Are you in VIC? If not, please change below.

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

10 Largest Class Actions in the World

Many of us know the story of Erin Brockovich and the residents of Hinkley, California. Erin was instrumental in building a case against Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) on behalf of residents in Hinkley. In 1996 the case settled and at the time was the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in US history.

Hinkley may well be the most famous class action in history, but there have been others since. Today we explore the 10 largest class actions in the world.

  1. Enron

Investors in Enron (energy trading company) filed a class action claiming that directors had disguised losses within specially created entities and failed to disclose this in its annual reports to the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This was designed to protect the company but instead destroyed it. The case was settled in 2006 paying out US$7.2 billion (AU$9.3 billion) to investors who lost money when the company collapsed in 2001. Some of Enron’s executives also received jail time for fraud and accounting firm Arthur Andersen went into liquidation

  1. Worldcom

Investors with stocks in telecommunications company, Worldcom, claimed that the company had made improper classifications of expenses as capital costs and false revenue statements. The case was settled in 2005 and investors were awarded US$6.2 billion (AU$14.24 billion).

  1. Visa/MasterCard

Visa and MasterCard were accused by retailers in 2005 for charging excessive fees and an alleged conspiracy to fix some credit card rates. This class action was settled in 2012 with a compensation payout of US$7.2 billion (AU$9.38 billion).

  1. Tyco

Swiss Securities company Tyco and its auditing firm Price Waterhouse Coopers were accused of misleading public statements and omitted information. The case was settled in 2007 with US$3.2 billion (AU$4.3 billion). Two of the company’s executives were also jailed for fraud.

  1. Cendant Corporation

Cendant were charged with securities fraud for overstating its income and issuing false profit statements by US$500 million. In 2000, US$3.1 billion (AU$4 billion) was paid to those affected and Vice Chairman, Kirk Shelton was jailed.

  1. Nortel Networks

Two separate class action lawsuits were filed for investors who held stocks in the company. Nortel was charged for creating false information, claiming that the company was booming when it was actually plummeting. Those affected were awarded US$2.4 billion (AU$3.1 billion)

  1. Fen-Phen

Fen-Phen created a weight loss drug that was only available in clinics and online. The drug was linked to potentially fatal heart valve damage. Victims were paid a share of US$3.75 billion.

  1. Citigroup

Citigroup investors took the company to court for poorly performing mortgage-backed securities that the bank had sold during the 2008 financial crisis. Last year, Citigroup agreed to pay US$7 billion (AU$2.3 billion) to settle the class action.

  1. AOL Time Warner

The media company was sued by investors for fraud. The company disguised its poor performance by forging dozens of transactions. Investors received US$2.5 billion (AU$3.2 billion).

  1. Household International

Customer finance company, Household International, was accused of inflating their shareholder price. Consequently, the value of the company decreased and was bought by HSBC. HSBC was then responsible for paying the US$2.46 billion (AU$3.1 billion) to those effected.

 

If you have been a victim of a wrong doing, you may be eligible for compensation. If the wrong doing has affected more than one person then you may be able to join a class action.

Shine Lawyers provide legal services on a No Win No Fee basis and can help you find out if you have a claim for compensation.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: July 20, 2017.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

  • Cheryl Sayers wrote:

    Are u a class action for not payment of life insurance

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Cheryl, we don’t currently have a class action for non-payment of life insurance, but this might be something we can help you with on an individual basis. If you get in touch with our New Client Team, they will be able to get more details from you about your situation and let you know if we’re able to assist. You can find our contact details here: http://bit.ly/Shine-contact ~Steph

    Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen Potential Class Action

    Shine Lawyers is examining claims against Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen following US class actions, alleging that several vehicles have a defective timing chain, which can cause catastrophic engine failure. Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi vehicles that contain 1.8L and 2.0L TSI and TFSI EA888 engines manufactured between 2008 and 2012 are the vehicles that have been […]

    Read more

    Shine lawyers warn Apple may face class action in Australia

    After investigating the matter carefully we have formed the view at this stage that consumers would not benefit from the commencement of any proceedings against Apple in respect of this matter. We will continue to monitor the position and if the situation changes we will notify via our website. Class Actions against technology juggernaut Apple […]

    Read more

    TGA’s mesh ban welcomed but needs to go further

    Mesh victims and participants in the Shine Lawyers Johnson & Johnson mesh class action have welcomed news that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will ban the use of vaginal mesh implants for pelvic prolapse in Australia after finding that the risks outweigh the benefits. The TGA announced the decision following a review of clinical evidence […]

    Read more