I am interested in links to scholarly papers with actual comprehensive and preferably up-to-date statistics. I have done some search on Google Scholar but failed to find wide-ranging surveys (the ones I found were either very old (1980) or narrow, dealing with security class action suits (from 2002)).

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    I spent a few minutes searching on Westlaw without success. As you may know, one common benchmark is to allocate 25% of the fund as attorney fees. E.g. Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1029 (9th Cir. 1998). The other 75% can be significantly diluted, especially in smaller actions, by litigation expenses, class representative payouts, and distribution to public agencies. The lowest proposed settlement I've seen allocated 25% to the class members. Jun 3, 2015 at 17:59
  • @ChristianConkle - could be an answer, I'd guess. Jun 18, 2015 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


Although it's difficult to find exact numbers on class action settlements, there are some studies that suggest that the settlements are often of little value to plaintiffs.

A Mayer-Brown paper was only able to obtain data on six settlements - in these cases, claims rates were 0.000006%, 0.33%, 1.5%, 9.66% and 12%.

The same paper found that in one case of an $8 million settlement fund made available to 13,500 members, counsel received $5.5 million.

Appendices A and B of this paper provide further examples where class action settlements are either a negligible amount, or benefited a negligible number of class members.

Although the scope of this paper is somewhat narrow, its findings suggest that it is representative of many class actions.

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