Back in January, NERA Economic Consulting published yet another interesting paper, entitled Dynamic Litigation Analysis: Predicting Securities Class Action Settlements as a Case Evolves, by Dr. Ronald Miller.

Using the data NERA has collected on securities class actions over 20 years, Dr. Miller comes to some interesting conclusions about motions practice in securities cases. Most notably:

  • Few securities class actions are resolved at the summary judgment stage.
  • The filing of a motion to dismiss has little effect on settlement value of securities cases, but the granting of dismissal can reduce the value of a settlement by up to 40%. (Why not 100%? Presumably because class actions that settle after a successful motion to dismiss involved multiple lawsuits, or some other threat of recurrent litigation.)
  • The resolution of a motion for class certification (either pro or con) does not have a statistically significant effect on settlement value, but the mere filing of the certification motion drives up settlement value by about 33%.

These findings reinforce an intuition (backed by experience) that many securities class action lawyers share: unlike in other class actions where certification is the real battle, in securities class actions, the real fight is the motion to dismiss.