As was the case in 2017, there were relatively few larger securities class action lawsuit settlements during 2018, compared to prior years. As reported in latest large securities class action lawsuit settlement report from ISS Securities Class Action Services (ISS), there were only four settlements in 2018 that were large enough to make the list of all time large settlements; while the four settlements making the top 100 list is above the only two cases that made the list in 2017, the 2018 total was still below most years’ totals since 2008. The ISS report, entitled “The Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All Time (as of December 31, 2017)” can be found here.
The four cases that made the Top 100 list during 2018 are Petrobras, which at $3 billion was the fifth largest settlement of all time; Wells Fargo, at $480 million, the 31st largest; Allergan, $250 million, the 68th largest; and Wilmington Trust Corp., $210 million, tied for 80th largest. While there were four securities suit settlements making the top 100 list in 2018 and only two in 2017, there were as many 12 making the list in 2016. The Petrobras settlement is the largest securities class action settlement involving a non-U.S. company.
Of the Top 100 settlements, 92 percent have involved an institutional lead plaintiff, whereas only 8 percent have involved a non-institutional lead plaintiff. Of the top 100 settlements, 35 have been led in whole or in part by the Bernstein Litowitz law firm, and 17 have been lead in whole or in part by the Robbins Geller law firm (and its predecessor firm), including the largest of all time, the Enron settlement ($7.2 billion). Of the top 100 settlements, 40 have involved restatements, while 60 have not involved restatements.
There was an aggregate total of $5.84 billion of settlements approved in 2018. However the number of settlements approved in 2018 dropped compared to the year before. There were 123 settlements approved in 2018, compared to 163 in 2017, representing a decrease of 23%.