Corporate spending on class action lawsuits reached its highest level in a decade last year and is projected to rise even more in 2019, with employment and labor matters leading the way, according to the latest Carlton Fields Class Action Survey.

The results suggest that individual class actions were more complex last year. While spending increased, the number of companies facing class action litigation dropped slightly and the average number of matters per company increased by more than a full percentage point.

“Not only are companies handling a higher volume of class action matters than ever before, they are also facing higher financial exposure and growing complexity in the cases they handle,” the survey said. “Corporate counsel are bringing on additional in-house lawyers to manage growing class action workloads.”

Among the findings:

  • Companies spent $2.46 billion on class action lawsuits last year, a 10% increase;
  • 54% of companies faced class actions;
  • Labor and employment accounted for 28.7% of all class action litigation matters and 26.1% of spending,
  • Two-thirds of companies have faced at least one labor and employment class action lawsuit in the last five years;
  • Companies report that wage and hour matters are overwhelmingly their top concern in this category;
  • Cybersecurity is the fastest growing category of class action lawsuits, nearly doubling from 2017 to 2018; and
  • Nearly half of companies included class action waivers in their arbitration.

The survey is based on interviews with general counsel or senior legal officers at 395 Fortune 1000 and other large companies across a variety of industries.

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