Trends in 2020 Securities Class Actions: Filings Decline, Dismissals Soar, and COVID-19-Related Litigation Emerges

25 January 2021

NEW YORK—NERA Economic Consulting published “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2020 Full-Year Review,” revealing the emergence of  COVID-19-related filings, an overall decline in filings, and sustained high settlement values. The 2020 edition of their annual report utilizes NERA’s proprietary database of securities class actions.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Since the first COVID-19-related lawsuit in March 2020, 32 additional filings have included COVID-19-related claims in their complaints. Nearly a quarter (24%) of these filings were against defendants in the health and technology services sector, and 21% were against defendants in the finance sector.
  • There were 326 federal securities class actions filed in 2020. This marks a 22% decline from 2019 filings.
  • For the first time in five years, complaints including an allegation related to misled future performance outnumbered claims related to accounting issues, regulatory issues, or missed earnings guidance.
  • In 2020, 320 cases were resolved, marking a slight increase from the total number of cases resolved in 2019, but remaining below the number of cases resolved in 2017 and 2018. 
  • The average settlement value in 2020 was $44 million, more than a 50% increase over the 2019 average of $28 million but still below the 2018 value.

NERA has reported on trends in securities class actions for over 25 years and is an industry leader in advising clients in the economics of securities, finance, and commerce.

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.