Have you ever wondered what the top lawsuit settlements have been to date? In terms of sheer monetary value? We reviewed this list of settlements from RankRED’s November 15, 2017 article. The impetus behind many settlements that made the top 14 list are the usual suspects: high net worth divorces, business scams, scandals and public fraud. The top 3, starting with #3, according to RankRED:
Settlement Value: $6.1 billion
WorldCom became the biggest telecommunication company in the United States after the merger with MCI Communications in 1997. Things went south in the early 2000s. Just three years after the big merger, the company and its shareholders learned of a massive accounting scandal. The scandal fairly quickly led to the company’s bankruptcy and demise. In 2005, a dozen of the world’s leading investment banks involved in the WorldCom settlement agreed to pay $6.1 billion to its stakeholders and investors.
2. Enron Scam Settlement
Settlement Value: $7.2 billion
Enron Corporation was once the single largest natural gas supplier in the United States. By 1992, the company had already earned more than $122 million in gas contracts after coming into the existence in 1985. In 2001, the company faced one of the biggest lawsuits in United States history.
The company’s complex and erroneous balance sheets contributed to a stock free fall from $90.75 per share in 2000 to $1 in 2001. This catastrophe led to a massive $40 billion lawsuit filed by its shareholders. In 2004, before the company went out of the business, it payed $85 million to its ex-employees. $7.2 billion was paid out to its shareholders.
1. Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Settlement Value: $206 billion
The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 is perhaps the biggest lawsuit settlement in the world to the date. In late 1998, attorneys general of 46 states penned an agreement with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States. Philip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard were the “original participating manufacturers.” The lawsuit was filed to recover tobacco-related health care costs. The settlemennt barred companies from certain tobacco marketing practices. Finally, it paved the way for payments to states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses.
The massive settlement was the result of 50 years of various individual lawsuits against tobacco manufacturers across the United States. The situation worsened in the 1990s, when more than 40 states filed litigation against the tobacco industry, seeking monetary relief under various consumer protection laws.
Contact Kansas City’s Protzman Law Firm today for sophisticated legal representation under flexible contingency and blended fee agreements.
*source for graphics and settlement numbers: https://www.rankred.com/biggest-lawsuit-settlements/