More plaintiffs opting out of securities class action settlements

By James Langton | September 25, 2019 | Last updated on September 25, 2019
1 min read

Plaintiffs are increasingly opting out of securities class action settlements, according to a new report from New York’s Cornerstone Research.

The report found that from 2014 to 2018, at least one plaintiff opted out of class action settlements in 8.9% of cases, which is more than double the proportion of opt-outs (3.4%) prior to 2014.

Plaintiffs typically opt out of a settlement to pursue their own lawsuit.

Additionally, the research, which covers 1,775 class action settlements from 1996 to 2018, found that opt-outs are more likely in cases that involve larger settlements.

For instance, in settlements of less than $20 million, just 2.1% of cases saw plaintiffs opting out; over the $20 million mark, more than a quarter (28%) of cases had opt-outs.

The four cases with settlements exceeding $500 million between 2014 and 2018 all saw opt-outs too.

Cornerstone Research said that its research validates the sense that opt-outs have increased in recent years.

“Over recent years, anecdotal conversations revealed an expectation that opt-outs would increase. The data now show that this is, in fact, the trend,” said Brendan Rudolph, principal with Cornerstone Research.

Institutional investors, such as mutual funds, hedge funds and other investment managers, accounted for almost half of the opt-outs between 2014 and 2018 (15 of 34), with pension funds opting out in four cases.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.