The Past Year Marked the Most Extensive Set of Billion-Dollar Class Action Settlements in the History of the American Court System
CHICAGO, January 4, 2023—Duane Morris LLP has released its Class Action Review 2023, an analysis of 537 class action decisions in 2022, examining all categories of class action litigation. This one-of-a-kind publication provides a comprehensive analysis of class action litigation trends and significant rulings and settlements from 2022 that will enable readers to make informed decisions when dealing with complex litigation risks in 2023.
“2022 was a year of massive class action settlements like nothing we have ever seen before,” said Duane Morris partner Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., co-author of the review and chair of the firm’s workplace class action division. “With a certification conversion success rate of nearly 77% for the plaintiff’s bar and a tsunami of privacy claims coming down the track for 2023, companies need to redouble their compliance and risk mitigation efforts to address class action litigation risks and take the necessary planning, preparation and decision-making steps to position themselves to withstand and defend class action exposures.” Added Jennifer A. Riley, Duane Morris partner and co-author of the review, “We take that job for our clients seriously and that’s why we’ve created this unique resource to help corporate America plan for any and all threats to its reputation and bottom line.”
“Strategically, Duane Morris has been investing significantly in our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group in 2022 and we have added to our platform with marquee talent like Jerry Maatman and Jennifer Riley. While we have long excelled in the defense of class action matters, this year we have optimized our resources for client success,” said Duane Morris Chairman and CEO Matthew A. Taylor. “We are incredibly proud to introduce the Duane Morris Class Action Review, which is the definitive guide for understanding the complexities of this type of litigation.”
Maatman spearheaded the publication, which reflects his thought leadership over the past two decades in all types of class action litigation. A Chambers-recognized defense litigator, Maatman has defended some of the largest workplace class actions ever filed in the United States.
Among the 10 overarching trends in the class action area in 2022, the Duane Morris Class Action Review highlights three key takeaways for companies in 2023, including:
- Class action settlements in 2022 redistributed wealth at an unprecedented level—Aside from the Big Tobacco settlements nearly two decades ago, 2022 marked the most extensive set of billion-dollar class action settlements in the history of the American court system, with 15 class actions that resolved cases for $1 billion or more in settlements. Many of these settlements arose from opioid litigation against the pharmaceutical industry. Much like the era of Big Tobacco settlements that transformed that industry, the opioid settlements are transforming the pharmaceutical industry and its distribution chain. Contributing to the social inflation underling class action litigation, the 2022 results are apt to drive the price of settlements even higher in 2023.
- Privacy class actions became an intense focus of the plaintiffs’ class action bar—Privacy litigation, in a multitude of forms and theories, revealed itself as the hottest area of growth in terms of activity by the plaintiffs’ class action bar. The Illinois Biometric Privacy Act continued to drive lawsuits in that state. Additionally, a new wave of wiretapping violation lawsuits targeted companies that use technologies to track user activity on their websites, based on the theory that such practices violate electronic interception provisions of various state laws when done without consent. And while Congress has refrained from addressing data privacy through federal legislation, many states have enacted their own laws. Last year saw significant state legislative activity regarding data privacy, with five states preparing for new privacy laws to take effect in 2023, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia. Companies can expect an exponential increase in these types of class actions in 2023.
- The likelihood of class certification in 2022 was as strong as ever—In 2022, the plaintiffs’ class action bar succeeded in certifying class actions at a rate of 77% across all areas of class actions filed against corporate America. The plaintiffs’ class action bar obtained some of the highest rates of certification success in securities fraud, ERISA, WARN and FLSA lawsuits. Wage-and-hour class and collective actions saw the most certification rulings and courts considered more motions for certification in FLSA matters than in any other substantive area. As success in certification motions drives risk and often leads to settlements, these statistics on certification conversion rates portend more class action filings in 2023.
At 456 pages, the Duane Morris Class Action Review is available in hard copy book format and as a fully searchable e-book. The e-book can be ordered at https://emarketing.duanemorris.com/44/2813/landing-pages/order-form.asp.
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