In its latest annual report, ISS Securities Class Action Services reports that in 2022, for the third year in a row, the Robbins Geller law firm secured the highest dollar value in securities class action lawsuit settlements during the year and was also 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 February 28, 2023, report, which is entitled “The Top 50 of 2022” and was written by Jeff Lubitz, Managing Director, ISS Securities Class Action Services, can be found here.

In preparing the 2022 report, ISS SCAS reviewed 143 North American securities class action settlements (141 in the U.S. and two in Canada) that received final court approval in 2022. The 143 settlements totaled $4.87 billion in settlement funds (up 37.2% from $3.55 in 2021). The 143 settlements include only securities suit settlements and does not include ERISA, derivative lawsuit, or antitrust litigation settlements. The list of 143 settlements does not include six additional settlements that resulted in no settlement fund.

The top five 2022 North American settlements included Twitter ($809.5 million); Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. ($420 million); Luckin Coffee, Inc. ($175 million); BlackBerry Ltd. ($165 million); and NovaStar Mortgage ($165 million). The largest Canadian settlement in 2022 was in the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) case, which settled for CAD$125 million (USD$ 97.9 million).

Based on the settlement data, the report identifies the top 50 plaintiffs’ law firms ranked by dollar value of approved class action settlements during 2022 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 2022.

In terms of the aggregate settlement amounts achieved during 2022, the Robbins Geller law firm ranks first with $1,750,080,874 in total settlement funds. Robbins Geller’s total was significantly boosted by its role in the Twitter case (which, as noted above, settled for over $800 million), the largest settlement finalized in 2022. 2022 is the third year in a row in which the Robbins Geller law firm surpassed $1 billion in settlements and in which it secured the largest settlement during the year – in 2020, it was the American Realty Capital Properties case ($1.025 billion) and in 2021 it was the Valeant Pharmaceuticals settlement ($1.21 billion).

For the third year in a row the Bernstein Litowitz law firm ranked second in terms of the total value of settlement amounts, with a 2022 aggregate total of $920.65 million in total settlement funds. During 2022, the Bernstein Litowitz firm was lead or co-lead counsel in cases with settlements over $100 million: the Luckin Coffee settlement ($175 million) and the Novo Nordisk settlement ($100 million). The Motley Rice law firm was third on the list of firms ranked by total settlement value, with $809 million. (The Motley Rice firm was co-counsel on the Twitter case, the year’s largest settlement.)

A total of fourteen law firms were credited with aggregate 2022 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.) To make the Top 50 list, a plaintiffs’ firm needed to have 2022 aggregate settlements of over $9.2 million.

In addition to ranking the plaintiffs’ firms by 2022 aggregate settlement values, the report also ranks the plaintiffs’ firms by the number of settlements. The top firm ranked by number of 2022 settlements is also the Robbins Geller law firm, which had 27 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 2022 settlements was The Rosen Law Firm, with 19 settlements, followed by the Bernstein Litowitz firm and the Pomerantz law firm, both with 18 settlements.

The report also looked ahead to the 2023 settlements, anticipating that by year end many previously announced settlements will receive court approval. These include previously announced settlements in the Dell Technologies case ($1 billion); McKesson ($141 million); and Newell Brands ($102.5 million).

In addition to these settlements that have final court approval hearings already scheduled in 2023, there are a number of other large pending settlements that do not yet have court hearings scheduled, including the settlements in Wells Fargo ($300 million), and Micro Focus International ($107.5 million).