Top 100 List Now Includes Petrobras, Wells Fargo, Allergan & Wilmington Trust Settlements

ROCKVILLE, Md. (February 11, 2019) – Of the 100 largest U.S. class action settlements approved since passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, four were approved in 2018, according to a new report released today by Securities Class Action Services LLC, a subsidiary of Institutional Shareholder Services.

Collectively, in calendar year 2018 $5.82 billion in settlement funds were approved for distribution. While the count of settlements dropped by 23 percent to 126 from 163 in 2017, total settlement dollars were 164 percent higher than the prior year. Of the 126 settlements, 94 occurred in Federal Court while 32 occurred in a state court. Not surprisingly, the most frequent Federal Court was the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with 20 settlements totaling $3.35 billion, while the most frequent state court was the Delaware Court of Chancery with 13 settlements totaling $231.3 million.

Interestingly, Petrobras, the largest settlement of 2018, becomes the largest non-U.S. company to settle within the U.S. court system (eligible shareholders were holders of the company’s ADRs). Lead plaintiffs for this case included the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii; Universities Superannuation Scheme, Ltd; and the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer. Pomerantz LLP, now with two cases within the Top 100, was sole lead counsel. In January 2018, parties in the Petrobras case entered an agreement to settle, which was later finalized in USDC – New York (Southern) in July 2018. At $3 billion, the Petrobras settlement now stands as the fifth highest within the Top 100.

“Not only was 2018 a significant year with $5.8 billion in settlement dollars, but we also saw a record number of newly filed cases within U.S. courts,” said Jeff Lubitz, Head of ISS Securities Class Action Services. “Furthermore, the entire global securities market in 2018 produced billions more for investors as non-traditional antitrust settlements totaled an additional $4 billion and non-U.S. class & group action settlements totaled close to $2 billion.”

The Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements Annual report identifies the largest securities class action settlements filed in the U.S. after the passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, ranked by total value of the settlement fund. Charts and graphs break down the data by settlements represented by institutional lead plaintiff, institutional lead plaintiff participation, most frequent lead counsel, lead counsel participation, most frequent claims administrator, claims administrator participation, restatements, and the number of settlements that were added to ISS Securities Class Action Services’ top 50 SEC disgorgements.

To download a copy of the report and for further information on ISS’ Securities Class Action Services division, please visit us at:

Editors: Please note that any citation of statistics contained within the report should be attributed, in full, to “ISS Securities Class Action Services.”

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