NERA Economic Consulting Releases Canadian Securities Class Action Trends Report

27 January 2010

Toronto -- Securities class action filings in Canada for 2009 remained above historical average filings, according to Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions: 2009 Update, released today by NERA Economic Consulting.

Eight securities class actions were filed in 2009, compared with the 10 filings in 2008. While filings are lower this year, they are still higher than any other year since class action legislation was first enacted in Canada.

Settlement values for securities class actions in 2009 were significantly lower than in 2008, with six cases settled in 2009 for approximately $55 million in total payments versus eight cases for approximately $890 million in total payments in 2008. The average settlement for 2009 was $9.1 million and the median settlement was $9.2 million.

"While securities class action litigation is still in its infancy in Canada, the maturation of this type of litigation continued during 2009," said Mark Berenblut, NERA Senior Vice President and Trends co-author. "Most notable this year, because of their potential impact on future trends in Canadian securities class actions, are the decisions of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certifying three securities class actions, and the decision in IMAX granting leave for the plaintiffs to pursue claims under Part XXIII.1 of the Ontario Securities Act -- the first such ruling on an application to proceed with claims under the new secondary market liability provisions of the provincial Securities Acts."

Trends

Additional key findings from the report are:

  • There are now more than $14.7 billion in outstanding plaintiffs' claims in Canadian securities class actions.
  • A record six new cases were filed in 2009 involving allegations of misrepresentations and/or omissions by issuers, including claims brought under the new continuous disclosure provisions.
  • Notably in 2009, there is a complete absence of new securities class actions filings related to the credit crisis. The authors believe the lack of this type of filings is likely a reflection of the relatively smaller impact of the credit crisis on the Canadian financial system as compared to that in the United States. In the US, 2009 witnessed more than 60 new filings related to the credit crisis.
  • The majority of 2009 filings were brought in relation to securities issued by companies in the minerals and financial sectors -- two cases against gold mining companies, one against a coal mining company, and three cases against issuers in the financial sector.

 

Outlook

Looking forward to 2010, the authors note that the pace of new filings may depend on many factors, possibly including any additional rulings from the courts (including any appellate decisions), the pace and extent of the economic recovery, and any changes in corporate governance practices of Canadian issuers in light of the perception of a growing threat of significant litigation.

Securities Class Action Trends Report Series

NERA has been analyzing trends in securities class actions for more than 15 years. In addition to this Canada Trends report, the firm produces two US Trends studies annually, and produced a Japan Trends report in 2009.

Mark Berenblut and Bradley Heys, co-authors of Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions: 2009 Update, are available to discuss their findings with the press.

 

About NERA

NERA Economic Consulting (www.nera.com) is a global firm of experts dedicated to applying economic, finance, and quantitative principles to complex business and legal challenges. For over half a century, NERA's economists have been creating strategies, studies, reports, expert testimony, and policy recommendations for government authorities and the world's leading law firms and corporations. We bring academic rigor, objectivity, and real world industry experience to bear on issues arising from competition, regulation, public policy, strategy, finance, and litigation.

NERA's clients value our ability to apply and communicate state-of-the-art approaches clearly and convincingly, our commitment to deliver unbiased findings, and our reputation for quality and independence. Our clients rely on the integrity and skills of our unparalleled team of economists and other experts backed by the resources and reliability of one of the world's largest economic consultancies. With its main office in New York City, NERA serves clients from more than 25 offices across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.