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14 January 2019 at 18:09 BST

The billion dollar plus rise and fall of employment litigation

Workplace class action report charts billion dollar plus stunning rise and fall in settlement values, as Supreme Court's Rulings take centre stage.


Settlement values collapsed despite other trends driving up the number of employment cases in litigation, according to the Seyfarth Shaw LLP has released its 15th annual edition of the Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, which is recognized as the nation’s most complete guide to workplace-related complex litigation.

Unprecedented attention

In its largest edition ever, running to 852-pages, Seyfarth analyzed a record number of 1,453 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis to capture key themes from 2018 and emerging litigation trends facing U.S. companies in 2019. ‘Fueled by the Supreme Court’s key rulings this year and the ‘Me Too’ movement, employment litigation generated unprecedented attention in 2018, unlike anything we have studied or seen in our report’s 15-year history,’ said Seyfarth partner and author of the report, Gerald L. Maatman Jr. However, he noted ‘overall, we saw a surprisingly sharp drop in settlement values this past year. Combined with the Supreme Court’s decision to grant employers their most powerful tool in decades to limit class action exposure in the Epic Systems ruling, 2019 presents several new dynamics for employers to navigate as we continue to keep a close watch on the shifting priorities of the White House as well.’

Five trends

The report details five key employment litigation trends for corporations in 2019: the Supreme Court takes centre stage with key opinions; government enforcement litigation rose again following a three-year high despite settlement payouts dropping sharply; plaintiffs’ win percentage reached a record level last year; settlement values collapsed; and, the ‘Me Too’ movement received the first annual look at how it is gaining momentum in workplace litigation. The full report can be seen here.


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