Largely as a result of a flood of M&A related lawsuits, there were a significant number of new securities class action lawsuits filed in the first quarter of 2011, and even factoring out the M&A lawsuits, the first three months of the year still represented an active period for securities lawsuit filings.
Taking the merger objection suits into account, there were a total of 55 new securities class action lawsuits filed in the first quarter. That would imply an annualized rate of 220 securities suits for the year, which would be well above both the 176 filed in 2010 and the 1996-2009 annual average of 195 filings. However, the rash of merger suits filed during the first quarter does complicate the numeric analysis, as the changing mix of cases may make the year to year measures somewhat of an apples- to-oranges comparison.
There were 20 federal court merger objection lawsuits in the first quarter. (There were even more state court merger objection lawsuits, as discussed further below.) Subtracting the federal court merger objection lawsuits from the first quarter securities class action lawsuit filing tally would reduce the number of first quarter filings from 55 to 35, which would be idenitcal to the 35 new securities suits filed in the first quarter of 2010. Obviously, the process of determining what to include in the lawsuit count has a huge impact on the ultimate tally. I have further observations about "counting" the securities suit filings below.
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Read other items of interest from the world of directors & officers liability, with occasional commentary, at the D&O Diary, a blog by Kevin LaCroix.
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