In its latest annual report, ISS Securities Class Action Services reports that in 2021 the Robbins Geller law firm, for the second year in a row, secured the highest dollar value in securities class action lawsuit settlements during the year and also was involved in the highest number of separate settlements. The report, which includes both U.S. and Canadian settlements, ranks the top 50 plaintiffs law firms by total dollar value recoveries and the Top Ten plaintiffs law firms ranked by number of settlements achieved. The March 4, 2022 ISS SCAS report, which is entitled “The Top 50 of 2021” and was co-authored by ISS SCAS’s Jeff Lubitz and Lloyd Flores, can be found here.


In preparing the 2021 report, ISS SCAS reviewed 127 North American securities class action settlements (121 in the U.S. and six in Canada) that received final court approval in 2021. The 127 settlements totaled $3.55 million (up from $3.38 in 2020).


The largest 2021 settlements included one settlement in excess of $1 billion (the $1.21 billion settlement in the Valeant Pharmaceuticals International case) and four in excess of $100 million (Snap, Inc.: $187.5 million; DaVita, Inc.: $135 million; Allergan plc: $130 million; and GCI Liberty $110 million). The largest Canadian settlement was in the CannTrust Holdings, Inc. case, which settled for USD$98.437 million (inclusive of both U.S. and Canadian settlement amounts).


From the settlement data, the report creates lists of the top 50 plaintiffs’ law firms ranked by dollar value of approved class action settlements during 2021 in which the law firm was appointed as lead or co-lead counsel. The report also lists the top ten law firms based on the number of settlements achieved in 2021.


In ranking the plaintiffs’ securities firms in terms of the aggregate settlement amounts achieved during 2021, the Robbins Geller law firm ranks first with $1,896,337,500 in total settlement funds. Robbins Geller’s total was significantly boosted by the sole 2021 settlement over $ 1 billion, the $1.21 billion settlement in the Valeant case. Robbins Geller was also the only plaintiffs’ firm to secure a settlement over $1 billion in 2020 (the American Realty Capital Partners case).


The Bernstein Litowitz firm ranked second in terms of aggregate 2021 securities lawsuit settlements, with $594,560,000 in total settlement funds, including two actions that exceeded the $100 million threshold (Allergan: $130 million; GCI Liberty: $110 million). The Kessler Topaz law firm ranking third in aggregate 2021 settlement values of $438,937,500.


A total of seven law firms were credited with aggregate 2021 settlement amounts over $100 million. (Note: The report credits law firms that served as lead or co-lead counsel a case with the entire settlement fund, regardless of how many other firms served as lead or co-lead counsel in the case.)


The tenth firm in the list of plaintiffs’ firms ranked by aggregate 2021 settlement values is The Rosen Law Firm, which had $75.5 million in settlement funds. The report ranks 50 plaintiffs’ firms by aggregate 2021 settlement amounts. To make the Top 50 list, a plaintiffs’ firm needed to have 2021 aggregate settlements of over $4.5 million.


In addition to ranking the plaintiffs’ firms by 2021 aggregate settlement values, the report also ranks the plaintiffs’ firms by the number of settlements. The top firm ranked by number of 2021 settlements is also the Robbins Geller law firm, which had 21 settlements during the year. After the top slot, the list of firms ranked by the number of settlements looks quite a bit different than the list of firms ranked by aggregate settlement values. The plaintiffs’ firm with the second highest number of 2021 settlements was The Rosen Law Firm, with 20 settlements, followed by the Pomerantz firm with 12 settlements and the Bernstein Litowitz firm with 11 settlements.


The report also looked ahead to the 2022 settlements, anticipating that by year end many previously announced settlements will receive court approval this year. These anticipated 2022 settlements include the $420 million Teva Pharmaceutical settlement; the $175 million Luckin Coffee settlement; the $129 million Granite Construction settlement; and the $100 million settlement.


In addition to these settlements that have final court approval hearings already scheduled in 2022, there are a number of other large pending settlements that do not yet have court hearings scheduled, including the $809.5 million Twitter settlement; the $100 million Novo Nordisk settlement; and the $100 million NCI Building Systems case.