DMCAR 2023 Trend # 1 – Class Action Settlements In 2022 Redistributed Wealth At An Unprecedented Level Video

By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. and Jennifer A. Riley

Duane Morris Takeaway: In today’s video blog, Duane Morris partner Jerry Maatman discusses how the aggregate monetary value of class action settlements exploded to an all-time high in 2022, as plaintiffs’ lawyers and government enforcement agencies monetarized their claims into enormous settlement values. In 2022, the plaintiffs’ bar was successful in converting case filings into significant settlement numbers at higher levels than any recent year. Tune in below to hear all about this 2022:



DMCAR 2023: Trend # 1 – Class Action Settlements In 2022 Redistributed Wealth At An Unprecedented Level

By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. and Jennifer A. Riley

Duane Morris Takeaway: As authors and editors of our firm’s our Class Action Review, we identified ten (10) key trends in class action litigation over the past year. Trend # 1 focuses on the unprecedented number of massive class action settlements reached in the last 12 months. 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.

 In 2022, there were 15 class actions that resolved cases for $1 billion or more in settlements.

In the aggregate, the value of these settlements totaled $63.66 billion. The members of the billion-dollar settlement club include the following:

The largest 20 settlements during 2022 included the following:

Many of these settlements arose from opioid litigation against the pharmaceutical industry.

On an aggregate basis, class actions and government enforcement lawsuits against opioid manufactures, retailers, and distributors garnered more than $50 billion in settlements.

Much like the era of Big Tobacco settlements that transformed that industry, the opioid settlements are transforming the pharmaceutical industry and its distribution chain.

When the final tally is completed over the next several years, the aggregate settlements may top $100 billion.

These settlements have redistributed wealth at an unprecedented rate.

The plaintiffs’ class action bar scored rich settlements in virtually every area of class action litigation. The following provides the overall total of the top 10 most lucrative settlements in each of these areas:

$50.32 billion – Products liability class actions and mass tort
$8.596 billion – Consumer fraud class actions
$3.729 billion – Antitrust class actions
$3.254 billion – Securities fraud class actions
$1.31 billion – Civil Rights class actions
$896.7 million – Privacy class actions
$597 million – Employment discrimination class actions
$574.55 million – Wage & hour class and collective actions
$404.5 million – Government enforcement actions
$399.6 million – ERISA class actions
$719.21 million – Data breach class actions
$210.11 million – Fair Credit Reporting Act class actions

Suffice to say, 2022 was unlike any other year on the class action settlement front. As success often begets copy-cats, corporations can expect the plaintiffs’ class action bar will be equally if not more aggressive in their case filings and settlement positions in 2023.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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