Securities Class Action Filings: The Numbers

Another report on securities fraud class action activity has revealed a sharp drop in the number of securities class action lawsuit filings in 2009 compared to 2008. According to the annual report prepared by the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse and Cornerstone Research, a total of 169 federal securities class actions were filed in 2009, a 24 percent decline from 223 in 2008, and 14 percent below the average of 197 filings observed between 1997 and 2008. Litigation activity related to the credit crisis declined even more markedly from 100 filings in 2008 to only 53 in 2009, a 47 percent decrease. Only 17 of those filings occurred in the second half of 2009. “As predicted in last year’s report, the rate of litigation overall and particularly against financial firms declined from the financial crisis-fueled levels observed in 2008. Plaintiffs simply ran out of financial firms to sue, and the rising stock market made it harder for plaintiffs to assert claims,† said Stanford law school professor Joseph Grundfest. Just last month NERA Economic Consulting issued a report also revealing a decline in credit crisis-related suits, but showing a higher overall lawsuit count than the Stanford study. Over at the D&O Diary blog, Kevin LaCroix offers some thoughts about the differences in the numbers between the two reports. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal law blog ponders whether the golden era of securities class-action suits is coming to an end.

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