As previously reported (here), 2019 was a relatively slow year for securities class action lawsuit settlements compared to 2018. However, there were a number of significant securities lawsuit recoveries and the total recoveries in the aggregate were for at least some law firms quite substantial. In a March 11, 2020 report entitled “The Top 50 of 2019,” ISS Securities Class Action Services sets out a list of the top 50 law firms  — ranked by total cash amount and by number of cash settlements – with respect to final securities class action lawsuit settlements in 2019 in North America (inclusive of both the U.S. and Canada). ISS’s report can be found here.
Continue Reading ISS Ranks 2019 Top Plaintiffs’ Securities Class Action Firms

As I have noted in a number of posts (most recently here), the size of securities class action settlements rose significantly in 2018 compared to recent years. But what do the 2018 securities class action settlements look like when broken down according to the lead plaintiffs’ firm involved in the settlement? That is the question answered in a recent report from ISS Securities Class Action Services. The April 3, 2019 report, entitled “The Top 50 of 2018” takes a look at the top 50 plaintiffs’ firms ranked by aggregate size and number of settlements can be found here.  
Continue Reading Plaintiffs’ Firms Ranked by Total 2018 Securities Suit Settlement Size and Number

As I have previously noted (for example here), a number of reports have analyzed the 2017 approved securities class action lawsuit settlements in statistical and numeric terms, such as the aggregate, average, and mean settlement amounts. But what do the 2017 securities suit settlements look like when broken down according to the lead plaintiffs’ firm that negotiated the settlement? An April 4, 2018 study from ISS Securities Class Action Services entitled “The Top 50 of 2017” (here) takes a look at this issue and reports some interesting conclusions, discussed below. The organization’s April 4, 2018 press release can be found here.
Continue Reading Ranking the Plaintiffs’ Firms by 2017 Shareholder Recoveries

The extraordinary levels of securities litigation filings during 2017 have been the subject of numerous commentaries, including on this blog. In a March 19, 2018 post on The CLS Blue Sky Blog, Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee adds his observations to the discussion about the 2017 securities suit filings. In his article, entitled “Securities Litigation in 2017: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times” (here), Coffee’s commentary about last year’s securities suit filings is consistent with prior reports and analyses. One specific aspect of his commentary – relating to the phenomenon of event-driven securities litigation – is particularly noteworthy, as discussed below.
Continue Reading Scrutinizing Event-Driven Securities Litigation  

In a series of rulings culminating in the January 2016 decision in Trulia (about which refer here), Delaware’s courts have evinced their hostility to the kind of disclosure-only settlement in which merger objection suits are frequently resolved. Since that time, plaintiffs’ lawyers increasingly have filed merger-objection lawsuits outside of Delaware, either in federal court or courts in other states. The question since then has been whether other jurisdictions’ courts would follow Delaware’s courts’ lead in rejecting disclosure-only settlements. Many courts have followed Delaware, but others have followed a different path. In particular, New York, in an intermediate appellate court decision in Gordon v. Verizon (about which refer here), set a lower standard than Delaware’s courts for accepting disclosure-only settlements.

However, the apparently more lenient New York standard did not stop New York Supreme Court Judge Shirley Werner Kornreich from rejecting a proposed disclosure-only settlement of a lawsuit challenging Martin Marietta’s 2014 acquisition of Texas Industries. In a scathing February 8, 2018 opinion (here), Judge Kornreich rejected the proposed settlement as “utterly useless to shareholders.” Her opinion shows that even under New York’s seemingly more lax standard, disclosure only settlements could face significant scrutiny and could be rejected where the additional disclosures do not provide benefits to shareholders.
Continue Reading New York Court Rejects “Utterly Useless” Disclosure-Only Merger Objection Suit Settlement

gavelOver the last several days, Doug Greene of the Lane Powell law firm has been running a series of articles on his D&O Discourse blog asking the question “Who is Winning the Class Action War?” In the aggregate, the multi-part series provides an interesting commentary on the current state of securities class action litigation in the United States. The articles in the series are thought-provoking and provocative — apparently deliberately so — and I commend them to readers for the perspective they provide on the current state of play in securities litigation, from the outlook of an experienced defense-side securities class action litigator.

Based on my own varied experiences, I have my own perspective on some of the topics Greene discusses in his articles, which I have set out below. I want to emphasize at the outset that I am neither entirely disagreeing with nor entirely agreeing with Greene’s analysis and conclusions. I offer my thoughts here for whatever they may be worth, as part of the dialogue that Greene’s articles undoubtedly will provoke.
Continue Reading Commentary on “Winning the Securities Class Action War”

globeAs I noted in my recent round up of current trends in the world of D&O, one of the most important recent developments in the D&O claims arena has been the rise of collective investor actions outside of the U.S.  I amplified on this theme in a Q&A that I also recently published on this site.  In a recent blog post, Columbia Law Professor John Coffee underscored the recent significant rise in collective investor actions in Europe and Asia. In a September 19, 2016 post on the CLS Blue Sky Blog entitled “The Globalization of Securities Litigation” (here), Professor Coffee details how entrepreneurial U.S.-based plaintiffs’ law firms have managed to circumvent apparent local obstacles and succeed in pursuing collective investor actions even in otherwise inhospitable legal environments. As I have previously noted and as I discuss further below, the rise of collective investor actions outside the U.S. is one of the most significant recent developments in the global D&O claims arena.
Continue Reading The Global Rise in Collective Investor Actions

slaterandgordonIn May 2007, Sydney-based plaintiffs’ law firm Slater & Gordon listed its shares on the Australian Stock Exchange, becoming the world’s first publicly traded law firm. On its website, the firm touts its “outstanding record” in class actions and group actions. As the firm’s website also highlights, the firm has been an active in pursuing securities class action lawsuits in Australia. More recently, however, the firm has recently experienced some financial turbulence, as a result of which its share price has plunged.  Now, in a twist that can only be called ironic, the firm may be facing a class action lawsuit of its own.
Continue Reading Publicly Traded Australian Plaintiffs’ Securities Law Firm Slater & Gordon Faces Possible Securities Suit

filings piileIt is now well-established that pretty much every M&A deal attracts at least one lawsuit from a shareholder objecting to the transaction. According to research by Notre Dame business professor Matthew Cain and Ohio State law professor Steven Davidoff, 97.3% of all takeovers in 2013 with a value of over $100 million experienced at least

texas naoIn an opinion reflecting her concerns about the role of the lead plaintiff’s law firm as well as concerns about the predominance of common issues among the proposed class members’ claims, a federal district court judge has denied the plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a lawsuit filed under the Securities Act of 1933. The