The 2021 Carlton Fields Class Action Survey reveals a spike in class action spending, with U.S. companies spending a total of $2.9 billion in 2020 defending class action lawsuits. Spending is expected to rise more this year, amid a wave of pandemic disputes and data breach litigation. Along with a rise in costs, class action suits have become increasingly high-risk for organizations. Companies reported that of the class action suits they faced in 2020, 34.3% were high-risk or “bet-the-company” situations. The survey findings were covered in news outlets including Bloomberg Law, Corporate Counsel, Global Legal Post, Law360, PropertyCasualty360, and the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The 2021 Carlton Fields Class Action Survey summarizes recent developments and details best practices in class action management. This year’s 10th anniversary edition of the survey draws on 415 interviews of general and senior in-house counsel at companies with median annual revenues of $7.1 billion across a wide range of industries. The data collected presents a snapshot of the ways in which leading corporate legal departments identify, measure, and manage class action risk.
Additional highlights include:
- More companies reported facing class actions than in any prior year of the survey, and a substantial increase in the number of class action matters is expected in 2021.
- The percentage of class actions that companies classify as having lower exposure decreased to the lowest point since 2015, while the percentage of companies facing bet-the-company class actions — and the number of bet-the-company matters — nearly doubled.
- By April 30, 2021, more than 1,600 COVID-19-related class actions had been filed, and many companies have changed one or more business practices to address issues related to the pandemic.
- Despite the current wave of pandemic-based claims, most companies predict an influx of data privacy and security matters on the horizon as a result of recently enacted or forthcoming state privacy statutes.
- More companies, nearly 75 percent, now include class action waivers in contractual arbitration clauses.
- Companies report on their newest initiatives for managing class actions.
To download a copy of the report, visit ClassActionSurvey.com.