The number of securities litigation cases nearly doubled in
the third quarter of 2003 compared to the same period during the previous year
and remains well above historical averages, according PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The 69 cases marked the highest total for a quarter in the
23 quarters since records began in 1998.
In a press release, the company said it was “shocked” by the
increase and that it indicated “some kind of fundamental shift in securities
The study also showed that the 175 cases filed this year
through Oct. 24 already matches last year’s total of 175 cases filed for the
entire year. If the pace continues, the company said the total number of
securities cases filed this year will exceed 210.
“Shareholder litigation appears to be on the rise for a
number of reasons,” said Charles Hacker, Investigations and Forensic Services
partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Although we continue to see litigation across
all industries, there has been a significant rise in the number of foreign
companies sued, and a resurgence in the number of cases against computer
software, hardware and services companies. In an environment of heightened
[regulatory] activism, these factors and the continuing prevalence of
accounting-related and ‘pharmaceutical efficacy’ cases have helped to produce a
record volume of litigation this quarter.”