Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2018 Full-Year Review

Tue Jan 29 05:00:00 UTC 2019
Stefan Boettrich and Svetlana Starykh

In the latest edition of NERA’s annual study, “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2018 Full-Year Review,” we examine trends in securities class action filings and resolutions in the 2018 calendar year. New findings discussed in this year’s report include a surge in the size of new cases and an uptick in litigation against firms in the technology sector.

Highlights of the 2018 report include:

  • 441 new securities class actions were filed in US federal courts in 2018, the highest number of filings since the aftermath of the 2000 dot-com crash.
  • In total, 351 securities class actions were resolved in 2018, the second consecutive year in which a record number of cases concluded.
  • In 2018, the average settlement rebounded to $69 million from a near-record low in 2017, largely due to the $3 billion settlement involving Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.—Petrobras, the fifth-highest settlement ever.
  • The median settlement in 2018, $13 million, was more than twice that of 2017, primarily due to higher settlements of many moderately sized cases and, generally, fewer very small settlements.
  • Aggregate NERA-defined Investor Losses, a measure of total case size, came to a record $939 billion, nearly four times the preceding five-year average.
  • In 2018, aggregate plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and expenses were $790 million, about 70% higher than in 2017.

This year’s report builds on our work in analyzing trends in securities class actions for more than 25 years, and underscores NERA’s commitment to offering advice in the economics of securities, finance, and commerce.

Additional recent court citations of NERA’s “Recent Trends” publications:

  • US Supreme Court in California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc., 137 S. Ct. 2042 (2017).
  • Rudman v. CHC Grp. Ltd., No. 15-CV-3773 (LAK), 2018
  • Howard v. Liquidity Servs., No. 14-1183 (BAH), 2018
  • Beaver County Employees’ Retirement Fund v. Tile Shop Holdings, Inc. No. 0: 14-cv-00786-ADM-TNL (D. Minn. June 14, 2017).
  • In Re Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. Securities Litigation, Civil Action No. 3: 14-CV-3799 (D.N.J. Nov. 15, 2016).
  • New York State Teachers’ Retirement System v. General Motors Company, Civil Case No. 14-11191 (E.D. Mich. May 19, 2016).
  • Phillips v. Triad Guaranty Inc., No. 1: 09CV71 (M.D.N.C. May 9, 2016).
  • Medoff v. CVS Caremark Corp., Civil No. 09-cv-554-JNL (D.R.I. Feb. 17, 2016).
  • Destefano v. Zynga, Inc., No. 12-cv-04007-JSC (N.D. Cal. Feb. 11, 2016).
  • In Re Viropharma Inc. Securities Litigation, Civil Action No. 12-2714 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 25, 2016).
  • In Re Vivendi Universal, S.A. Securities Litig., 123 F. Supp. 3d 424 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 11, 2015).
  • In Re Indymac Mortgage-Backed Securities Lit., 94 F. Supp. 3d 517 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2015).