Using a sample of all companies named as defendants in securities class actions between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2008, we study parallel suits relying on state corporate law arising out of the same allegations as the securities class actions. We test several ways that parallel suits may add value to a securities class action. Most parallel suits target cases involving obvious indicia of wrongdoing. Moreover, we find that although a modest percentage of parallel suits are filed first, over 80 percent are filed after a securities class action (termed “follow-on” parallel suits). We find that parallel suits and, in particular, follow-on parallel suits sometimes target individual officers not already named as defendants in the securities class action. Suing more officers, however, does not positively correlate with an increase in settlement incidence, monetary recovery amounts, or attorney fees. Parallel suits sometimes result in settlements when the corresponding class action is dismissed; however, only rarely do the parallel suit settlements provide monetary recovery for investors. We find that follow-on parallel suits often result in nonmonetary, corporate governance settlements, particularly for frequent-filing plaintiffs’ attorneys. Corporate governance settlements correlate with significantly lower attorney hours and attorney fees for the plaintiffs’ attorneys. We conclude that such settlements are used to justify fees in cases in which there is no monetary recovery.
Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, & A. C. Pritchard, Piling On? An Empirical Study of Parallel Derivative Suits, 14 J. of Empirical Legal Stud. 653–682 (2017).