Financial-crisis-related class-action lawsuits declined last year, according to a new study.

The total number of federal class-action lawsuits fell to 155 in 2009 from 210 in 2008, while a total of 51 financial-crisis-related filings were made during 2009, compared to 99 in 2008, according to the annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Securities Litigation Study.

A total of 93 settlements were made in 2009, compared to 95 in 2008. Total settlement value in 2009 was $3.1 billion, compared to $3.9 billion in 2008 — a decrease of 21 percent. The average settlement value in 2009 was 20 percent lower than the average settlement amount in 2008.  Nine settlements in 2009 exceeded $100 million, compared to seven in 2008.

Also in 2009, the percentage of accounting-related cases fell to an all-time low since the passage of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Accounting-related cases represented 37 percent of total federal filings in 2009, compared to the 41 percent noted in 2008 and an average of 59 percent since the passage of the PSLRA.

Accounting-related settlements in dollar terms continued to outpace non-accounting-related settlements in 2009 by 69 percent, however. Total accounting-related settlements amounted to $2.3 billion in 2009, representing 74 percent of the year's total settlement value.

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