John M. O’Quinn, the Houston plaintiffs lawyer who died in an automobile accident in 2009, will be honored tonight at the Houston premier of "The Wall Street Conspiracy," a documentary about alleged stock market fraud.
The focus of the movie is illegal naked short selling, in which a seller intentionally sells stock in a public company but intentionally fails to obtain the stock in a timely fashion and fails to deliver it to the buyer.
Producer and director Kristina Leigh Copeland says illegal naked short selling creates a “false sense of reality in the whole market” because sellers are trading stock they don’t have.
“In naked short selling, that’s the thing, it’s illegal when you don’t settle it, and there’s this fine line. You can go borrow this stock. You are supposed to settle it in three days, but they are not . . . It’s not that there aren’t rules — there are rules — they aren’t being enforced,” says Copeland, who says she started making the movie a decade ago and that her goal is financial reform.
Before his death, O’Quinn filed litigation on behalf of companies and stockholders against banks that allegedly participated in naked short selling that devalued stock, says James W. “Wes” Christian, a Houston lawyer who, like O’Quinn, has filed litigation alleging abusive stock trading. O’Quinn and Christian both appear in the documentary.
Christian, a partner in Christian, Smith & Jewell in Houston, says the premier is dedicated to O’Quinn, because the founder of The O’Quinn Law Firm put his “money, and his heart and soul” into the litigation.
Copeland, owner of Brown Saddle Films, says she hopes the documentary will lead to financial reforms. “I’m hoping the film will create an awareness,” she says.
The screening of "The Wall Street Conspiracy" is at 7:30 p.m. tonight at South Texas College of Law, preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, Christian and Copeland, among others, will participate in a question-and-answer session.
The documentary, which was shown earlier this year in New York City, Greenwich, Conn., and Washington, D.C., will soon be available on digital on-demand, Copeland says.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys