Class action lawsuits are a crucial part of the US justice system that helps consumers get compensation for bad products or unfair business practices. When particularly egregious acts take place, settlements can reach incredible figures — sums paid out to victims who have been wrongfully injured through no fault o theirs whatsoever.
A Class action settlement is used to hold accountable companies who engage in fraudulent practices, from securities fraud and automobile emissions tampering. One such lawsuit was settled for $2 billion dollars after it was alleged that the company had tampered with their products’ quality to get customers hooked on buying more costly replacements without necessarily realizing what they were doing until too late.
Cuintegrator rounds up 10 of the biggest class action settlements in American history and how they have affected everyday consumers’ livelihoods.
15. Bank Of America Acquisition Of Merril Lynch ($2.4 Billion)
The landmark settlement of $2.4 billion in 2013 was approved by federal judge Kevin Castel after years-long litigation, with lead plaintiffs being public pension funds in Ohio and Texas on behalf of millions who were due to receive shares from the proceeds as their portion kickbacks following Bank Of America’s acquisition Merrill Lynch & Co.
The deal ultimately fell through when it came time for them to share out these funds which had been set aside specifically because they believed there would be enough demand, so no single investor could claim all available money without leaving some behind – but at this point only about half actually got paid anything considering how many people are struggling today just getting barely above ground level living.
14. Actos Diabetes Drugs ($2.4 Billion)
The settlement of this case was announced in 2015 when a Japanese drug company agreed to pay $2.4 billion over claims that they concealed the safety risks of their Actos diabetes medication before regulators warned about prolonged use leading people to an increased risk of bladder cancer. The Minnesota labor union health care fund and individual consumers from around America filed suit against them; 9,820 individuals qualify as well due to t their involvement with these dangerous practices at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
13. Nortel Accounting Fraud ($2.5 Billion)
Nortel Networks shareholders agreed to receive a combination of cash and equity from new shares issued by the company as part of a $2.5 billion dollar settlement that was reached in 2006 following litigation brought on behalf of consumers who alleged they were victims or potential victims during recording periods between 1997-2002 at Nortels’ telecommunications unit (a predecessor).
12. AOL Time Warner Accounting Fraud ($2.5 Billion)
In 2006, a federal judge in New York approved a $2.5 billion settlement over an America Online practice of inflating advertising revenue before and after its merger with Time Warner which led to class action suits filed by Minnesota State Board members from state and local governments who were also investors themselves on behalf other parties including 625K shareholders/bondholders from across countries at risk due fraudulently manipulated reports about their investments leading them into losing significant amount money as well so they could join together claiming legal responsibility against former employers EY (Ernst & Young, LLP), AOL Inc., and accounting firm
11. Tyco International Accounting Fraud ($3.2 Billion)
Tyco International is a company that has been known for its scandals. In 2007, three years after the CEO and Chairman, Dennis Kozlowski, and CFO, Mark Swartz, were convicted of corporate fraud in relation to this case, they agreed on settlements worth $3.2 billion dollars each while former auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers paid nearly two-thirds of it. This scandal brought about many changes including prison sentences ranging from six months up to life imprisonment.
The Tyco International scandal, which resolved with a $2.92 billion settlement for the cheated shareholders and their legal representatives in 2007 following an eight-week criminal trial led by Federal District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro’s verdict that summer; this is one of many examples where companies have been held accountable when they cheat investors through corporate malfeasance or fraud.
10. Breast Implants ($3.4 Billion)
Dow Corning Corporation agreed in 1998 to pay out more than $3.2 billion dollars after being sued for damages caused by silicone breast implants, which led to many women’s lives being changed forever with surgery complications and other ailments stemming from their implants.
The company reached this settlement due largely because they were previously unaware of how problematic these health effects could be when introduced into the body at such an early age; now we know better.
The scientific consensus is that no strong link exists between silicone and systemic diseases, but there are still risks of atypical conditions. The evidence suggests females who receive implants may be more prone to certain ailments such as endometriosis or fibromyalgia due to their body receiving foreign material surgery without proper consideration given to possible negative side effects.
9. Cendant Corporation Accounting Fraud ($3.5 Billion)
To follow up on our list of top-class action settlements: in 1998, accounting irregularities were uncovered at Cendant Corporation. This led to a $3.5 billion settlement that was approved by shareholders and a federal judge two years later in 2000 after not much had been done about it since 1997 when they first became aware of what transpired during merger talks between HFS Incorporated and UC International before merging them together under one company name-CUC international(which means “our world”).
But former accountant Casper Sabatino alerted authorities on how executives inflated their own worth upwards by more than 500 Million Dollars while he himself helped report these findings back then only for everything being revealed just recently last year with all investors losing faith causing share prices to drop $14 billion in a single day.
The man who ran Avis Budget Group, Sabatino, was caught up in a historic scandal. He apologized for his actions and several other executives were sentenced to prison time as well during this event which caused the company’s brands such as Century 21 or CUC (Cendant) eventually changed their names in 2007 when they spun off their real estate business unit under another brand called “Avis.”
8. Native American Trust Lands ($3.5 Billion)
The federal government faced a class action over its handling of Native American Trusts. The $3.4 billion settlement was reached in 2009 after 13 years, with most suits filed against them during the Great Depression when it became clear how much money could have been made from these lands but wasn’t being distributed accordingly by Interior Department officials under the direction from Washington DC planners who thought only “the big shots” should reap any rewards–not individual members within each tribe no matter how small or large your family might’ve been back then.
The Department of Interior was ordered by Congress to make $1.4 billion available in 2010 for members who were part or all Native American tribes, as well as provide a land buy-back program and create an educational scholarship fund that would help cover tuition costs at schools on reservations across America; this came after a four-decades-long legal battle with Blackfeet Confederacy member Elouise Cobell challenging how much money should rightfully belong into their hands following generations when white men promised them more than just dollars but also vast quantities resources if they joined European colonization efforts instead.
7. Fen-Phen Diet Drugs ($3.8 Billion)
The $3.75 billion settlement approved in 2000 was a class action against drug companies to that point, and it would not be surpassed until 2007 when a federal judge signed off on behalf of all users affected by Redux (a weight loss medication).
In both cases, we see how much money can really change hands if someone’s health goes south because they took one pill too many or didn’t realize what kind of side effects could occur from combining various medicines without knowing anything about your personal medical history.
The company, which changed its name to Wyeth two years after the class action settlement was approved sold products under a brand named Pondimin until 1997. Sales stopped when researchers linked fen-phen’s side effects with heart damage in patients who took it for depression or anxiety disorders.
More than six million people were estimated to have taken this drug before sales were cut off totally due to an association between health problems like duped Purkinje Circuit Disease (which can lead one to early death), myocarditis— inflammation inside part of your cardiac muscle–and cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects circulation throughout the body.
6. WorldCom Accounting Fraud ($6.1 Billion)
To follow our list of biggest class action settlements, we have WorldCom, the long-distance telephone company that has since changed its name and been purchased by Verizon was ordered by a federal judge to pay out a whopping $6.1 billion after admitting its inflated assets between 1999-2002.
WorldCom was a telecommunications company that reported billions of dollars in 2002 and 2003. The misreported profits led to prison time for the founder, Bernard Ebbers, as well as other workers who served their sentences but lived out the rest of their lives free from incarceration because they were released early.
Some of these largest class action settlements were trending topics all over international news
5. Visa/Mastercard Antitrust ($6.2 Billion)
Visa, Mastercard, and banks including Bank of America agreed in 2018 to a $6.2 billion settlement over the companies’ alleged fixing of swipe fees which benefited them greatly at the expense of retailers who pay these accommodations or damages as they see fit; this action has been fought since 2005 when merchants first filed suit against both credit card processing firms along with numerous others involved such BNYM (JPMorgan), making it one of the biggest class action settlements in American history.
The original amount settle back in 2012 but opponents rejected it because you cannot file future suits if there is an agreement on previous ones-this new number represents about 9% more than what was originally offered after much negotiation between all parties.
4. Enron Securities Fraud ($7.2 Billion)
The $7.2 billion class action settlement, approved by a federal judge and shareholders in 2008 after years of litigation over Enron’s notorious scandalous practices that led to its downfall includes money for those who were wrongfully accused and damages done not just financially but also emotionally as well because they lost trust from society overall.
The huge payout was made possible thanks largely due to court decisions allowing victims’ families access to a class action against the now-defunct company which had previously denied them any opportunity at getting compensated until recently when all these legal battles finally came.
When Enron entered into a partnership with Blockbuster to offer video-on-demand, for example, they listed expected gains from this market rather than actual earnings. They also used what are known as “special purpose vehicles” or SPVs (an accounting trick) which helped hide debt and losses until it caught up with them when analysts began questioning the company’s reported prosperities; stock prices dropped dramatically – reaching just $0 .26 on December 2nd 2001+ immediately before bankruptcy occurred. Shareholders who purchased Enron shares between September 1997 and December 2001 were eligible for a payout in the settlement.
3. Volkswagen Emissions Scandal ($14.7 Billion)
The Justice Department announced in 2019 that Volkswagen would pay a $14.7 billion settlement for polluting the environment with illegal emissions devices installed on 500000 diesel cars manufactured between 2009 and 2016. The German automaker had denied knowledge about these defeat device programs which spanned out harmful chemicals into our air while lying Beside policymakers at every turn.
The EPA filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen three years ago for violating Clean Air Act standards. Finally, after mediation and negotiations which included $10 billion in buybacks as well as emissions fixes from those who refused to sell their vehicles back (or keep them), all parties have come together with an agreement approved by a federal judge.
2. British Petroleum Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill ($20 Billion)
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April 2010 killed 11 workers and injured 17 more. The incident caused an ecological disaster as well: thousands of barrels leaked into the ocean for months before oil company British Petroleum originally estimated that it was leaking at only 1,000 per day; however, government experts later calculated this peak to be around 60 karats – or 6 million fluid ounce-hours.
The 2010 Mexico oil spill by oil company BP was a somber occasion for many environmental organizations, who had watched with eager anticipation as this largest maritime pollution incident grew into an ever-expanding catastrophe. The federal government and five states on that coast reached a $20 million settlement with BP–the company responsible for causing it all–in October 2015; though some are still fighting tooth-and-nail against letting them off so easy.
1. Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement ($206 Billion)
52 state and territory attorneys general signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco companies in the U.S. to settle dozens of state lawsuits brought to recover billions of dollars in health care costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses.
The Big Tobacco class action settlement is one of the most well-known class-action lawsuits in US history. The amount that was finally agreed upon for this case has to be considered, not just by its size but also because it happened so long ago and many people still remember how they felt when hearing about these companies being held accountable after years of health risks.
The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement required the four largest cigarette manufacturers in America to pay out more than $206 billion over 25 years. Never before have 52 attorney generals signed off on a settlement of this magnitude. They also had another payment of 9 billion per year placed on top, which will continue forever! This landmark deal included all 47 states except for Florida and Texas who had their own settlements with the attorneys general of their own states instead – these two populations were too stubbornly opposed to due process concerns that they didn’t want any part of involvement with this agreement or else risk losing accessions from other groups wanting protection under the law as well.
The tobacco master settlement agreement is a landmark in the fight against smoking. The agreement, which currently dwarfs all other class action settlements with its size reaching close to $300 billion dollars and will continue paying for decades as more people are poisoned by these addictive products that have been marketed toward children thus far without any consequences whatsoever.
The $206 billion tobacco master settlement agreement includes a number of stipulations to help reduce smoking rates, including paying states for their loss in revenue from tobacco sales and providing funding for anti-smoking campaigns. The largest portion of the tobacco settlement, approved by the attorney generals, goes toward an advertising campaign dedicated to educating consumers on the dangers of smoking tobacco products.