Update: The full-year review, which includes December 2012 statistics, is available here.
The Steady Stream of Filings Has Continued Throughout 2012
The steady stream of federal securities class actions has continued unabated throughout 2012.  Through the end of November, 195 securities class actions were filed in federal courts—a pace that, if continued through December, would lead to a total of 213 cases for the full year. (See Figure 1.) This would put 2012 filings just slightly below their average rate over the previous five years.
It is noteworthy that this level of filings has been maintained even though cases related to the credit crisis, which had been prominent in recent years, have all but ended.  For example, of the 208 filings in 2009, 59 were related to the credit crisis; by contrast, only four cases of the 195 filed through November of this year involved such allegations. While the decline in credit crisis cases itself is not surprising, it is notable that this decline has not translated into an overall decline in federal filings. The average number of federal filings in 2005-2006, just before the crisis hit, was only 160. One might have expected the rate of filings to return to this lower level after the wave of credit crisis cases subsided, but that has not happened: the plaintiffs’ bar has found new causes of action, with merger objection cases picking up much of the slack.