Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions: 2009 Update

Wed Jan 27 15:24:00 EST 2010
By Bradley Heys and Mark L. Berenblut

Securities class action filings in Canada for 2009 remained above historical average filings, according to this newly released edition of NERA's study, Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions, co-authored by Vice President Bradley Heys and Affiliated Consultant Mark Berenblut. While securities class action litigation is still in its infancy in Canada, the maturation of this type of litigation continued during 2009, the authors note. 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.

Perhaps most notable in 2009, 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.