The number of federal securities class-action lawsuits filed in the first three quarters of 2009 has fallen 25 percent compared to the same period in 2008, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PwC identified 113 cases filed through Sept. 30, 2009, an average of 38 per quarter. If a similar trend continues, the total number of cases for 2009 may only reach the number of cases filed through the first three quarters of 2008.

However, while the number of financial-crisis-related cases filed has decreased from those filed in 2008, the percentage of these cases compared to the total number of cases filed remains consistent with 2008, with 44 percent in 2009 and 47 percent in 2008. The report shows an increase of financial-crisis-related filings involving Ponzi schemes, representing approximately 28 percent of such filings.  

The financial services industry experienced the greatest number of class-action suits, with 52 cases filed, followed by the high-technology and pharmaceutical industries, with a combined total of 29 cases filed. During the third quarter, there was a sharp increase in the number of cases filed in the health care industry. Six cases were filed during the first half of the year, and 13 cases were filed in the third quarter.

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