The number of securities suits filed in 2008 increased to 210, an uptick of 19% over 2007. The Cornerstone has, as usual, published an analysis of the data. The D&0 Diary has a great post on the data.
We offer only one observation. Although an increase, the number represents something around average for the new millenium (an average computed without 2001 since the 498 number was aberrationally high). What is remarkable is not the increase but the exceedingly modest nature of the overall number given the subprime crisis and the stock market collapse. (Remember the urban legend that securities cases are based not on evidence of fraud but drops in share prices?).
Indeed, as a study of securities class actions at the six month mark noted, "51% of the filings made in 2008 since June 30 have been "related to the sub prime collapse." In fact, this is likely a result of the constant efforts to restrict securities law suits, whether the PSLRA or the Supreme Court in Stoneridge. Although the howls of complaint about excessive litigation have died down recently, in fact there is little real evidence of an excessive litigation problem, something supported rather than contradicted by the data from 2008.