Class action securities lawsuits are one method of resolving claims of securities fraud. By the numbers, there were a total of 170 class action securities fraud lawsuits filed in 2014, while 166 were filed in 2013. The total amount of losses that were claimed due to securities fraud for 2014, or Maximum Dollar Loss (MDL), was $215 billion. Securities fraud litigation is designed to protect victims and the process as a whole to ensure fairness and fair dealing.
In addition, there were two, what are considered, mega MDL filings of $10 million or greater, in 2014. Both filings were in oil and gas industries. Of U.S. exchange-listed companies, 3.6 percent were involved in lawsuit filings during 2014. In 2013, 3.4 percent of exchange-listed companies in the U.S. were subject to filings.
Some trends revealed themselves in 2014, including the increase in filings in the category that includes biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. In addition, filings against energy companies increased during the fourth quarter of 2014, as oil and gas prices dropped. Filings against foreign issuers of securities also increased in 2014.
Although there has been some decrease in filings, each filing and each dollar lost represents what an investor may have lost in essential savings, retirement or both. As it is important for victims of securities fraud to understand the legal rights, remedies and resources that may be able to help them, it is also important for companies facing securities fraud claims to understand how to defend against those claims and the legal options companies may have in such circumstances.