIFF RECOVERY- The amount of the settlement proposed to be distributed to the parties to the action, determined in the aggregate and on an average per share basis.
'(B) STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL OUTCOME OF CASE-
'(i) AGREEMENT ON AMOUNT OF DAMAGES- If the settling parties agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the plaintiff prevailed on each claim alleged under this title, a statement concerning the average amount of such potential damages per share.
'(ii) DISAGREEMENT ON AMOUNT OF DAMAGES- If the parties do not agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the plaintiff prevailed on each claim alleged under this title, a statement from each settling party concerning the issue or issues on which the parties disagree.
'(iii) INADMISSIBILITY FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES- A statement made in accordance with clause (i) or (ii) concerning the amount of damages shall not be admissible in any Federal or State judicial action or administrative proceeding, other than an action or proceeding arising out of such statement.
'(C) STATEMENT OF ATTORNEYS' FEES OR COSTS SOUGHT- If any of the settling parties or their counsel intend to apply to the court for an award of attorneys' fees or costs from any fund established as part of the settlement, a statement indicating which parties or counsel intend to make such an application, the amount of fees and costs that will be sought (including the amount of such fees and costs determined on an average per share basis), and a brief explanation supporting the fees and costs sought.
'(D) IDENTIFICATION OF LAWYERS' REPRESENTATIVES- The name, telephone number, and address of one or more representatives of counsel for the plaintiff class who will be reasonably available to answer questions from class members concerning any matter contained in any notice of settlement published or otherwise disseminated to the class.
'(E) REASONS FOR SETTLEMENT- A brief statement explaining the reasons why the parties are proposing the settlement.
'(F) OTHER INFORMATION- Such other information as may be required by the court.
'(8) ATTORNEY CONFLICT OF INTEREST- If a plaintiff class is represented by an attorney who directly owns or otherwise has a beneficial interest in the securities that are the subject of the litigation, the court shall make a determination of whether such ownership or other interest constitutes a conflict of interest sufficient to disqualify the attorney from representing the plaintiff class.

'(b) STAY OF DISCOVERY; PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE-

'(1) IN GENERAL- In any private action arising under this title, all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed during the pendency of any motion to dismiss, unless the court finds, upon the motion of any party, that particularized discovery is necessary to preserve evidence or to prevent undue prejudice to that party.
'(2) PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE- During the pendency of any stay of discovery pursuant to this subsection, unless otherwise ordered by the court, any party to the action with actual notice of the allegations contained in the complaint shall treat all documents, data compilations (including electronically recorded or stored data), and tangible objects that are in the custody or control of such person and that are relevant to the allegations, as if they were the subject of a continuing request for production of documents from an opposing party under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
'(3) SANCTION FOR WILLFUL VIOLATION- A party aggrieved by the willful failure of an opposing party to comply with paragraph (2) may apply to the court for an order awarding appropriate sanctions.

'(c) SANCTIONS FOR ABUSIVE LITIGATION-

'(1) MANDATORY REVIEW BY COURT- In any private action arising under this title, upon final adjudication of the action, the court shall include in the record specific findings regarding compliance by each party and each attorney representing any party with each requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to any complaint, responsive pleading, or dispositive motion.
'(2) MANDATORY SANCTIONS- If the court makes a finding under paragraph (1) that a party or attorney violated any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to any complaint, responsive pleading, or dispositive motion, the court shall impose sanctions on such party or attorney in accordance with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Prior to making a finding that any party or attorney has violated Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court shall give such party or attorney notice and an opportunity to respond.
'(3) PRESUMPTION IN FAVOR OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS-
'(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), for purposes of paragraph (2), the court shall adopt a presumption that the appropriate sanction--
'(i) for failure of any responsive pleading or dispositive motion to comply with any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is an award to the opposing party of the reasonable attorneys' fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation; and
'(ii) for substantial failure of any complaint to comply with any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is an award to the opposing party of the reasonable attorneys' fees and other expenses incurred in the action.
'(B) REBUTTAL EVIDENCE- The presumption described in subparagraph (A) may be rebutted only upon proof by the party or attorney against whom sanctions are to be imposed that--
'(i) the award of attorneys' fees and other expenses will impose an unreasonable burden on that party or attorney and would be unjust, and the failure to make such an award would not impose a greater burden on the party in whose favor sanctions are to be imposed; or
'(ii) the violation of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was de minimis.
'(C) SANCTIONS- If the party or attorney against whom sanctions are to be imposed meets its burden under subparagraph (B), the court shall award the sanctions that the court deems appropriate pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(d) DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO WRITTEN INTERROGATORIES- In any private action arising under this title in which the plaintiff may recover money damages only on proof that a defendant acted with a particular state of mind, the court shall, when requested by a defendant, submit to the jury a written interrogatory on the issue of each such defendant's state of mind at the time the alleged violation occurred.'.

(b) SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934- Title I of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (78a et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 21C the following new section: 'SEC. 21D. PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION.

'(a) PRIVATE CLASS ACTIONS-

'(1) IN GENERAL- The provisions of this subsection shall apply in each private action arising under this title that is brought as a plaintiff class action pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(2) CERTIFICATION FILED WITH COMPLAINT-
'(A) IN GENERAL- Each plaintiff seeking to serve as a representative party on behalf of a class shall provide a sworn certification, which shall be personally signed by such plaintiff and filed with the complaint, that--
'(i) states that the plaintiff has reviewed the complaint and authorized its filing;
'(ii) states that the plaintiff did not purchase the security that is the subject of the complaint at the direction of plaintiff's counsel or in order to participate in any private action arising under this title;
'(iii) states that the plaintiff is willing to serve as a representative party on behalf of a class, including providing testimony at deposition and trial, if necessary;
'(iv) sets forth all of the transactions of the plaintiff in the security that is the subject of the complaint during the class period specified in the complaint;
'(v) identifies any other action under this title, filed during the 3-year period preceding the date on which the certification is signed by the plaintiff, in which the plaintiff has sought to serve as a representative party on behalf of a class; andv '(vi) states that the plaintiff will not accept any payment for serving as a representative party on behalf of a class beyond the plaintiff's pro rata share of any recovery, except as ordered or approved by the court in accordance with paragraph (4).

'(B) NONWAIVER OF ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE- The certification filed pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to be a waiver of the attorney-client privilege.

'(3) APPOINTMENT OF LEAD PLAINTIFF-
'(A) EARLY NOTICE TO CLASS MEMBERS-
'(i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 20 days after the date on which the complaint is filed, the plaintiff or plaintiffs shall cause to be published, in a widely circulated national business-oriented publication or wire service, a notice advising members of the purported plaintiff class--
'(I) of the pendency of the action, the claims asserted therein, and the purported class period; and
'(II) that, not later than 60 days after the date on which the notice is published, any member of the purported class may move the court to serve as lead plaintiff of the purported class.
'(ii) MULTIPLE ACTIONS- If more than one action on behalf of a class asserting substantially the same claim or claims arising under this title is filed, only the plaintiff or plaintiffs in the first filed action shall be required to cause notice to be published in accordance with clause (i).
'(iii) ADDITIONAL NOTICES MAY BE REQUIRED UNDER FEDERAL RULES- Notice required under clause (i) shall be in addition to any notice required pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(B) APPOINTMENT OF LEAD PLAINTIFF-
'(i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 90 days after the date on which a notice is published under subparagraph (A)(i), the court shall consider any motion made by a purported class member in response to the notice, including any motion by a class member who is not individually named as a plaintiff in the complaint or complaints, and shall appoint as lead plaintiff the member or members of the purported plaintiff class that the court determines to be most capable of adequately representing the interests of class members (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as the 'most adequate plaintiff') in accordance with this subparagraph.
'(ii) CONSOLIDATED ACTIONS- If more than one action on behalf of a class asserting substantially the same claim or claims arising under this title has been filed, and any party has sought to consolidate those actions for pretrial purposes or for trial, the court shall not make the determination required by clause (i) until after the decision on the motion to consolidate is rendered. As soon as practicable after such decision is rendered, the court shall appoint the most adequate plaintiff as lead plaintiff for the consolidated actions in accordance with this paragraph.
'(iii) REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION-
'(I) IN GENERAL- Subject to subclause (II), for purposes of clause (i), the court shall adopt a presumption that the most adequate plaintiff in any private action arising under this title is the person or group of persons that--
'(aa) has either filed the complaint or made a motion in response to a notice under subparagraph (A)(i);
'(bb) in the determination of the court, has the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class; and
'(cc) otherwise satisfies the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(II) REBUTTAL EVIDENCE- The presumption described in subclause (I) may be rebutted only upon proof by a member of the purported plaintiff class that the presumptively most adequate plaintiff--
'(aa) will not fairly and adequately protect the interests of theclass; or
'(bb) is subject to unique defenses that render such plaintiff incapable of adequately representing the class.

'(iv) DISCOVERY- For purposes of this subparagraph, discovery relating to whether a member or members of the purported plaintiff class is the most adequate plaintiff may be conducted by a plaintiff only if the plaintiff first demonstrates a reasonable basis for a finding that the presumptively most adequate plaintiff is incapable of adequately representing the class.
'(v) SELECTION OF LEAD COUNSEL- The most adequate plaintiff shall, subject to the approval of the court, select and retain counsel to represent the class.
'(vi) RESTRICTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL PLAINTIFFS- Except as the court may otherwise permit, consistent with the purposes of this section, a person may be a lead plaintiff, or an officer, director, or fiduciary of a lead plaintiff, in no more than 5 securities class actions brought as plaintiff class actions pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure during any 3-year period.

'(4) RECOVERY BY PLAINTIFFS- The share of any final judgment or of any settlement that is awarded to a representative party serving on behalf of a class shall be equal, on a per share basis, to the portion of the final judgment or settlement awarded to all other members of the class. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the award of reasonable costs and expenses (including lost wages) directly relating to the representation of the class to any representative party serving on behalf of a class.

'(5) RESTRICTIONS ON SETTLEMENTS UNDER SEAL- The terms and provisions of any settlement agreement of a class action shall not be filed under seal, except that on motion of any party to the settlement, the court may order filing under seal for those portions of a settlement agreement as to which good cause is shown for such filing under seal. For purposes of this paragraph, good cause shall exist only if publication of a term or provision of a settlement agreement would cause direct and substantial harm to any party.

'(6) RESTRICTIONS ON PAYMENT OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND EXPENSES- Total attorneys' fees and expenses awarded by the court to counsel for the plaintiff class shall not exceed a reasonable percentage of the amount of any damages and prejudgment interest actually paid to the class.

'(7) DISCLOSURE OF SETTLEMENT TERMS TO CLASS MEMBERS- Any proposed or final settlement agreement that is published or otherwise disseminated to the class shall include each of the following statements, along with a cover page summarizing the information contained in such statements:

'(A) STATEMENT OF PLAINTIFF RECOVERY- The amount of the settlement proposed to be distributed to the parties to the action, determined in the aggregate and on an average per share basis.
'(B) STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL OUTCOME OF CASE-
'(i) AGREEMENT ON AMOUNT OF DAMAGES- If the settling parties agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the plaintiff prevailed on each claim alleged under this title, a statement concerning the average amount of such potential damages per share.
'(ii) DISAGREEMENT ON AMOUNT OF DAMAGES- If the parties do not agree on the average amount of damages per share that would be recoverable if the plaintiff prevailed on each claim alleged under this title, a statement from each settling party concerning the issue or issues on which the parties disagree.
'(iii) INADMISSIBILITY FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES- A statement made in accordance with clause (i) or (ii) concerning the amount of damages shall not be admissible in any Federal or State judicial action or administrative proceeding, other than an action or proceeding arising out of such statement.
'(C) STATEMENT OF ATTORNEYS' FEES OR COSTS SOUGHT- If any of the settling parties or their counsel intend to apply to the court for an award of attorneys' fees or costs from any fund established as part of the settlement, a statement indicating which parties or counsel intend to make such an application, the amount of fees and costs that will be sought (including the amount of such fees and costs determined on an average per share basis), and a brief explanation supporting the fees and costs sought. Such information shall be clearly summarized on the cover page of any notice to a party of any proposed or final settlement agreement.
'(D) IDENTIFICATION OF LAWYERS' REPRESENTATIVES- The name, telephone number, and address of one or more representatives of counsel for the plaintiff class who will be reasonably available to answer questions from class members concerning any matter contained in any notice of settlement published or otherwise disseminated to the class.
'(E) REASONS FOR SETTLEMENT- A brief statement explaining the reasons why the parties are proposing the settlement.
'(F) OTHER INFORMATION- Such other information as may be required by the court.

'(8) SECURITY FOR PAYMENT OF COSTS IN CLASS ACTIONS- In any private action arising under this title that is certified as a class action pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may require an undertaking from the attorneys for the plaintiff class, the plaintiff class, or both, or from the attorneys for the defendant, the defendant, or both, in such proportions and at such times as the court determines are just and equitable, for the payment of fees and expenses that may be awarded under this subsection.

'(9) ATTORNEY CONFLICT OF INTEREST- If a plaintiff class is represented by an attorney who directly owns or otherwise has a beneficial interest in the securities that are the subject of the litigation, the court shall make a determination of whether such ownership or other interest constitutes a conflict of interest sufficient to disqualify the attorney from representing the plaintiff class.

'(b) REQUIREMENTS FOR SECURITIES FRAUD ACTIONS-
'(1) MISLEADING STATEMENTS AND OMISSIONS- In any private action arising under this title in which the plaintiff alleges that the defendant--
'(A) made an untrue statement of a material fact; or
'(B) omitted to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances in which they were made, not misleading; the complaint shall specify each statement alleged to have been misleading, the reason or reasons why the statement is misleading, and, if an allegation regarding the statement or omission is made on information and belief, the complaint shall state with particularity all facts on which that belief is formed.

'(2) REQUIRED STATE OF MIND- In any private action arising under this title in which the plaintiff may recover money damages only on proof that the defendant acted with a particular state of mind, the complaint shall, with respect to each act or omission alleged to violate this title, state with particularity facts giving rise to a strong inference that the defendant acted with the required state of mind.

'(3) MOTION TO DISMISS; STAY OF DISCOVERY-
'(A) DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO MEET PLEADING REQUIREMENTS- In any private action arising under this title, the court shall, on the motion of any defendant, dismiss the complaint if the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) are not met.
'(B) STAY OF DISCOVERY- In any private action arising under this title, all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed during the pendency of any motion to dismiss, unless the court finds upon the motion of any party that particularized discovery is necessary to preserve evidence or to prevent undue prejudice to that party. '(C) PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE-
'(i) IN GENERAL- During the pendency of any stay of discovery pursuant to this paragraph, unless otherwise ordered by the court, any party to the action with actual notice of the allegations contained in the complaint shall treat all documents, data compilations (including electronically recorded or stored data), and tangible objects that are in the custody or control of such person and that are relevant to the allegations, as if they were the subject of a continuing request for production of documents from an opposing party under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
'(ii) SANCTION FOR WILLFUL VIOLATION- A party aggrieved by the willful failure of an opposing party to comply with clause (i) may apply to the court for an order awarding appropriate sanctions.

'(4) LOSS CAUSATION- In any private action arising under this title, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving that the act or omission of the defendant alleged to violate this title caused the loss for which the plaintiff seeks to recover damages.

'(c) SANCTIONS FOR ABUSIVE LITIGATION-
'(1) MANDATORY REVIEW BY COURT- In any private action arising under this title, upon final adjudication of the action, the court shall include in the record specific findings regarding compliance by each party and each attorney representing any party with each requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to any complaint, responsive pleading, or dispositive motion.

'(2) MANDATORY SANCTIONS- If the court makes a finding under paragraph (1) that a party or attorney violated any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to any complaint, responsive pleading, or dispositive motion, the court shall impose sanctions on such party or attorney in accordance with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Prior to making a finding that any party or attorney has violated Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court shall give such party or attorney notice and an opportunity to respond.

'(3) PRESUMPTION IN FAVOR OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS-
'(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), for purposes of paragraph (2), the court shall adopt a presumption that the appropriate sanction--
'(i) for failure of any responsive pleading or dispositive motion to comply with any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is an award to the opposing party of the reasonable attorneys' fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation; and
'(ii) for substantial failure of any complaint to comply with any requirement of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is an award to the opposing party of the reasonable attorneys' fees and other expenses incurred in the action.

'(B) REBUTTAL EVIDENCE- The presumption described in subparagraph (A) may be rebutted only upon proof by the party or attorney against whom sanctions are to be imposed that--
'(i) the award of attorneys' fees and other expenses will impose an unreasonable burden on that party or attorney and would be unjust, and the failure to make such an award would not impose a greater burden on the party in whose favor sanctions are to be imposed; or
'(ii) the violation of Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was de minimis.

'(C) SANCTIONS- If the party or attorney against whom sanctions are to be imposed meets its burden under subparagraph (B), the court shall award the sanctions that the court deems appropriate pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

'(d) DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO WRITTEN INTERROGATORIES- In any private action arising under this title in which the plaintiff may recover money damages, the court shall, when requested by a defendant, submit to the jury a written interrogatory on the issue of each such defendant's state of mind at the time the alleged violation occurred.

'(e) LIMITATION ON DAMAGES-
'(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), in any private action arising under this title in which the plaintiff seeks to establish damages by reference to the market price of a security, the award of damages to the plaintiff shall not exceed the difference between the purchase or sale price paid or received, as appropriate, by the plaintiff for the subject security and the mean trading price of that security during the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the information correcting the misstatement or omission that is the basis for the action is disseminated to the market.

'(2) EXCEPTION- In any private action arising under this title in which the plaintiff seeks to establish damages by reference to the market price of a security, if the plaintiff sells or repurchases the subject security prior to the expiration of the 90-day period described in paragraph (1), the plaintiff's damages shall not exceed the difference between the purchase or sale price paid or received, as appropriate, by the plaintiff for the security and the mean trading price of the security during the period beginning immediately after dissemination of information correcting the misstatement or omission and ending on the date on which the plaintiff sells or repurchases the security.

'(3) DEFINITION- For purposes of this subsection, the 'mean trading price' of a security shall be an average of the daily trading price of that security, determined as of the close of the market each day during the 90-day period referred to in paragraph (1).

'. SEC. 102. SAFE HARBOR FOR FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS. (a) AMENDMENT TO THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933- Title I of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 27 (as added by this Act) the following new section:

'SEC. 27A. APPLICATION OF SAFE HARBOR FOR FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS.

'(a) APPLICABILITY- This section shall apply only to a forward-looking statement made by--
'(1) an issuer that, at the time that the statement is made, is subject to the reporting requirements of section 13(a) or section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;
'(2) a person acting on behalf of such issuer;
'(3) an outside reviewer retained by such issuer making a statement on behalf of such issuer; or
'(4) an underwriter, with respect to information provided by such issuer or information derived from information provided by the issuer.

'(b) EXCLUSIONS- Except to the extent otherwise specifically provided by rule, regulation, or order of the Commission, this section shall not apply to a forward-looking statement--
'(1) that is made with respect to the business or operations of the issuer, if the issuer--
'(A) during the 3-year period preceding the date on which the statement was first made--
'(i) was convicted of any felony or misdemeanor described in clauses (i) through (iv) of section 15(b)(4)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; or
'(ii) has been made the subject of a judicial or administrative decree or order arising out of a governmental action that--
'(I) prohibits future violations of the antifraud provisions of the securities laws;
'(II) requires that the issuer cease and desist from violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws; or
'(III) determines that the issuer violated the antifraud provisions of the securities laws;
'(B) makes the forward-looking statement in connection with an offering of securities by a blank check company;
'(C) issues penny stock;
'(D) makes the forward-looking statement in connection with a rollup transaction; or
'(E) makes the forward-looking statement in connection with a going private transaction; or
'(2) that is--
'(A) included in a financial statement prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
'(B) contained in a registration statement of, or otherwise issued by, an investment company;
'(C) made in connection with a tender offer;
'(D) made in connection with an initial public offering;
'(E) made in connection with an offering by, or relating to the operations of, a partnership, limited liability company, or a direct participation investment program; or
'(F) made in a disclosure of beneficial ownership in a report required to be filed with the Commission pursuant to section 13(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

'(c) SAFE HARBOR-
'(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), in any private action arising under this title that is based on an untrue statement of a material fact or omission of a material fact necessary to make the statement not misleading, a person referred to in subsection (a) shall not be liable with respect to any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, if and to the extent that--
'(A) the forward-looking statement is--
'(i) identified as a forward-looking statement, and is accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statement; or
'(ii) immaterial; or
'(B) the plaintiff fails to prove that the forward-looking statement--
'(i) if made by a natural person, was made with actual knowledge by that person that the statement was false or misleading; or
'(ii) if made by a business entity; was--
'(I) made by or with the approval of an executive officer of that entity, and
'(II) made or approved by such officer with actual knowledge by that officer that the statement was false or misleading.

'(2) ORAL FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS- In the case of an oral forward- looking statement made by an issuer that is subject to the reporting requirements of section 13(a) or section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or by a person acting on behalf of such issuer, the requirement set forth in paragraph (1)(A) shall be deemed to be satisfied--
'(A) if the oral forward-looking statement is accompanied by a cautionary statement--
'(i) that the particular oral statement is a forward-looking statement; and
'(ii) that the actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statement; and
'(B) if--
'(i) the oral forward-looking statement is accompanied by an oral statement that additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward- looking statement is contained in a readily available written document, or portion thereof;
'(ii) the accompanying oral statement referred to in clause (i) identifies the document, or portion thereof, that contains the additional information about those factors relating to the forward- looking statement; and
'(iii) the information contained in that written document is a cautionary statement that satisfies the standard established in paragraph (1)(A).

'(3) AVAILABILITY- Any document filed with the Commission or generally disseminated shall be deemed to be readily available for purposes of paragraph (2).
'(4) EFFECT ON OTHER SAFE HARBORS- The exemption provided for in paragraph (1) shall be in addition to any exemption that the Commission may establish by rule or regulation under subsection (g).

'(d) DUTY TO UPDATE- Nothing in this section shall impose upon any person a duty to update a forward-looking statement.

'(e) DISPOSITIVE MOTION- On any motion to dismiss based upon subsection (c)(1), the court shall consider any statement cited in the complaint and cautionary statement accompanying the forward-looking statement, which are not subject to material dispute, cited by the defendant.

'(f) STAY PENDING DECISION ON MOTION- In any private action arising under this title, the court shall stay discovery (other than discovery that is specifically directed to the applicability of the exemption provided for in this section) during the pendency of any motion by a defendant for summary judgment that is based on the grounds that--
'(1) the statement or omission upon which the complaint is based is a forward-looking statement within the meaning of this section; and
'(2) the exemption provided for in this section precludes a claim for relief.

'(g) EXEMPTION AUTHORITY- In addition to the exemptions provided for in this section, the Commission may, by rule or regulation, provide exemptions from or under any provision of this title, including with respect to liability that is based on a statement or that is based on projections or other forward-looking information, if and to the extent that any such exemption is consistent with the public interest and the protection of investors, as determined by the Commission.

'(h) EFFECT ON OTHER AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION- Nothing in this section limits, either expressly or by implication, the authority of the Commission to exercise similar authority or to adopt similar rules and regulations with respect to forward-looking statements under any other statute under which the Commission exercises rulemaking authority.

'(i) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
'(1) FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT- The term 'forward-looking statement' means--
'(A) a statement containing a projection of revenues, income (including income loss), earnings (including earnings loss) per share, capital expenditures, dividends, capital structure, or other financial items;
'(B) a statement of the plans and objectives of management for future operations, including plans or objectives relating to the products or services of the issuer;
'(C) a statement of future economic performance, including any such statement contained in a discussion and analysis of financial condition by the management or in the results of operations included pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Commission;
'(D) any statement of the assumptions underlying or relating to any statement described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C);
'(E) any report issued by an outside reviewer retained by an issuer, to the extent that the report assesses a forward-looking statement made by the issuer; or
'(F) a statement containing a projection or estimate of such other items as may be specified by rule or regulation of the Commission.

'(2) INVESTMENT COMPANY- The term 'investment company' has the same meaning as in section 3(a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
'(3) PENNY STOCK- The term 'penny stock' has the same meaning as in section 3(a)(51) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the rules and regulations, or orders issued pursuant to that section.
'(4) GOING PRIVATE TRANSACTION- The term 'going private transaction' has the meaning given that term under the rules or regulations of the Commission issued pursuant to section 13(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
'(5) SECURITIES LAWS- The term 'securities laws' has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
'(6) PERSON ACTING ON BEHALF OF AN ISSUER- The term 'person acting on behalf of an issuer' means an officer, director, or employee of the issuer.
'(7) OTHER TERMS- The terms 'blank check company', 'rollup transaction', 'partnership', 'limited liability company', 'executive officer of an entity' and 'direct participation investment program', have the meanings given those terms by rule or regulation of the Commission.'.

(b) AMENDMENT TO THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934- The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 21D (as added by this Act) the following new section:

'SEC. 21E. APPLICATION OF SAFE HARBOR FOR FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS.

'(a) APPLICABILITY- This section shall apply only to a forward-looking statement made by--
'(1) an issuer that, at the time that the statement is made, is subject to the reporting requirements of section 13(a) or section 15(d);
'(2) a person acting on behalf of such issuer;
'(3) an outside reviewer retained by such issuer making a statement on behalf of such issuer; or
'(4) an underwriter, with respect to information provided by such issuer or information derived from information provided by such issuer.

'(b) EXCLUSIONS- Except to the extent otherwise specifically provided by rule, regulation, or order of the Commission, this section shall not apply to a forward-looking statement--
'(1) that is made with respect to the business or operations of the issuer, if the issuer--
'(A) during the 3-year period preceding the date on which the statement was first made--
'(i) was convicted of any felony or misdemeanor described in clauses (i) through (iv) of section 15(b)(4)(B); or
'(ii) has been made the subject of a judicial or administrative decree or order arising out of a governmental action that--
'(I) prohibits future violations of the antifraud provisions of the securities laws;
'(II) requires that the issuer cease and desist from violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws; or
'(III) determines that the issuer violated the antifraud provisions of the securities laws;

'(B) makes the forward-looking statement in connection with an offering of securities by a blank check company;
'(C) issues penny stock;
'(D) makes the forward-looking statement in connection with a rollup transaction; or
'(E) makes the forward-looking statement in connection with a going private transaction; or

'(2) that is--
'(A) included in a financial statement prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
'(B) contained in a registration statement of, or otherwise issued by, an investment company;
'(C) made in connection with a tender offer;
'(D) made in connection with an initial public offering;
'(E) made in connection with an offering by, or relating to the operations of, a partnership, limited liability company, or a direct participation investment program; or
'(F) made in a disclosure of beneficial ownership in a report required to be filed with the Commission pursuant to section 13(d).

'(c) SAFE HARBOR-
'(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), in any private action arising under this title that is based on an untrue statement of a material fact or omission of a material fact necessary to make the statement not misleading, a person referred to in subsection (a) shall not be liable with respect to any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, if and to the extent that--
'(A) the forward-looking statement is--
'(i) identified as a forward-looking statement, and is accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statement; or
'(ii) immaterial; or
'(B) the plaintiff fails to prove that the forward-looking statement--
'(i) if made by a natural person, was made with actual knowledge by that person that the statement was false or misleading; or
'(ii) if made by a business entity; was--
'(I) made by or with the approval of an executive officer of that entity; and
'(II) made or approved by such officer with actual knowledge by that officer that the statement was false or misleading.

'(2) ORAL FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS- In the case of an oral forward- looking statement made by an issuer that is subject to the reporting requirements of section 13(a) or section 15(d), or by a person acting on behalf of such issuer, the requirement set forth in paragraph (1)(A) shall be deemed to be satisfied--
'(A) if the oral forward-looking statement is accompanied by a cautionary statement--
'(i) that the particular oral statement is a forward-looking statement; and
'(ii) that the actual results might differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statement; and '(B) if--
'(i) the oral forward-looking statement is accompanied by an oral statement that additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those in the forward- looking statement is contained in a readily available written document, or portion thereof;
'(ii) the accompanying oral statement referred to in clause (i) identifies the document, or portion thereof, that contains the additional information about those factors relating to the forward- looking statement; and
'(iii) the information contained in that written document is a cautionary statement that satisfies the standard established in paragraph (1)(A).

'(3) AVAILABILITY- Any document filed with the Commission or generally disseminated shall be deemed to be readily available for purposes of paragraph (2).
'(4) EFFECT ON OTHER SAFE HARBORS- The exemption provided for in paragraph (1) shall be in addition to any exemption that the Commission may establish by rule or regulation under subsection (g).

'(d) DUTY TO UPDATE- Nothing in this section shall impose upon any person a duty to update a forward-looking statement.

'(e) DISPOSITIVE MOTION- On any motion to dismiss based upon subsection (c)(1), the court shall consider any statement cited in the complaint and any cautionary statement accompanying the forward-looking statement, which are not subject to material dispute, cited by the defendant.

'(f) STAY PENDING DECISION ON MOTION- In any private action arising under this title, the court shall stay discovery (other than discovery that is specifically directed to the applicability of the exemption provided for in this section) during the pendency of any motion by a defendant for summary judgment that is based on the grounds that--
'(1) the statement or omission upon which the complaint is based is a forward-looking statement within the meaning of this section; and
'(2) the exemption provided for in this section precludes a claim for relief.

'(g) EXEMPTION AUTHORITY- In addition to the exemptions provided for in this section, the Commission may, by rule or regulation, provide exemptions from or under any provision of this title, including with respect to liability that is based on a statement or that is based on projections or other forward-looking information, if and to the extent that any such exemption is consistent with the public interest and the protection of investors, as determined by the Commission.

'(h) EFFECT ON OTHER AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION- Nothing in this section limits, either expressly or by implication, the authority of the Commission to exercise similar authority or to adopt similar rules and regulations with respect to forward-looking statements under any other statute under which the Commission exercises rulemaking authority.

'(i) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
'(1) FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT- The term 'forward-looking statement' means--
'(A) a statement containing a projection of revenues, income (including income loss), earnings (including earnings loss) per share, capital expenditures, dividends, capital structure, or other financial items;
'(B) a statement of the plans and objectives of management for future operations, including plans or objectives relating to the products or services of the issuer;
'(C) a statement of future economic performance, including any such statement contained in a discussion and analysis of financial condition by the management or in the results of operations included pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Commission;
'(D) any statement of the assumptions underlying or relating to any statement described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C);
'(E) any report issued by an outside reviewer retained by an issuer, to the extent that the report assesses a forward-looking statement made by the issuer; or
'(F) a statement containing a projection or estimate of such other items as may be specified by rule or regulation of the Commission.
'(2) INVESTMENT COMPANY- The term 'investment company' has the same meaning as in section 3(a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
'(3) GOING PRIVATE TRANSACTION- The term 'going private transaction' has the meaning given that term under the rules or regulations of the Commission issued pursuant to section 13(e).
'(4) PERSON ACTING ON BEHALF OF AN ISSUER- The term 'person acting on behalf of an issuer' means any officer, director, or employee of such issuer.
'(5) OTHER TERMS- The terms 'blank check company', 'rollup transaction', 'partnership', 'limited liability company', 'executive officer of an entity' and 'direct participation investment program', have the meanings given those terms by rule or regulation of the Commission.'.

SEC. 103. ELIMINATION OF CERTAIN ABUSIVE PRACTICES.

(a) PROHIBITION OF REFERRAL FEES- Section 15(c) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

'(8) PROHIBITION OF REFERRAL FEES- No broker or dealer, or person associated with a broker or dealer, may solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, remuneration for assisting an attorney in obtaining the representation of any person in any private action arising under this title or under the Securities Act of 1933.'.

(b) PROHIBITION OF ATTORNEYS' FEES PAID FROM COMMISSION DISGORGEMENT FUNDS-

(1) SECURITIES ACT OF 1933- Section 20 of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77t) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

'(f) PROHIBITION OF ATTORNEYS' FEES PAID FROM COMMISSION DISGORGEMENT FUNDS- Except as otherwise ordered by the court upon motion by the Commission, or, in the case of an administrative action, as otherwise ordered by the Commission, funds disgorged as the result of an action brought by the Commission in Federal court, or as a result of any Commission administrative action, shall not be distributed as payment for attorneys' fees or expenses incurred by private parties seeking distribution of the disgorged funds.'.

(2) SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934- Section 21(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78u(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

'(4) PROHIBITION OF ATTORNEYS' FEES PAID FROM COMMISSION DISGORGEMENT FUNDS- Except as otherwise ordered by the court upon motion by the Commission, or, in the case of an administrative action, as otherwise ordered by the Commission, funds disgorged as the result of an action brought by the Commission in Federal court, or as a result of any Commission administrative action, shall not be distributed as payment for attorneys' fees or expenses incurred by private parties seeking distribution of the disgorged funds.'.

SEC. 104. AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION TO PROSECUTE AIDING AND ABETTING.

Section 20 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78t) is amended--

(1) by striking the section heading and inserting the following: 'LIABILITY OF CONTROLLING PERSONS AND PERSONS WHO AID AND ABET VIOLATIONS'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection: '(f) PROSECUTION OF PERSONS WHO AID AND ABET VIOLATIONS- For purposes of any action brought by the Commission under paragraph (1) or (3) of section 21(d), any person that knowingly provides substantial assistance to another person in violation of a provision of this title, or of any rule or regulation issued under this title, shall be deemed to be in violation of such provision to the same extent as the person to whom such assistance is provided.'.

SEC. 105. LOSS CAUSATION.
Section 12 of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77l) is amended--
(1) by inserting '(a) IN GENERAL- ' before 'Any person';
(2) by inserting ', subject to subsection (b),' after 'shall be liable'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:

'(b) LOSS CAUSATION- In an action described in subsection (a)(2), if the person who offered or sold such security proves that any portion or all of the amount recoverable under subsection (a)(2) represents other than the depreciation in value of the subject security resulting from such part of the prospectus or oral communication, with respect to which the liability of that person is asserted, not being true or omitting to state a material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statement not misleading, then such portion or amount, as the case may be, shall not be recoverable.'.

SEC. 106. STUDY AND REPORT ON PROTECTIONS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AND QUALIFIED RETIREMENT PLANS.

(a) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission shall--
(1) determine whether investors that are senior citizens or qualified retirement plans require greater protection against securities fraud than is provided in this Act and the amendments made by this Act;
(2) determine whether investors that are senior citizens or qualified retirement plans have been adversely impacted by abusive or unnecessary securities fraud litigation, and whether the provisions in this Act or amendments made by this Act are sufficient to protect their investments from such litigation; and
(3) if so, submit to the Congress a report containing recommendations on protections from securities fraud and abusive or unnecessary securities fraud litigation that the Commission determines to be appropriate to thoroughly protect such investors.

(b) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section--
(1) the term 'qualified retirement plan' has the same meaning as in section 4974(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and
(2) the term 'senior citizen' means an individual who is 62 years of age or older as of the date of the securities transaction at issue.

SEC. 107. AMENDMENT TO RACKETEER INFLUENCED AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS ACT.
Section 1964(c) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting before the period ', except that no person may rely upon any conduct that would have been actionable as fraud in the purchase or sale of securities to establish a violation of section 1962. The exception contained in the preceding sentence does not apply to an action against any person that is criminally convicted in connection with the fraud, in which case the statute of limitations shall start to run on the date on which the conviction becomes final'.

SEC. 108. APPLICABILITY.
The amendments made by this title shall not affect or apply to any private action arising under title I of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or title I of the Securities Act of 1933, commenced before and pending on the date of enactment of this Act.

TITLE II--REDUCTION OF COERCIVE SETTLEMENTS SEC. 201. PROPORTIONATE LIABILITY.

(a) AMENDMENT TO SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934- Section 21D of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (as added by this Act) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

'(g) PROPORTIONATE LIABILITY-
'(1) APPLICABILITY- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to create, affect, or in any manner modify, the standard for liability associated with any action arising under the securities laws. '(2) LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES-
'(A) JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY- Any covered person against whom a final judgment is entered in a private action shall be liable for damages jointly and severally only if the trier of fact specifically determines that such covered person knowingly committed a violation of the securities laws.
'(B) PROPORTIONATE LIABILITY-
'(i) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (1), a covered person against whom a final judgment is entered in a private action shall be liable solely for the portion of the judgment that corresponds to the percentage of responsibility of that covered person, as determined under paragraph (3).
'(ii) RECOVERY BY AND COSTS OF COVERED PERSON- In any case in which a contractual relationship permits, a covered person that prevails in any private action may recover the attorney's fees and costs of that covered person in connection with the action.

'(3) DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY-
'(A) IN GENERAL- In any private action, the court shall instruct the jury to answer special interrogatories, or if there is no jury, shall make findings, with respect to each covered person and each of the other persons claimed by any of the parties to have caused or contributed to the loss incurred by the plaintiff, including persons who have entered into settlements with the plaintiff or plaintiffs, concerning--
'(i) whether such person violated the securities laws;
'(ii) the percentage of responsibility of such person, measured as a percentage of the total fault of all persons who caused or contributed to the loss incurred by the plaintiff; and
'(iii) whether such person knowingly committed a violation of the securities laws.

'(B) CONTENTS OF SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES OR FINDINGS- The responses to interrogatories, or findings, as appropriate, under subparagraph (A) shall specify the total amount of damages that the plaintiff is entitled to recover and the percentage of responsibility of each covered person found to have caused or contributed to the loss incurred by the plaintiff or plaintiffs.

'(C) FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION- In determining the percentage of responsibility under this paragraph, the trier of fact shall consider--
'(i) the nature of the conduct of each covered person found to have caused or contributed to the loss incurred by the plaintiff or plaintiffs; and
'(ii) the nature and extent of the causal relationship between the conduct of each such person and the damages incurred by the plaintiff or plaintiffs.

'(4) UNCOLLECTIBLE SHARE-
'(A) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding paragraph (2)(B), upon motion made not later than 6 months after a final judgment is entered in any private action, the court determines that all or part of the share of the judgment of the covered person is not collectible against that covered person, and is also not collectible against a covered person described in paragraph (2)(A), each covered person described in paragraph (2)(B) shall be liable for the uncollectible share as follows:
'(i) PERCENTAGE OF NET WORTH- Each covered person shall be jointly and severally liable for the uncollectible share if the plaintiff establishes that--
'(I) the plaintiff is an individual whose recoverable damages under the final judgment are equal to more than 10 percent of the net worth of the plaintiff; and
'(II) the net worth of the plaintiff is equal to less than $200,000.
'(ii) OTHER PLAINTIFFS- With respect to any plaintiff not described in subclauses (I) and (II) of clause (i), each covered person shall be liable for the uncollectible share in proportion to the percentage of responsibility of that covered person, except that the total liability of a covered person under this clause may not exceed 50 percent of the proportionate share of that covered person, as determined under paragraph (3)(B).
'(iii) NET WORTH- For purposes of this subparagraph, net worth shall be determined as of the date immediately preceding the date of the purchase or sale (as applicable) by the plaintiff of the security that is the subject of the action, and shall be equal to the fair market value of assets, minus liabilities, including the net value of the investments of the plaintiff in real and personal property (including personal residences).

'(B) OVERALL LIMIT- In no case shall the total payments required pursuant to subparagraph (A) exceed the amount of the uncollectible share.

'(C) COVERED PERSONS SUBJECT TO CONTRIBUTION- A covered person against whom judgment is not collectible shall be subject to contribution and to any continuing liability to the plaintiff on the judgment.

'(5) RIGHT OF CONTRIBUTION- To the extent that a covered person is required to make an additional payment pursuant to paragraph (4), that covered person may recover contribution--
'(A) from the covered person originally liable to make the payment;
'(B) from any covered person liable jointly and severally pursuant to paragraph (2)(A);
'(C) from any covered person held proportionately liable pursuant to this paragraph who is liable to make the same payment and has paid less than his or her proportionate share of that payment; or
'(D) from any other person responsible for the conduct giving rise to the payment that would have been liable to make the same payment.

'(6) NONDISCLOSURE TO JURY- The standard for allocation of damages under paragraphs (2) and (3) and the procedure for reallocation of uncollectible shares under paragraph (4) shall not be disclosed to members of the jury.

'(7) SETTLEMENT DISCHARGE-
'(A) IN GENERAL- A covered person who settles any private action at any time before final verdict or judgment shall be discharged from all claims for contribution brought by other persons. Upon entry of the settlement by the court, the court shall enter a bar order constituting the final discharge of all obligations to the plaintiff of the settling covered person arising out of the action. The order shall bar all future claims for contribution arising out of the action--
'(i) by any person against the settling covered person; and
'(ii) by the settling covered person against any person, other than a person whose liability has been extinguished by the settlement of the settling covered person.

'(B) REDUCTION- If a covered person enters into a settlement with the plaintiff prior to final verdict or judgment, the verdict or judgment shall be reduced by the greater of--
'(i) an amount that corresponds to the percentage of responsibility of that covered person; or
'(ii) the amount paid to the plaintiff by that covered person.

'(8) CONTRIBUTION- A covered person who becomes jointly and severally liable for damages in any private action may recover contribution from any other person who, if joined in the original action, would have been liable for the same damages. A claim for contribution shall be determined based on the percentage of responsibility of the claimant and of each person against whom a claim for contribution is made.

'(9) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CONTRIBUTION- In any private action determining liability, an action for contribution shall be brought not later than 6 months after the entry of a final, nonappealable judgment in the action, except that an action for contribution brought by a covered person who was required to make an additional payment pursuant to paragraph (4) may be brought not later than 6 months after the date on which such payment was made.

'(10) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this subsection--
'(A) a covered person 'knowingly commits a violation of the securities laws'--
'(i) with respect to an action that is based on an untrue statement of material fact or omission of a material fact necessary to make the statement not misleading, if--
'(I) that covered person makes an untrue statement of a material fact, with actual knowledge that the representation is false, or omits to state a fact necessary in order to make the statement made not misleading, with actual knowledge that, as a result of the omission, one of the material representations of the covered person is false; and
'(II) persons are likely to reasonably rely on that misrepresentation or omission; and
'(ii) with respect to an action that is based on any conduct that is not described in clause (i), if that covered person engages in that conduct with actual knowledge of the facts and circumstances that make the conduct of that covered person a violation of the securities laws;
'(B) reckless conduct by a covered person shall not be construed to constitute a knowing commission of a violation of the securities laws by that covered person;
'(C) the term 'covered person' means--
'(i) a defendant in any private action arising under this title; or
'(ii) a defendant in any private action arising under section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, who is an outside director of the issuer of the securities that are the subject of the action; and
'(D) the term 'outside director' shall have the meaning given such term by rule or regulation of the Commission.'.

(b) AMENDMENTS TO THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933- Section 11(f) of the Securities Act of 1933 (12 U.S.C. 77k(f)) is amended--
(1) by striking 'All' and inserting '(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), all'; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: '(2)(A) The liability of an outside director under subsection (e) shall be determined in accordance with section 38 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
'(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the term 'outside director' shall have the meaning given such term by rule or regulation of the Commission .'.

SEC. 202. APPLICABILITY.
The amendments made by this title shall not affect or apply to any private action arising under the securities laws commenced before and pending on the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 203. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be deemed to create or ratify any implied private right of action, or to prevent the Commission, by rule or regulation, from restricting or otherwise regulating private actions under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

TITLE III--AUDITOR DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE FRAUD
SEC. 301. FRAUD DETECTION AND DISCLOSURE.

(a) IN GENERAL- The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.) is amended by inserting immediately after section 10 the following new section:

'SEC. 10A. AUDIT REQUIREMENTS.

'(a) IN GENERAL- Each audit required pursuant to this title of the financial statements of an issuer by an independent public accountant shall include, in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, as may be modified or supplemented from time to time by the Commission--
'(1) procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance of detecting illegal acts that would have a direct and material effect on the determination of financial statement amounts;
'(2) procedures designed to identify related party transactions that are material to the financial statements or otherwise require disclosure therein; and
'(3) an evaluation of whether there is substantial doubt about the ability of the issuer to continue as a going concern during the ensuing fiscal year.

'(b) REQUIRED RESPONSE TO AUDIT DISCOVERIES-
'(1) INVESTIGATION AND REPORT TO MANAGEMENT- If, in the course of conducting an audit pursuant to this title to which subsection (a) applies, the independent public accountant detects or otherwise becomes aware of information indicating that an illegal act (whether or not perceived to have a material effect on the financial statements of the issuer) has or may have occurred, the accountant shall, in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, as may be modified or supplemented from time to time by the Commission--
'(A)(i) determine whether it is likely that an illegal act has occurred; and
'(ii) if so, determine and consider the possible effect of the illegal act on the financial statements of the issuer, including any contingent monetary effects, such as fines, penalt ies, and damages; and
'(B) as soon as practicable, inform the appropriate level of the management of the issuer and assure that the audit committee of the issuer, or the board of directors of the issuer in the absence of such a committee, is adequately informed with respect to illegal acts that have been detected or have otherwise come to the attention of such accountant in the course of the audit, unless the illegal act is clearly inconsequential.
'(2) RESPONSE TO FAILURE TO TAKE REMEDIAL ACTION- If, after determining that the audit committee of the board of directors of the issuer, or the board of directors of the issuer in the absence of an audit committee, is adequately informed with respect to illegal acts that have been detected or have otherwise come to the attention of the accountant in the course of the audit of such accountant, the independent public accountant concludes that--
'(A) the illegal act has a material effect on the financial statements of the issuer;
'(B) the senior management has not taken, and the board of directors has not caused senior management to take, timely and appropriate remedial actions with respect to the illegal act; and
'(C) the failure to take remedial action is reasonably expected to warrant departure from a standard report of the auditor, when made, or warrant resignation from the audit engagement; the independent public accountant shall, as soon as practicable, directly report its conclusions to the board of directors.

'(3) NOTICE TO COMMISSION; RESPONSE TO FAILURE TO NOTIFY- An issuer whose board of directors receives a report under paragraph (2) shall inform the Commission by notice not later than 1 business day after the receipt of such report and shall furnish the independent public accountant making such report with a copy of the notice furnished to the Commission. If the independent public accountant fails to receive a copy of the notice before the expiration of the required 1-business-day period, the independent public accountant shall--
'(A) resign from the engagement; or
'(B) furnish to the Commission a copy of its report (or the documentation of any oral report given) not later than 1 business day following such failure to receive notice.

'(4) REPORT AFTER RESIGNATION- If an independent public accountant resigns from an engagement under paragraph (3)(A), the accountant shall, not later than 1 business day following the failure by the issuer to notify the Commission under paragraph (3), furnish to the Commission a copy of the accountant's report (or the documentation of any oral report given).

'(c) AUDITOR LIABILITY LIMITATION- No independent public accountant shall be liable in a private action for any finding, conclusion, or statement expressed in a report made pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection (b), including any rule promulgated pursuant thereto.

'(d) CIVIL PENALTIES IN CEASE-AND-DESIST PROCEEDINGS- If the Commission finds, after notice and opportunity for hearing in a proceeding instituted pursuant to section 21C, that an independent public accountant has willfully violated paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection (b), the Commission may, in addition to entering an order under section 21C, impose a civil penalty against the independent public accountant and any other person that the Commission finds was a cause of such violation. The determination to impose a civil penalty and the amount of the penalty shall be governed by the standards set forth in section 21B.

'(e) PRESERVATION OF EXISTING AUTHORITY- Except as provided in subsection (d), nothing in this section shall be held to limit or otherwise affect the authority of the Commission under this title.

'(f) DEFINITION- As used in this section, the term 'illegal act' means an act or omission that violates any law, or any rule or regulation having the force of law.'.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATES- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to each annual report--
(1) for any period beginning on or after January 1, 1996, with respect to any registrant that is required to file selected quarterly financial data pursuant to the rules or regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and
(2) for any period beginning on or after January 1, 1997, with respect to any other registrant.

Speaker of the House of Representatives. Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.

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