Lex Machina’s First Annual Securities Litigation Year in Review Report Reveals 23 Percent Increase in Case Filings in 2016

  • Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs are among top defendants; Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse were subject to the most damages in cases terminating between 2009 and 2016.
  • Approved class action settlements netted more than $32.5 billion in damages in cases terminating between 2009 and 2016
  • Southern District of New York has seen 25% of all securities cases filed since 2009, more than the next four largest districts combined, and 13 of the top 15 securities judges sit in S.D.N.Y.

Menlo Park, CA, March 16, 2017 – Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company and creator of the award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, today released findings from its first annual Securities Litigation Year in Review report. The report examines key insights, findings and trends in securities litigation from 2009 through 2016, gleaned from quantitative data about federal U.S. District Court cases. Lex Machina executives will review and discuss the findings in a live webinar today.

The report dives deep into the details of securities litigation to provide readers with critical insights on top plaintiffs, defendants, law firms, judges, and districts, as well as case timing and damages awarded. It also highlights several types of securities cases tagged by Lex Machina, including: Securities Fraud (§ 10(b) / 10b-5), CFTC Enforcement, SEC Enforcement Contested, SEC Enforcement Settled Complaint, and Shareholder Derivative Suits. With securities cases broken down into these types, practitioners can focus searches on the cases and data that matter – excluding other case types that could skew the results – and base their strategic legal and business decisions on the most accurate, relevant data.

“Regardless of which side of a complaint one finds oneself on, understanding the data behind the business of securities litigation has become indispensable for attorneys to assess strategic opportunities and risk, and to budgeting accordingly,” said Owen Byrd, chief evangelist and general counsel of Lex Machina. “Data from the Securities Litigation Year in Review report can give practitioners an edge at all stages of  litigation, whether they are assessing top parties and firms for business development or outside counsel selection, performing jurisdictional analysis, making decisions related to case timing, analyzing defenses used, looking at breakdowns of findings and resolutions, or reviewing damages awarded.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • In 2016, 1,144 securities cases were filed – a 23% increase over 2015 (935 cases)
    • Annual case filings have declined slightly since 2009, when 1,456 cases were filed
  • The Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.) saw 2,214 case filings between 2009 and 2016, or 25% of all securities litigation cases filed in that period – more than the next four largest districts combined
    • The next two top districts are the Central District of California (703 cases) and the Northern District of California (605 cases)
  • Of the 15 most active securities judges, all sit in S.D.N.Y. except Judge David Godbey (Northern District of Texas; ranked 6th) and Judge Keith Ellison (Southern District of Texas; ranked 11th)
    • Judge Jed Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) had the most cases filed since 2009 (110 cases)
  • The SEC is the top plaintiff in 2009–2016 securities litigation by a large margin (1,761 cases), followed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC; 297 cases)
    • Exchange Act violations are most common (1,584 cases), followed by Securities Act violations (997 cases)
  • The top defendants are Citigroup Global Markets (296 cases), Merrill Lynch (279 cases) and Goldman, Sachs & Co (259 cases)
    • Parties subject to the most damages include Goldman Sachs & Co ($5.5 billion, of which $535 million consists of disgorgement damages), Morgan Stanley & Co. ($5 billion), and Credit Suisse ($5 billion)
  • Approved class action settlements accounted for more than $32.5 billion in damages awarded in cases terminating in 2009 through 2016
    • Disgorgement damages (rescinding profits made from the violation) accounted for nearly $13.3 billion, while SEC and CFTC penalties totaled nearly $6.5 billion

“Lex Machina’s Securities Litigation Year in Review is the only report of its kind, based on the most up-to-date and accurate securities litigation data available,” said Brian Howard, legal data scientist and author of the report. “Lex Machina leverages proprietary technology to clean up, correct, and classify the raw PACER data, so that our customers gain the best legal insights possible.”

The report data was compiled using Lex Machina’s award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, which is used by many of the top law firms in the U.S., as well as major corporations such as Microsoft, Samsung, Nike, Sandoz, and eBay. Armed with the report, securities attorneys can make better strategic decisions related to forum planning based on detailed analyses of districts and judges. They can also make sound budgeting decisions using historical data about the timing of trials and injunctions, and identify top parties and firms to inform marketing strategies and outside counsel selection.

Lex Machina will host a webcast today covering the highlights of the report. To register for the live event, please visit:  http://pages.lexmachina.com/Webcast_Securities-Report-316_LP—Social.html

To request a copy of the full report please register here: http://pages.lexmachina.com/Email_SecuritiesReport2017_LPRequests.html

About Lex Machina
Lex Machina’s award-winning Legal Analytics® platform is a new category of legal technology that fundamentally changes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. Delivered as Software-as a-Service, Lex Machina provides strategic insights on judges, lawyers, parties, and more, mined from millions of pages of legal information. This allows law firms and companies to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.

Lex Machina was named “Best Legal Analytics” by readers of The Recorder in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and received the “Best New Product of the Year” award in 2015 from the American Association of Law Libraries.

Based in Silicon Valley, Lex Machina is part of LexisNexis, a leading information provider and a pioneer in delivering trusted legal content and insights through innovative research and productivity solutions, supporting the needs of legal professionals at every step of their workflow. By harnessing the power of Big Data, LexisNexis provides legal professionals with essential information and insights derived from an unmatched collection of legal and news content—fueling productivity, confidence, and better outcomes. For more information, please visit www.lexmachina.com.