Securities Class Action Settlements Dramatically Increase as Result of Financial Crisis
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- RiskMetrics Group (NYSE:RISK), a leading provider of risk management and corporate governance services to the global financial community, today announced it has released its Securities Class Action Services (SCAS) annual list of the top 50 plaintiffs law firms. The law firms on the SCAS 50 list are ranked by the total dollar amount of final securities class action settlements occurring in 2009 in which the firms served as lead or co-lead counsel.
RiskMetrics has published its 'SCAS 50' list for the past seven years. The list is intended to help institutional investors maximize shareholder value by highlighting those firms playing the most active role in U.S. class action cases and bringing in the most settlement dollars. SCAS maintains the industry’s most comprehensive database on securities class action litigation and provides professional monitoring and claims filing services to investment managers whose clients have a stake in class action suits.
The top five law firms on this year’s ‘SCAS 50’ list were Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, Milberg, Bernstein Liebhard, Barroway Topaz Kessler Metlzer & Check and Barrack, Rodod & Bacine.
|SCAS 50 Rank||Law Firm||Settlement Total||# of Settlements||Average|
|1||Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins||$1,580,599,000||34||$46,488,206|
|4||Barroway Topaz Kessler Metlzer & Check||$889,094,996||15||$59,273,000|
|5||Barrack, Rodod & Bacine||$887,250,000||6||$143,916,667|
"Coughlin Stoia led in our overall rankings with $1.5 billion in total settlements," said Adam Savett, Head of RiskMetrics Group’s Securities Class Action Services. "As expected, securities litigation settlements have dramatically increased over the past year. Seventeen firms broke the $100 million barrier, and last year's leading firm would have just barely broken into the top ten this year."
"This year marks the return of the 'mega-settlement'," added Savett. "In 2009, we tracked 15 settlements of more than $100 million, up from 5 last year."
Bernstein Liebhard achieved the highest average settlement amount among law firms, averaging $254 million in its four settlements. The average settlement amount is an important indicator of which law firms are consistently bringing and settling high-impact cases. The most active firm regarding the number of settlements was Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins with 34 settlements, leading all firms with respect to the total number of final settlements.
|Rank||SCAS 50 Rank||Law Firm|
|# of Settlements||Average|
|2||11||Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz||$593,249,996||3||$197,749,999|
|4||14||Berger & Montague||$508,050,000||3||$169,350,000|
|5||10||Stull Stull & Brody||$669,774,996||4||$167,443,749|
*Firms had to have a minimum of 3 settlements.
Nearly 500 financial institutions utilize the SCAS database or complete claims filing solution to fulfill their fiduciary duty to file claims in class action settlements on behalf of their investment clients. With over 19 years of history and more than 6,000 cases tracked, the SCAS database also serves as an important compliance tool for asset managers to perform this critical fiduciary responsibility. Additionally, many of the law firms included in the SCAS 50 utilize the database to monitor class action suits and gain access to important claims and settlement information.
For a copy of the full SCAS 50 report for 2009, including a description of the methodology used to prepare the report, please visit: www.riskmetrics.com/white_papers/scas50_2009.
About RiskMetrics Group
RiskMetrics Group is a leading provider of risk management and corporate governance products and services to participants in the global financial markets. By bringing transparency, expertise and access to the financial markets, RiskMetrics Group helps investors better understand and manage the risks associated with their financial holdings. Our solutions address a broad spectrum of risk across our clients' financial assets. Headquartered in New York with 20 global offices, RiskMetrics Group services some of the most prestigious institutions and corporations worldwide. To learn more about RiskMetrics Group, please visit: www.riskmetrics.com.
Source: RiskMetrics Group