According to the latest annual report from ISS Securities Class Action Services, there were two securities class action settlements in 2021 that were large enough to make the firm’s list of the Top 100 U.S. Securities Class Action settlements. These two settlements took place in a year in which there were a total of 116 approved monetary securities class action settlements totaling $3.51 billion. The details of the settlements included the two largest during 2021 can be found in the ISS SCAS report entitled “The Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All-Time,” here.
As noted, there were 116 approved monetary securities class action settlements in 2021 totaling $3.51 billion. The 2021 total represented a 7.6 percent increase over the $3.26 billion in 2020. Of the 116 settlements, 91 involved federal securities lawsuits amounting to $3.06 billion, and 25 involved state court securities lawsuits and totaling $453.1 million.
Two of the 2021 settlements were large enough to qualify for ISS SCAS’s list of the Top 100 securities class action lawsuit settlements of all time: Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., $1.21 billion, which is the 9th largest of all time; and Snap, Inc. $187.5 million (inclusive of both federal and state settlements), which is the 97th largest settlement.
Both of the two largest 2021 settlements involved complaints alleging violation of Rule 10b-5. The two largest settlements taken collectively total over $1.39 billion, representing 40 of the total value of the 2021 securities class action lawsuit settlements.
With the addition of the Valeant Pharmaceuticals International settlement to the Top 100 list, there are now a total of 16 securities class action lawsuit settlement over the $1 billion threshold. At the other end of the spectrum, in order for any future settlement to make the Top 100 list, it would have to exceed $175 million.
With respect to the two largest securities class action settlements in 2021, lead counsel in the Valeant Pharmaceuticals International case was the Robbins, Geller, Rudman & Dowd law firm, and lead counsel in the Snap settlement was Kessler, Topaz, Meltzer & Cheek, with co-lead counsel of the Robbins Geller firm; Bottini & Bottini; and Block & Leviton.
In terms of the lead counsel most frequently represented on the Top 100 list, the top firms appearing as lead or co-lead counsel among the Top 100 settlements are: the Bernstein Litowitz law firm, with 37 settlements among the Top 100 totaling $26.2 billion; the Robbins Geller law firm, with 20 settlements among the Top 100, totaling $17.7 billion; the Milberg law firm, with 13 settlements totaling $9.35 billion and the Labaton Sucharow law firm, with 12 settlements totaling $5.093 billion; and.
Among the Top 100 securities class action settlements, 91% had an institutional lead plaintiff. The top lead institutional investor plaintiff in terms of the number of settlements on the Top 100 list is the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, which was lead on eight settlements on the list, totaling $5.59 billion. The top lead institutional investor plaintiff in terms of the amount of settlement recoveries from among the top 100 settlements is the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which was lead plaintiff on five of the Top 100 representing a total of $11.2 billion in settlements.
Of the top 100 settlements, 37 have involved restatements, while 63 have not involved restatements. However, the restatement cases are among the very largest. Of the top 15 settlements on the list, 11 involved restatements, as well as 16 of the 20 largest. The $1.21 billion Valeant Pharmaceuticals International settlement, which was the largest 2021 settlement and the 9th largest all-time, did not involve a restatement.
There have already been several significant settlements that appear positioned for court approval in 2022, including Twitter ($809.5 million); Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($420 million); Luckin Coffee ($175 million); Granite Construction ($129 million); Novo Nordisk A/S ($100 million); Stamps.com ($100 million) and NCI Building Systems, Inc. ($100 million). Both the Twitter and Teva settlements are large enough that, if approved, would enter the Top 100 list.