Largely as a result of a slowdown in new filings during the fourth quarter, 2012 securities class action lawsuit filings were below the filing levels of recent years and below historical averages. Filing levels remained elevated in the natural resources, life sciences and computer services industries, and filings against non-U.S. companies, though off from 2011 record levels, remained above historical levels.
There were 156 new securities class action lawsuit filings during 2012. (Please see the comment below regarding my counting methodology.) The 2012 filing count is down from the 188 securities suits filed in 2011 and is well below the 1996-2011 annual average of 193.
The drop in 2012 filings is largely due to the decline in filings during the fourth quarter. There were 45, 45 and 41 filings during the first, second and third quarters, respectively. However, in the fourth quarter there were only 25 new securities class action lawsuit filings. The 66 new filings during the second half represented the lowest filing level for any half-yearly period since the first half of 2007, when 69 new securities suits were filed. (The lowest half-yearly filing period since 1996 was the second half of 2006, when there were only 55 new securities class action lawsuit filings. )
The 156 securities class action lawsuits filed during 2012 were filed in 45 different federal district courts, as well as two state courts. (The '33 Act provides for concurrent state court jurisdiction for liability actions under the Act.) Though securities suits were filed in many different courts, there was a significant concentration of filings of new securities suits in the Southern District of New York. There were 43 new securities suits filed in the S.D.N.Y., representing 27.56% of all 2012 filings. Other courts with significant concentrations of new securities suits included the Northern District of California and the Southern District of California, each of which had 13 new filings during 2012; the District of Massachusetts (8); the Northern District of Illinois (7); and the District of New Jersey (6). Filings in the S.D.N.Y., N.D. Cal., and S.D. Cal. together accounted for over 44% of all of the 2012 securities suit filings.
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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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