In-house counsel note class action trends

Posted on: May 29th, 2013 by Steve Larson
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Law and justice concept, gavelCarlton Fields recently published a survey of 368 general counsel and other in-house counsel at major companies across more than 25 industries regarding the class actions they faced in 2012 and their expectations for 2013. 

A number of the findings were quite interesting: 

 

  • In-house counsel reported that their companies spent $2.1 billion on class actions in 2012, a slight decline from 2011. Per company spending, however, varied widely, with some companies spending $100 million a year and some as little as $180,000. The per company average was $3.19 million.
  • In 2012, the typical class action cost $671,100 annually, a 14% drop from the $776,500 spent per case annually in 2011.
  • Half of major companies currently face one or more class actions. On average, companies were targeted by 5.1 class actions in 2012, a 16% increase from the 4.4 class actions per company in 2011. But survey respondents expect to face an average of only 4.6 class actions in 2013.
  • Consumer fraud and labor-and-employment class actions account for more than half of all class actions. Other types of class actions included securities (10%), product liability (9%), antitrust (7%), and intellectual property (1%).
  • In 2013, in-house counsel expect to face many new consumer fraud class actions, with allegations involving data security, food safety and labeling, and wireless and other technologies.
  • In addition, 9% of companies are expecting healthcare class actions, and 6% expect environmental class actions.