Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., No. 77-2214

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WRIGHT, HUG and SKOPIL; EUGENE A. WRIGHT; The question whether a statute creates a cause of action, either expressly or by implication, is basically a matter of statutory construction. . . . While some opinions of the Court have placed conside
Citation614 F.2d 677
Parties, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. P 97,296 Regina (Rega) JABLON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. DEAN WITTER & CO., and Sydney Turner, Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 77-2214
Decision Date29 February 1980

Page 677

614 F.2d 677
54 A.L.R.Fed. 1, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. P 97,296
Regina (Rega) JABLON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DEAN WITTER & CO., and Sydney Turner, Defendants-Appellees.
No. 77-2214.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Feb. 29, 1980.

Page 678

Marshall A. Rutter, Collins, Gregory & Rutter, Los Angeles, Cal., for plaintiff-appellant.

Michael J. Abbott, Stephens, Jones, La Fever & Smith, Los Angeles, Cal., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Before WRIGHT, HUG and SKOPIL, Circuit Judges.

EUGENE A. WRIGHT, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from an order of dismissal. Appellant Jablon alleges Dean Witter violated New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Rule 405 (the "know your customer" rule) 1 and Article III, Section 2 of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Rules of Fair Practice (the "suitability" rule) 2 in its handling of her margin account. She also charges a violation of Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5 (1975). The district court dismissed the complaint, ruling (1) there is no implied private cause of action under NYSE Rule 405 or the NASD suitability rule, and (2) the Rule 10b-5 claim was barred by the statute of limitations. We affirm.

FACTS

In 1946, Jablon opened a "margin account" with Dean Witter. She alleges Sydney Turner, her account salesman at Dean Witter, urged her to open it without first inquiring diligently into her financial position, business expertise, or investment goals. She says she was not advised she could close her margin account and thereby avoid paying interest on funds loaned to her by Dean Witter and avoid placing additional funds in her account to meet "margin calls." Finally, she alleges that Turner improperly recommended that she purchase highly speculative securities on margin.

Jablon made numerous stock purchases between 1946 and 1970, including three purchases allegedly based on Dean Witter's recommendation: (1) additional shares of RCA (1965); (2) an unspecified number of

Page 679

shares of Lockheed stock (1967); and (3) another 100 Lockheed shares (1970). She argues these purchases were too speculative for her financial position.

Although no stock purchases were made after 1970, Jablon alleges she had repeated margin calls made upon her account through 1974. In 1974 she was unable to meet one call and Dean Witter sold her account. She alleges she lost $39,000 as a result of her investment plan: an initial investment of $23,000, plus additional cash to meet margin calls, offset by $800 remaining in her account.

Jablon contends she was not aware of Turner's alleged misconduct until she consulted legal counsel in 1974.

DISCUSSION

The Supreme Court recently enunciated the standard for implying private actions. Touche Ross & Co. v. Redington, 442 U.S. 560, 99 S.Ct. 2479, 61 L.Ed.2d 82 (1979). The Court held that customers of securities brokerage firms had no implied cause of action for damages under § 17(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78q(a). It declared:

The question of the existence of a statutory cause of action is, of course, one of statutory construction. . . . As we recently have emphasized, "the fact that a federal statute has been violated and some person harmed does not automatically give rise to a private cause of action in favor of that person." Cannon v. University of Chicago, supra, 441 U.S. (677), at 686, 99 S.Ct. (1946), at 1953. Instead, our task is limited solely to determining whether Congress intended to create the private right of action . . . .

99 S.Ct. at 2485.

This rule of statutory construction was extended by the Court in Transamerica Mortgage Advisors, Inc. v. Lewis, --- U.S. ----, 100 S.Ct. 242, 62 L.Ed.2d 146 (1979). The Court ruled that § 206 of the Investment Advisors Act, 15 U.S.C. § 80b-1 et seq., created no private cause of action for damages and explained:

The question whether a statute creates a cause of action, either expressly or by implication, is basically a matter of statutory construction. . . . While some opinions of the Court have placed considerable emphasis upon the desirability of implying private rights of action in order to provide remedies thought to effectuate the purposes of a given statute, e. g., J. I. Case Co. v. Borak (377 U.S. 426, 84 S.Ct. 1555, 12 L.Ed.2d 423), supra, what must ultimately be determined is whether Congress intended to create the private remedy asserted. . . .

--- U.S. at ----, 100 S.Ct. at 245.

The Supreme Court's decisions in Touche Ross and Transamerica reflect a restrictive approach to implying private rights of action. Although those cases involved statutes rather than stock exchange rules, we think the same approach should apply in this case.

Because the stock exchange rules were not enacted by Congress but by the exchange acting on authority delegated by Congress, a two-step inquiry is necessary: (1) whether Congress intended to delegate authority to establish rules implying a private right of action; (2) whether the stock exchange rules were drafted such that a private action may legitimately be implied. We need not decide today whether the Transamerica test should be applied to the second step because we hold that Congress did not intend to create private rights of action for violation of stock exchange rules.

The Stock Exchange Rules

The Securities Exchange Act does not expressly authorize private actions for stock exchange rule violations. Prior to Transamerica and Touche Ross, courts and commentators found a statutory basis for implying private actions for exchange rule violations under §§ 6(b) and 27 of the Securities Exchange Act. 3 Section 6(b) 4, requiring

Page 680

exchanges to adopt rules promoting "just and equitable principles of trade," was said to create a duty. A private action was recognized in conjunction with § 27 of the Act 5 which provides that an action may be "brought to enforce any liability or duty created by this chapter or the rules and regulations thereunder." This theory is no longer viable.

The Supreme Court specifically rejected a similar theory in Touche Ross. Relying on J. I. Case v. Borak, 377 U.S. 426, 84 S.Ct. 1555, 12 L.Ed.2d 423 (1964), 6 plaintiffs argued that defendant Touche Ross had breached its duties under § 17(a) and the rules adopted thereunder. They contended the breach was actionable under § 27. The Court rejected this theory, declaring that § 27 could play no part in implying liability:

The reliance . . . on § 27 is misplaced. Section 27 grants jurisdiction to the federal courts and provides for venue and service of process. It creates no cause of action of its own force and effect; it imposes no liabilities. The source of plaintiffs' rights must be found, if at all, in the substantive provisions of the 1934 Act which they seek to enforce, not in the jurisdictional provision.

442 U.S. at 577, 99 S.Ct. at 2490.

Congressional intent to provide a private cause of action must therefore be found in § 6(b) alone. We find no such intent. The Supreme Court has decided that no private cause of action was intended under § 17(a) of the Securities Exchange Act because it "neither confers rights on private parties nor proscribes any conduct as unlawful." Touche Ross, 422 U.S. at 569, 99 S.Ct. at 2486. We believe this reasoning applies with equal force to § 6(b).

Jablon argues that § 6(b) implies a private action because it was intended to protect the public. The Supreme Court rejected a similar public protection argument in Touche Ross :

Certainly, the mere fact that § 17(a) was designed to provide protection for brokers' customers does not require the implication of a private damage action in their behalf.

Id. at 2490.

In Transamerica, the Court similarly rejected public protection as a basis for implying a private action under § 206 of the Investment Advisors Act:

Section 206 of the Act here involved concededly was intended to protect the victims of the fraudulent practices it prohibited. But the mere fact that the statute was designed to protect advisers' clients does not require the implication of a private cause of action for damages on their...

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687 practice notes
  • Campbell v. Upjohn Co., No. K78-23 CA4.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • September 30, 1980
    ...be granted under Fed.R. Civ.P. 12(b)(6) as well as upon a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); Rauch v. Day & Night Manufacturing Corp., 576 F.2d 697, 702 (6th Cir. 1978). The former is appropriate when "the time ......
  • Soto v. City of Sacramento, No. Civ. S-79-680 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 24, 1983
    ...entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Avila v. Travelers Insurance Co., 651 F.2d 658, 660 (9th Cir.1981); Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir.1980). In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, all the evidence, and the reasonable inferences which may be dr......
  • Survine v. Cottle, CASE NO. CV F 12-1453 LJO JLT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • January 8, 2013
    ...Cir. 1984). For instance, a limitations defense may be raised by a F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); see Avco Corp. v. Precision Air Parts, Inc., 676 F.2d 494, 495 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1037, 103 S.Ct. 4......
  • Ayon v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., CASE NO. CV F 12-0355 LJO SKO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • April 9, 2012
    ...Cir. 1984). For instance, a limitations defense may be raised by a F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); see Avco Corp. v. Precision Air Parts, Inc., 676 F.2d 494, 495 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1037, 103 S.Ct. 4......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
687 cases
  • Campbell v. Upjohn Co., No. K78-23 CA4.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • September 30, 1980
    ...be granted under Fed.R. Civ.P. 12(b)(6) as well as upon a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); Rauch v. Day & Night Manufacturing Corp., 576 F.2d 697, 702 (6th Cir. 1978). The former is appropriate when "the time ......
  • Soto v. City of Sacramento, No. Civ. S-79-680 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 24, 1983
    ...entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Avila v. Travelers Insurance Co., 651 F.2d 658, 660 (9th Cir.1981); Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir.1980). In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, all the evidence, and the reasonable inferences which may be dr......
  • Survine v. Cottle, CASE NO. CV F 12-1453 LJO JLT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • January 8, 2013
    ...Cir. 1984). For instance, a limitations defense may be raised by a F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); see Avco Corp. v. Precision Air Parts, Inc., 676 F.2d 494, 495 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1037, 103 S.Ct. 4......
  • Ayon v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., CASE NO. CV F 12-0355 LJO SKO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • April 9, 2012
    ...Cir. 1984). For instance, a limitations defense may be raised by a F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); see Avco Corp. v. Precision Air Parts, Inc., 676 F.2d 494, 495 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1037, 103 S.Ct. 4......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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