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Days in court on the rise

Survey finds a surge in spending on legal services related to class-action lawsuits.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. July 24, 2020
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As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, filings of class-action lawsuits are expected to rise sharply, according to the most recent edition of an annual survey conducted by Carlton Fields, a national law firm with an office in Tampa. 

Already, some 560 class-action matters had been filed by the end of May, the firm says in a press release. Spending on legal services related to class-action suits had been on the rise for the past five years as well, and the trend is expected to continue unabated as the coronavirus pandemic fundamentally alters the way many companies operate. 

“The unprecedented COVID-19 health and economic crisis has resulted in immediate and lasting changes to business practices nationwide,” states Julianna Thomas McCabe, who chairs Carlton Fields' national class actions practice, in the release. “The stakes continue to be high. In-house legal departments should have their action plans in place to preempt and defend against class actions. It is critical to analyze changes in business practices caused by COVID-19 and to adhere to existing best practices and regulatory compliance.”

The survey, the release states, is based on interviews with general counsel, chief legal officers and direct reports to general counsel at more than 400 Fortune 1000 and other large companies across a variety of industries. Participating companies have an average annual revenue of $21.8 billion and median annual revenue of $6.7 billion. 

Some of the survey’s key findings include:

  • Insurance class actions rose to 10.7% of matters and 14% of spending from 2018 to 2019; 
  • Labor and employment accounts for more than 25% of class action matters and spending;
  • The percentage of companies predicting data privacy and security as the next wave of class actions increased from 54.3% to 58.2%;
  • Cases and spending in consumer fraud decreased by 8% from 2018 to 2019. 

To view the complete findings of the survey, visit:


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