In one of the largest shareholder derivative lawsuit settlements ever, the parties to the consolidated Wells Fargo derivative suit arising out of the bank’s phony customer account scandal have agreed to settle the case for a variety of cash and non-cash benefits with a stated value to the company of $320 million, inclusive of a cash payment of $240 million. The $240 million cash portion of the settlement is to be paid by the bank’s D&O insurers, in what is, according to the plaintiffs’ counsel, “the largest insurer-funded cash component of any shareholder derivative settlement in history.” This settlement represents the latest in a series of derivative suit settlements with a significant cash component, a case resolution pattern in high-profile derivative suits that arguably represents the new normal in the world of D&O liability exposures.
Continue Reading Massive Settlement in Wells Fargo Bogus Account Scandal Derivative Suit

cornerstoneOne of the more interesting story lines in the world of securities class action litigation over the past several years has been the rise of class settlement opt outs, whereby various claimants representing significant shareholder ownership interests select out of the class suit and separately pursue their own claims – and settlements. The class action opt-out litigation emerged as a significant phenomenon in the litigation arising out of the era of corporate scandals a decade ago. In an October 6, 2016 report entitled “Opt-Out Cases in Securities Class Action Settlements” (here), Cornerstone Research and Latham & Watkins LLP take a look what the statistics show about securities class action opt-outs. This recent report updates the findings in their 2013 study, based on updated data reflecting case settlements during the period 2012 to 2014. Cornerstone Research’s October 6, 2016 press release regarding the report can be found here.
Continue Reading Securities Class Action Settlement Opt-Outs: Statistics and Trends

cornerstone reserach pdfThe number of securities class action lawsuit filings raising accounting-related allegations rose in 2015, as did the number and value of accounting-related securities suit settlements, according to a new report from Cornerstone Research. In addition to the increase in the number of accounted-related lawsuit filings, the market capitalization losses associated with those new filings increased as well. The April 19, 2016 report, entitled “Accounting Class Action Filings and Settlements: 2015 Review and Analysis,” can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s April 19, 2016 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Accounting-Related Securities Suit Filings and Settlements Increase

pwc3Largely as a result of the number of suits filed against smaller companies, the number of securities class action lawsuits filed in 2015 increased for the third year in a row, to the highest level since 2008, according to a new report from PwC. The April 2016 report, entitled “Small Companies, Big Targets: 2015 Securities Litigation Study,” can be found here. The numbers in the PwC report differ slightly from the figures reported in previously released annual securities class action litigation studies by Cornerstone Research (here) and NERA Economic Consulting (here), but the reports are directionally consistent. My own analysis of the 2015 securities litigation filings can be found here.
Continue Reading PwC Report: Surge of Suits Involving Smaller Companies Drove 2015 Securities Suit Filing Increase

cornerstone reserach pdfAggregate and average securities class action lawsuit settlements increased significantly in 2015 compared to the year before, according to the latest annual report from Cornerstone Research. Among reasons for the increase in aggregate settlement amounts is the increase in the absolute number of settlements during the year. The increase in the average settlement amount is largely attributable to an increase in the number of “mega” settlements. While overall and average settlement amounts increased during the year, the number of smaller settlements also increased, and median settlement amounts held steady. The Cornerstone Research report, entitled “Securities Class Action Settlements: 2015 Review and Analysis,” can be found here. Cornerstone Research’s March 29, 2016 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading Cornerstone Research: Aggregate and Average Securities Suit Settlements Surged in 2015

NERA1Securities class action lawsuit filings in 2015 were at their highest level since 2008, according to the latest annual report from NERA Economic Consulting. The report also states that not only as the number of lawsuits filed increased in 2015, but the rate of lawsuit filings relative to the number of publicly traded companies has also increased compared to historic levels as well. The report entitled “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2015 Full-Year Review,” can be found here. NERA’s January 25, 2016 press release describing the report can be found here. My own analysis of the 2015 securities class action filings can be found here
Continue Reading NERA Report: 2015 Securities Class Action Filings at Highest Level Since 2008

dukeenergyOne of the hot topics in the world of corporate and securities litigation in recent years has been the rise of M&A-related litigation. Among the many themes that are part of the discussion of this topic has been the fact that the M&A lawsuits often settle for the defendant company’s agreement to additional disclosures about the merger, with no cash payment to shareholders. The disclosure-only settlements continue to be a concern, but at the same time there recently have been a number of merger-related lawsuit settlements in which there has been very significant cash components.
Continue Reading In Latest Jumbo Merger Suit Settlement, Duke Energy Agrees to Pay $146 Million to Settle Suit Over “Boardroom Coup” Following Progress Energy Merger

NERAThe number of securities class action filings in 2014 was level with recent years’ filings but the number and dollar value of settlements during the year plunged, according to the latest annual report from NERA Economic Consulting. This year’s report is quite detailed and contains a number of new analyses of lawsuit filings and case

gavelOne of the great litigation curses in recent times in the corporate litigation arena has been the rise of merger objection litigation. These kinds of lawsuits, which these days arise in connection with almost every M&A transaction, often are settled for nothing more than an agreement to make additional disclosures and to pay the

Securities class action lawsuit filings “saw a small increase” during 2013, while securities class action settlements reflected a dynamic in which “large settlements got larger and smaller settlements got smaller” during the year, according to the annual report from NERA Economic Consulting. The January 21, 2014 report, entitled “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: