2004 PWC Securities Litigation Study

The 2004 Securities Litigation Study from PricewaterhouseCoopers contains a number of interesting statistics. A few highlights:

(1) Securities class actions were filed against 29 foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges. This is the highest number of cases against foreign companies ever filed in one year.

(2) Securities class actions alleging accounting-related securities fraud versus securities class actions alleging non-accounting-related securities fraud divided roughly 60/40 percent. This has been a relatively constant statistic since the passage of the PSLRA.

(3) Public retirement and investment funds and other institutional entities comprised 47 percent of the lead plaintiffs in all securities class actions filed through June 30, 2004. This compares to 41 percent of all cases with such lead plaintiffs in 2003 and 51 percent in 2002.

Quote of note: “Exactly what 2004 securities litigation statistics, trends and events are telling us is that the future will be more challenging. Look for steady, or somewhat increasing, trends in the number of private securities litigation class actions and regulatory enforcement actions on average over the next several years. Expect continuing significant increases in the dollar-values of private securities class action settlements of the average, median, and ‘high-dollar’ values of settled cases for years to come. Contemplate the knock-on effects of Sarbanes-Oxley, increased regulatory enforcement actions, and enhanced vigilance by independent auditors (regarding accounting irregularities and financial frauds), and expect a significant increase in ‘Section 10A’ matters, SEC (and other regulators) investigations, and internal corporate investigations leading to more restatements, more regulatory enforcement actions, and more private securities litigation. And, assume that a few bad management of a number of some publicly-listed companies will continue to try to game the system and securities markets.”

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