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U.S. Securities Class-Action Settlements Up 39 Percent

Publication Date: 
March 24, 2010
Jonathan Stempel

Professor Joseph Grundfest, director of the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, is quoted in Reuters on the increase in U.S. securities class action settlements in 2009:

Settlements of U.S. class-action securities lawsuits rose 39 percent in 2009, and the amounts could rise further as cases stemming from the financial crisis work their way through the courts.

There were 103 settlements totaling $3.83 billion last year, up from 97 settlements totaling $2.75 billion in 2008, according to a study set for release on Wednesday by Stanford Law School and Cornerstone Research.

Two settlements accounted for 39 percent of last year's total: $925.5 million paid by UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) over the backdating of stock options, and $586 million to end eight years of litigation against hundreds of defendants over initial public offerings.

The median accord was unchanged from 2008, at $8 million.

Joseph Grundfest, director of Stanford Law School's Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, said recoveries tended to be higher when large public pension funds led lawsuits, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pursued related civil charges, or accounting violations were alleged.