Stock Lawsuits

Sometime last week, I received a piece of mail regarding a class action lawsuit.  I left it on the desk and didn’t take a good look at it until yesterday.  This one was a class action suit regarding shareholders of Toyota common stock, which I knew I had shares in at one time, but couldn’t recall when it was.  

I’ll be honest: I rarely have the patience to figure out WHERE within the legalese I can find why they are being sued. Nor can I figure out why I would want to opt out of it.  If they want to send me more money, I am game.  I guess I give up the right to file my own suit?  Please.  I only owned 20 shares.  However, I was stunned to find out that I had lost over half the value when I sold it about a year later.  It was a classic case of buy high, sell low.  It did go up considerably after I bought it, but when you don’t sell, you don’t profit. Instead, I rode it down to what looks like one of its very lowest prices in the last 5 years.  I sold it on the very last day of 2008, wanting to take a loss to put on the taxes.  My guess is it wasn’t going to go up any time soon.  From what I remember, I was right for a little while, but probably should have held on longer.  My guess is that steep drop is somehow tied to this lawsuit.
The interesting thing here is I bet this is at least the third stock for which I have been a participant in a class action suite.  United Healthcare Group was another one from not too long ago.  I can’t even remember what I received from it, but I am guessing it wasn’t much more than a few dollars.  From the company’s standpoint, I am sure it hurts a bit paying out to all shareholders.  But if you are a shareholder like me, you aren’t going to get much out of it.  Still, I filed my claim today.  Hope I get more than the 46 cents I paid to mail it.

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