New York Court of Appeals Holds That Martin Act Does Not Preempt Private Common-law Causes of Action

23 December 2011
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Key takeaways:

  • On December 20, 2011, New York's highest court held unanimously that private parties can sue for alleged wrongdoing in connection with securities transactions so long as the claims are not wholly duplicative of, or do not arise from, a violation of New York's Martin Act.
  • Prior to this decision, the view of many lower courts and practitioners had been that because the Martin Act vests the New York Attorney General with sole enforcement authority over securities fraud and related practices, overlapping private non-fraud tort claims in the securities field were preempted.
  • While the Court did not recognize a private right of action for violations of the Martin Act, its holding regarding the availability to private parties of common-law tort claims previously believed to be preempted will likely result in additional litigation.