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Securities class actions down 22% in 2020: Report

class action

There was a 22% decrease in the number of securities class actions filed in 2020, to 210, as the pandemic’s disruption created a “rollercoaster pace” in filings, a broker said in a report released Thursday.

While there was an average of 17.5 cases filed per month, there were 56 cases filed in the spring, 49 in the summer, 60 in the fall and 45 in the winter, according to the report by San Francisco-based Woodruff Sawyer & Co.

“This up-and-down activity appears to correlate with the spikes in coronavirus cases in June and November, which may have been affecting filing activity,” the report said.

Although the number of securities class action cases filed was down in 2020, the total was still 13% more than the 10-year average, according to the report.

The report said an additional impact of the pandemic was the number of COVID-19-related cases. It said 10% of the cases were filed against 20 companies in the health care, financial, technology and transportation sectors.

The report said the reasons for the suits were the company was impacted directly by a virus outbreak; the virus’ impact on the world’s economies directly affected the company’s immediate and/or projected financial health; the company experienced a business disruption that exposed vulnerabilities in its operations; and there was a direct involvement in virus-related matters such as the development of tests or treatments, the manufacture of virus-related products or the distribution of Payment Protection Program funds.

The report said that while COVID-19-related filing activity slowed in November, “as we enter 2021 and we continue to see the impact of the pandemic on global economies there will inevitably be more cases to come.”

The report also said that notwithstanding the plaintiff bar’s interest in pandemic-related cases, the technology and biotechnology sectors continued to account for most flings, comprising 47% of the total based on industry sector last year.






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