Class Actions UP; Costs of Class Actions DOWN

Corporate Counsel has a good piece (subscription required) on the recent rise in class action lawsuits over the past two years but the curious reduction in the costs of defending class actions during that same period of time.  The focus of the article is a 2013 Carlton Fields Class Action survey.  The key quote includes these interesting metrics:

The second annual survey polled 368 legal executives from 342 companies with median annual revenues of $3.8 billion. About half of the respondents said they deal with class action lawsuits. Among those who do handle class actions, they saw their load increase from an average of 4.4 class actions in 2011 to 5.1 class actions in 2012. Accordingly, their overall spending on class actions increased by $300,000 on average, from $2.91 million to $3.19 million.

Yet, at the same time, legal departments achieved a 13.6 percent reduction in costs per suit, from $776,500 in 2011 to $671,100 in 2012. In last year’s survey, respondents said they were aiming for a 17 percent reduction in class action spend for 2012.

“Per class action, they’re spending less—and that is exactly in line with what they said they were hoping to do when we surveyed them last year,” says Chris Coutroulis, who chairs the firm’s litigation council.

The article includes tips on managing class action costs.