Carlton Fields recently published a survey (pdf) of 368 general counsel and other in-house counsel at major companies across more than 25 industries regarding the class actions they faced in 2012 and their expectations for 2013. A number of the findings were quite interesting:

  • In-house counsel reported that their companies spent $2.1 billion on class actions in 2012, a slight decline from 2011. Per-company spending, however, varied widely, with some companies spending $100 million a year and some as little as $180,000. The per-company average was $3.19 million.
  • In 2012, the typical class action cost $671,100 annually, a 14% drop from the $776,500 spent per case annually in 2011.
  • Half of major companies currently face one or more class actions. On average, companies were targeted by 5.1 class actions in 2012, a 16% increase from the 4.4 class actions per company in 2011. But survey respondents expect to face an average of only 4.6 class actions in 2013.
  • Consumer-fraud and labor-and-employment class actions account for more than half of all class actions. Other types of class actions included securities (10%), product liability (9%), antitrust (7%), and intellectual property (1%).
  • In 2013, in-house counsel expect to face many new consumer-fraud class actions, with allegations involving data security, food safety and labeling, and wireless and other technologies.
  • In addition, 9% of companies are expecting health-care class actions, and 6% expect environmental class actions.