As no full lawsuit database exists in the US, it might not be possible to find every single lawsuit that has been filed against a company if there is more than one. In New York and other states, legal action doesn’t start with a court filing but with the company being served.
The complainer and the company might settle privately out of court. In New York, the Workers’ Compensation Board has decision databases that can’t be searched by company name easily. This is because the information is classified.
So how can you get results? This article outlines a few effective ways.
You can have a look at the Litigation section of Audit Analytics or run a company file search on Lexis. The results can be viewed under “Get Companies Info.” The report’s Legal section has information on recent federal cases the company has been involved in.
You can look up the company on Lexis & Westlaw. Look for cases where it’s named as the defendant. You will need to search state and federal cases. Only cases where verdicts have been issued are listed.
Justia provides links to all cases filed with federal district courts, including pending ones. You can also search Google Scholar. Look up the company name as part of the title in court cases.
Try a people finder if you know the names of the executives or an employee of the company. You might find interesting information linking them and the organization to legal action.
Stanford University has a specialized clearinghouse called “Securities Class Action” where your company might be listed. Libraries for legal literature and legal newsletters might be informative.
You could search Factiva’s news section as well. Enter the company name plus terms like “investigation,” “legal action,” or “lawsuit.”
Government websites might be helpful. Try the Federal Trade Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Justice. The FTC regulates every company doing business in the US in terms of trade practices. It is responsible for consumer protection, preventing monopoly formations, etc.
You can download prospect filings, shareholders’ letters, quarterly and annual reports, and other financial documents from their website, which you can use to learn more about the company, its management, and its stocks.
You can check for pending or past litigation in which the company was involved. Access to legal e-databases isn’t free, but the fee might be worth it. You can contact a screening service to carry out a civil suit search or perform case reviews or searches by name.
Records Of The Security And Exchange Commission
If the company is listed on the stock exchange, the US SEC might have information about disclosed lawsuits. Annual and quarterly filings will have a section on legal proceedings. Data on major litigation will be available in current event 8k filings for US companies.
The next step would be to collect the SEC’s records, which also regulates financial companies’ activity. The records are available online.
Check with the court of the state where the company is based. You can conduct a public docket search in some state courts. Again, privately settled cases are hard to find. You might find local media coverage on that, though.
The Better Business Bureau
The BBB provides information about companies by ranking them from A to F. They offer services related to dispute resolution, fraud prevention, truth in advertising, business ethics and education, etc.
It’s possible to order a credit report on the company. The leading providers are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
The Uniform Commercial Code
You can retrieve information about the company’s financial situation from the UCC files in your state. The company’s contact details must be 100% accurate. The system is freely accessible through the Secretary of State’s website.
You’ll get a list of matches when you enter the company’s name, from which you choose the relevant one.
Verifying Their License
If applicable, you can check with your state’s professional regulation authority to verify their license. This search is done by sector or industry. This background check can also show whether the company’s employees have the required credentials and experience.
You can use a background check service to verify the company’s permit. They will contact the industry or state licensing board and find any violations or limitations linked to the license in question.
District Court Records
Finally, district court records can show if the company has ever faced a lawsuit. Property tax records will reveal if the company has any liens. To check for a federal lawsuit, you need to perform a search of federal records.