How and where do I sue a large financial corporation?

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How and where do I sue a large financial corporation?

I am a self-employed professional daytrader who opened a new account with an investment company. I tried to purchase stock but was prevented from trading as the check I made out to it was rejected by my bank. It was rejected because the investment company did not endorse the back of the check. I would have made $2,000 had I been able to buy and sell the particular stock. Should I sue the branch where I opened the account? Should I sue the corporation in my state? Or should i sue in the state in which it is headquartered?

Asked on October 2, 2011 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is very unlikely that you can win the lawsuit you describe. The problem is that the damages are too speculative. You say that you "would" have made $2,000 if you had been allowed to buy and sell this particular stock. The problem is that you cannot prove that--if you had held the stock for any period of time other than the (presumably optimal) period of time you are using to get to your $2,000 figure, the results would have been different--possibly better, possibly worse. Indeed, if you were continuing to hold the stock (assuming you had purchased it, of course), you would not have realized any gain or loss. There is most likely no way to prove that you absolutely "would" have sold the stock when you say you would have--the courts do not allow suits based on hindsight, looking back at when you could have realized the most profit.

That said, if you want to try the suit, initially bring it against both the branch office and the corporation (assuming they are not one and the same; e.g. the branch office is a franchise or otherwise not identical with the main corporation; if they are identical, you just need to sue the corporation) where you opened the account. If that's not the appropriate venue, that should come up quickly, and the matter will either be transfered or you'll have the chance to refile.


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