New York (Aug. 25, 2003) -- While the rate of securities litigation filings is down, the total value of those settlements hit $1.5 billion in the first seven months of the year and continues to rise, according to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PwC identified 60 settlements in the first seven months of 2003 with an average settlement value of $25.1 million. That compares to 107 settlements in 2002 with a total value of over $2.1 billion. The average settlement value of $19.9 million per case in 2002 was up 12 percent over the average settlement value in 2001, and up by 40 percent over the average settlement value for the years 1996 through 2000, PwC reported.

According to the report, the number of settlements over $10 million remains high. In 2002, there were a record 40 settlements of $10 million or greater. Through the first seven months of 2003, 18 cases have been settled for $10 million or more.

The rate of filings in the United States dropped about 21 percent for the seven-month period ended July 31. During that period, 111 shareholder class actions were filed, which puts total cases on track to be approximately 190 for 2003, compared to a total of 217 securities litigation cases in 2002.

Last year, 60 Fortune 500 companies were named in securities litigation cases, while only 12 Fortune 500 firms have been named so far this year. Litigation cases involving foreign companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges (“foreign registrants”) totaled seven in the first seven months of 2003. In 2002, an all-time record of 22 foreign registrants were named in class action lawsuits. More than 75 percent of the cases against foreign companies contained accounting allegations, PwC said.

-- WebCPA staff

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access