Report: Milberg Among Most Active Class Action Law Firms

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May 6, 2024

by Brian Eckert

Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman filed the fifth-most class action cases of any law firm in the country over the last three years, according to a new Lex Machina report, which also found that Milberg’s class action practice is the most geographically far-reaching across federal district courts, where more than 9,700 total class actions were filed in 2023.

These cases awarded more than $11 billion in damages to class members, Lex Machina data shows. A separate report from corporate defense firm Duane Morris found that 2023 produced an “unprecedented level” of class action settlements.

Lex Machina Class Action Litigation Report 2024

Legal analytics company Lex Machina released its annual Class Action Litigation Report on May 2. Focused on the three-year period from 2021 to 2023, it examines trends in the class action field, including case filings, law firms, venues, case resolutions, and damages.

During this timeframe, the ten most active law firms filed more than 90% of all class actions, with Milberg responsible for 892 filings. Milberg filed 153 cases in 2021, 319 in 2022, and 420 in 2023.

Milberg initiated 892 class actions in 75 out of the nation’s 94 federal districts, giving it the greatest geographic reach of any class action law firm.

The firm ranked fifth over the three years but last year only two firms filed more class action lawsuits than Milberg. And in terms of geographic reach, Milberg took the top spot, initiating class actions in 75 of 94 federal districts. Milberg attorneys were some of the busiest as well, ranking in the top-ten most active plaintiff’s counsel by cases in the three study years.

Other findings from the Lex Machina report include:

  • 9,705 class action cases were filed in federal district courts in 2023, down from 10,194 in 2020 but up slightly from the 9,307 class actions filed in 2022.
  • Class action filings have surged since 2014, when 6,150 cases were filed.
  • Consumer protection claims were the most common class action type from 2014 – 2023 and increased year-over-year in 2023 to 4,460 cases.
  • The most active defendants included automotive, financial, retail, and tech corporations.
  • Approved class action settlements resulted in $30.4 billion in total damages awarded from 2021 to 2023.
  • The median time to class action certification in the three-year period was 740 days, while the median time to reach a settlement was 979 days.
  • Very few class actions were resolved by trial; 94% were resolved via a settlement or on procedural grounds.

Lex Machina data expert and report editor Laura Hopkins said a key takeaway from the findings is the “high amount of damages” awarded in class action lawsuits.

Duane Morris 2024 Class Action Review

An analysis by Duane Morris of 2023 class action litigation serves as a useful companion study to the Lex Machina report.

The last two years marked the most extensive set of billion-dollar class action settlements and transfer of wealth in the history of the American court system.

Class Action Review 2024 looks at more than 1,300 class action decisions in the past year across all case categories and identifies noteworthy trends, rulings, and settlements, such as:

  • Privacy cases, including those filed under the federal Video Privacy Protection Act, the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, and other state privacy, anti-surveillance, and wiretap statutes are the hottest class action growth area.
  • Data breach class actions exploded in 2023 and are one of the fastest-growing categories.
  • Plaintiffs succeeded in certifying class actions at a rate of 72%.
  • Class actions and government enforcement lawsuits combined for more than $50 billion in settlements in 2023.
  • The top 20 class action settlements last year totaled $51.4 billion.
  • At $12.5 billion, the In Re Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation settlement ending PFAS “forever chemical” claims was the largest of 2023
  • The most lucrative class action settlements occurred in the areas of products liability, antitrust, securities fraud, consumer fraud, and discrimination.

The Duane Morris report is notable from a plaintiff’s perspective because it offers insights targeted at corporations and corporate counsel.

For example, page three of the report describes class action settlements as a “threat to businesses” that “redistribute wealth at a substantial rate.”

It also says that “2022 and 2023 marked the most extensive set of billion-dollar class action settlements and transfer of wealth in the history of the American court system.”

Such statements suggest that class action lawsuits are serving their intended function of providing a way for plaintiffs to join together, collectively enforce their rights against big companies, and return ill-gotten corporate gains to everyday Americans.

Milberg: A National Leader in Class Action Lawsuits

Milberg pioneered federal class action litigation and remains a leader in filing class action lawsuits. With locations across the country and the world, we are uniquely well-positioned to pursue legal action at scale that holds corporations accountable and provides real benefits to class members.

We recently filed a first-of-its-kind class action on behalf of Baltimore businesses economically harmed by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. To see more our latest class action filings, click here.