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Settlements Explode to All-Time High: Seyfarth’s 14th Annual Workplace Class Action Report Details Historic Explosion with Billions in Settlements and Four Key Trends in Workplace Class Action Litigation for 2018

01/10/2018

CHICAGO (January 10, 2018) – Seyfarth Shaw LLP has released its 14th annual edition of the Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, which is recognized as the nation’s most complete guide to workplace-related complex litigation. In this year’s Report, Seyfarth analyzed a record number of 1,408 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis to capture key themes from 2017 and emerging litigation trends facing U.S. companies in 2018.

Described as the “definitive source of information on employment class action litigation” and a resource that “no practitioner who deals with employment claims. . . should be without” by EPLiC Magazine, Seyfarth’s Report is the sole compendium in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to workplace class action litigation. In its largest edition to date, the 885-page Report is the “go to” research and resource guide for businesses and their corporate counsel facing complex litigation in the coming year.

“When one delves into the most striking aspects of this year’s class action litigation in state and federal courts, the growth in wage and hour settlements, which have risen the past two years to a combined value of 1.2 billion dollars, is the number one exposure for corporations heading into 2018,” said Seyfarth partner and author of the Report, Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. “The twists and turns of the transition in the White House also created one of the most surprising and dramatic spikes in government enforcement litigation that we’ve ever seen.”

Building on these class action litigation developments, the Seyfarth Report details the four key employment litigation trends for corporations in 2018:

  1. Settlements Skyrocket: The monetary value of the top workplace class action settlements shot up nearly $1 billion dollars, rising by over $970 million to reach an all-time record high of $2.72 billion in 2017.
  2. Employers Continue to Improve Batting Average in Defeating Class Certification: Evolving case law precedents and new defense approaches resulted in better statistical outcomes for employers in opposing class certification requests for the second straight year. In one of the most active categories, wage & hour litigation, employers won 63% of decertification rulings, a success rate up nearly 20% from 2016.
  3. Government Enforcement Litigation Ballooned: With the federal government in transition with a new Administration, 2017 results were heavily influenced by Obama Administration holdover policies and personnel as government enforcement litigation increased. EEOC filings more than doubled, rising to 184 lawsuits in 2017 from 86 the previous year, while the top government settlements spiked nearly ten-fold -- from $52.3 million in 2016 to $485.25 million in 2017. This balloon is expected to burst in 2018 as the Trump Administration settles in further, pulling back these policies and positions; yet, at the same time, it is expected that the private plaintiffs’ class action bar will step up their lawsuit filings and “fill the void.”
  4. U.S. Supreme Court Poised to Reshape Employment and Class Action Landscape: After issuing several key decisions in 2017 that were arguably more pro-business and pro-employer than in the past, the Supreme Court could profoundly change the class action playing field in 2018 with its highly anticipated ruling on the legality of workplace arbitration agreements with class action waivers.

To view additional videos, charts and data from the Workplace Class Action Litigation Report please visit www.workplaceclassactionreport.com, where you may also request a copy. Available as a downloadable eBook, the Seyfarth Report is fully searchable, compatible with all major devices, allows readers to bookmark useful sections for easy future reference, and includes a number of other features, such as note-taking, highlighting and more.

About Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Shaw has more than 850 attorneys in 15 offices providing a broad range of legal services in the areas of labor and employment, employee benefits, litigation, corporate and real estate. Seyfarth’s clients include over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies and reflect virtually every industry and segment of the economy. A recognized leader in delivering value and innovation for legal services, Seyfarth has earned numerous accolades from a variety of highly respected industry associations, consulting firms and media.

Contacts:

Brian Kiefer, Director of Public Relations (312) 460-6401, bkiefer@seyfarth.com

Martin Grego, Public Relations Manager (312) 460-6659, mgrego@seyfarth.com