Federal Stockholders' Lawsuits Fall 24 Percent
The latest available data from the federal courts show that during September 2015 the government reported 26 new stockholders' suits civil filings. While this monthly figure represents an increase from the number reported in July, the fiscal year closed out with a total of 242 such suits, which — despite some month-to-month variablility — is down considerably from activity in past years.
In fact, when FY 2015 civil filings of this type are compared with the previous fiscal year, their number was down nearly a quarter, or 24.1 percent. Compared with five years ago, the data show that civil filings of this type are down 38.3 percent from levels reported in FY 2010 (see Table 1).
The comparisons of the number of civil filings for stockholders' lawsuits are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.
The long term trend in civil filings for these matters going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of stockholders' lawsuits recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out.
Figure 1. Stockholders' Lawsuits Filed Over the Past Five Years
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
Understandably, there is great variation in the number of stockholders' lawsuits filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
In seven out of ten suits filed during FY 2015, the federal district courts had jurisdiction because of diversity — that is, the parties involved were from different districts. In the remainder of these suits, a federal question gave the federal court jurisdiction over the case.
Out of all 94 federal judicial districts, 54 districts had at least one stockholders' lawsuit filed during FY 2015. Table 2 lists the number of stockholders' lawsuits in each of these 54 districts, along with the rate of such suits relative to population.
The Southern District of New York — with 37 civil filings — was the most active district during FY 2015. It also had the highest ratio of suits filed relative to its population.
The Northern District of California ranked second with 16 civil suits, followed closely by Nevada (15) and the Eastern District of Virginia (14).
Each month, TRAC offers a free report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction via the TRAC Data Interpreter.