STEPHENS, Circuit Judge.
It is alleged in the complaint which was filed in the United States District Court, that the defendants-appellees acquired corporate stock from the plaintiff-appellant through fraudulent representations by the use of the United States mails, the telephone, and other means and instrumentalities of interstate commerce; thus violating Securities Exchange Commission's Rule X-10B-5 which implements § 10 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 881, 891, 15 U.S.C.A. § 78j. Of specific application here is § 10(b), subdivision (b) of § 78j, 15 U.S.C.A. Hereinafter we shall refer to the implemented section of the Act as § 10. The stock was not handled on or through any securities exchange, or any stock-dealing organization, nor by any person connected with any business sometimes referred to as "over-the-counter markets" or businesses. The stock was not listed with or upon or put for sale with any stock or security-exchange or sales business.
The defendants made motions to dismiss the action upon several grounds,
The court used the following language in its order:
Are the Alleged Facts Outside the Purview of the Act?
The first issue posed is: Does § 10 embrace stock transactions (in interstate commerce or through the United States mails) in which no phase of a stock exchange or stock handling business is involved?
But we think it will be helpful to first get well in mind the preamble or foreward to the applicable Act, 48 Stat. 881; 15 U.S.C. A. § 78b, entitled "Necessity for regulation". It is in part as follows (we quote the full preamble in the margin):
Section 10(b), 15 U.S.C.A. § 78j (b) is as follows:
The implementing Rule X-10B-5 is as follows:
Thus it is seen that if § 10 stood alone, its provisions together with the implementing rule would be applicable to "any person" and would not be limited to persons having to do with transactions in securities through organized or established "stock exchanges" or "over-the-counter markets" But the section does not stand alone; instead it stands as a part of a single legislative Act designed to be administered as a whole in the abolition of extensive inimical practices. And its scope should be construed in the interests of such purpose.
The parties to the instant litigation do not agree as to the manner in which the section is intended to aid in the grand purpose. Appellees, in observing the expression "over-the-counter markets", conclude that the expression alludes to established businesses or brokers who handle security transfers off the regular stock exchanges, not including the transfer of securities made without the aid of any such intermediaries. They argue, from such premise, that to come under the Act at all a stock transaction must be through one or another of the established businesses. Therefore, they conclude, the deal in suit is outside the Act and the questioned section of the Act does not touch it.
Appellant and the Commission, as Amicus Curiae, advance the theory that "over-the-counter" embraces every security not traded through a regular stock exchange. Therefore, since in the preamble both expressions "stock exchange" and "over-the-counter markets" are used, the two expressions embrace every security transaction. And, if the mails or an instrumentality of interstate commerce has been connected with it, the section covers it, and, a fortiori, the instant alleged deal.
The application of § 10 has been treated by several courts, and in each case until the instant one the section has been held to cover transactions entirely outside any established securities-transfer business, when the mail or any instrumentality of interstate commerce has been used.
By what may seem to be a paradox we agree with the conclusion reached by appellant and the Commission while, in general, disagreeing with their premise; and we disagree with the conclusions reached by appellees while, in general, agreeing with their assigned premise.
We think the whole tenor of the Act indicates that its operative procedure is by regulation of security-transfer businesses and persons who function in or through them. That "stock exchange" and "over-the-counter markets" mean, in the Act, any security-transfer business wherein
We are in substantial agreement with Judge Clark's dissenting opinion in the case of Baird v. Franklin, 2 Cir., 1944, 141 F.2d 238, 244, certiorari denied 1944, 323 U.S. 737, 65 S.Ct. 38, 89 L.Ed. 591, as to which we shall have more to say presently, wherein he construed § 6(b) of the same Act upon the point under consideration as we construe § 10 and, as we see it, such construction conforms to the intent of Congress as expressed in the Act's preamble, that is, to make the control of security transactions "reasonably complete and effective." Without going into the details of the legislative history, and we have made some examination thereof, we believe our construction is in harmony therewith. We will not lengthen this opinion with extracts from or specific citation of the applicable legislative history. Very full citation and quotations may be found in Appendix A and Appendix B of the Commission's brief and in the body of appellees' brief.
The decisions on the point, save the one in the case we are now reviewing, are in accord with our conclusion, but the reasoning of the several courts varies. Some of the courts take the straight road, that no matter about the rest of the Act, the wording of the section is too plain to admit of extraneous matter in explanation of its meaning.
Has the District Court jurisdiction of a Private Civil Cause of Action for Damages Under Section 10(b) of the Act?
One of the grounds upon which the motions to dismiss were based, was that there is no provision in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for a civil cause of action for damages in the United States District Court under § 10. That there is no such express provision is admitted. While the district court specifically denied the motion to dismiss on this ground, appellees here claim that the dismissal should be affirmed for lack of jurisdiction, and the point was briefed and orally argued by the parties.
It is argued by appellees that Congress intended to confine any enforcement of
However, the weight of authority and the best reasoning, as we see it, bring us to the conclusion that a civil cause of action may be brought to enforce § 10 as implemented by Securities Exchange Commission Regulation X-10B-5, C.F.R. Section 240.10b-5.
In Bell v. Hood, 1946, 327 U.S. 678, 684, 66 S.Ct. 773, 90 L.Ed. 939, a case brought by private parties against Federal Bureau of Investigation officers for tort, there was claimed the right to bring the action for redress
Are the Allegations of the Complaint Sufficient as to the use of the Mails or use of an Instrumentality of Interstate Commerce in Connection With the Transaction?
Another reason given by appellees in their motions to dismiss the instant action is that the allegations in regard to the use of the mails or the use of instrumentalities of interstate commerce are insufficient. Appellees call attention to the fact that there is no specific allegation in the complaint that any fraud or misrepresentation in regard to the stock or its value was made by mail or in the use of an instrumentality of interstate commerce, and rely heavily upon the case of Kemper v. Lohnes, 7 Cir., 1949, 173 F.2d 44, 45. That case relates to § 12(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C.A. § 771(2) in which it is provided that any person who "sells a security * * * by the use of any means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce or of the mails, by means of a prospectus or oral communication, which includes an untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements * * * shall be liable * * *." The court applied the statute to the alleged facts which were, in short: A person advertised stock for sale. A would-be buyer answered by mail, which elicited a reply. No misrepresentation is alleged in the mail exchange or in the advertisement or instrumentality of interstate commerce. Subsequently, the advertiser and the person who replied to the advertisement
Whatever may be said as to the soundness of the court's conclusions, certainly the case is not conclusively contrary to our view that in our case the crookedness need not appear at all in the instrumentality used. The applicable statutes are different in the two cases, as will be seen readily upon comparing them. While it may be that the fraudulent acts must appear in the use made of the instrumentality under § 12(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 the use need only be "in connection with" the fraud. The unlawful conduct is:
The use of the mails and of interstate commerce in the instant case are alleged as follows: Paragraph V of the complaint consists of general allegations of a fraudulent nature "by the use of the mails, telephone, telegraph and other means and instruments of transportation in interstate commerce * * *." Paragraph XV of the complaint is as follows: "That thereafter and pursuant to the said fraudulent plan and conspiracy, defendant, John R. Robinson, on his own behalf and as agent for the Control Group, by the use of the United States Mails, authorized and directed the First National Bank of Everett, Washington, to write to the National Bank of Commerce, in Seattle, Washington, instructing the latter bank to deduct Forty-Nine Thousand ($49,000) Dollars from the account of the former bank, and to transmit and/or credit the same to the plaintiff's account, and further instructed said bank to forward the plaintiff's stock, then held by it in escrow pursuant to said option, to the First National Bank of Everett for delivery by it to John R. Robinson."
The district court, it would seem, held the general allegations sufficient as it denied a motion to strike them. These general allegations may or may not be supported by evidence showing fraud was actually used or employed in connection with the use of instruments of interstate commerce or the United States mails. We hold the allegations sufficient.
Had the Statute of Limitations Run When the Action Was Begun?
Both parties agree that the statute of limitations of the State of Washington, wherein the alleged unlawful acts occured, applies, since the Act provides none. Rem. Rev.Stat. § 159(4) Wash. provides:
In a sense, of course, the instant action is based upon a statute, but it is also based upon fraud which has been the subject of common law concern through the centuries. And, of course, the Washington state law recognizes such an action. The authors of 53 C.J.S., Limitations of Actions § 83(a), at page 1052, have deduced the following from the authorities:
Appellees argue that the basis of the federal statute is the use of the mails or other instrumentality of interstate commerce, therefore the action arises from a statute and the two-year limitation applies. But, of course, the use of the mails per se is not denounced, it is the fraud that offends. For that reason, it denies the use of the mails in connection with the fraud. Here is not a governmental statutory denouncement of a human action heretofore undenounced, such as a violation of a wartime price for a commodity. Fraud is denounced in all its phases by federal and state and the common law. There are statutes with restrictions and limitations as to actions under it, but such actions do not arise out of nor upon a statute, within the meaning of the Washington state law. To hold otherwise would be paying tribute to form inconsistent with the spirit and substance of the rule.
What we have said appears to be borne out by the Washington State Supreme Court in the case of Union Trust Co. v. Amery, 1912, 67 Wn. 1, 120 P. 539, 540. That action was based upon a Washington statute which declared unlawful, among other acts, the making of any division of the stock of a corporation except from profits. It was claimed by defendants that the statute of limitations had run. The court thought otherwise, and held the applicable limitation was that provided for actions based upon fraud.
Also, in Oregon-Washington R. & Nav. Co. v. Seattle Grain Co., 1919, 106 Wn. 1, 178 P. 648, 650, 185 P. 583, it was held that "A liability created by statute is one in which no element of agreement enters." The action was for the recovery of money for carrying freight, and the court said the element of agreement was present because of the agreement between the shipper and the transporter.
The element of agreement in our case is the agreement to purchase and sell the stock.
Schillner v. H. Vaughan Clarke & Co., 2 Cir., 1943, 134 F.2d 875; Moore v. Gorman, D.C.S.D.N.Y., 1948, 75 F.Supp. 453.
See contra: Kemper v. Lohnes, 7 Cir., 1949, 173 F.2d 44; Siebenthaler v. Aircraft Access. Corp'n, D.C.S.D.Mo., 1940, CCH Fed.Sec.L.Rep. 90, 112; Independence Shares Corp'n v. Deckert, 3 Cir., 1939, 108 F.2d 51, reversed on other grounds, 1940, 311 U.S. 282, 61 S.Ct. 229, 85 L.Ed. 189; Murphy v. Cady, D.C.D. Me., 1939, 30 F.Supp. 466, affirmed, 1 Cir., 1940, 113 F.2d 988, certiorari denied 1940, 311 U.S. 705, 61 S.Ct. 175, 85 L.Ed. 458.