Launched in 1996, the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse (SCAC) is a free, online database and website that tracks securities class action lawsuits filed in U.S. federal court since passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Including case summaries, research, and trends in securities class action filings, the SCAC is the most comprehensive source for federal securities fraud class action litigation in the United States. The website’s full-text search capability and in-depth, advanced search page enable users to search across a number of different data fields and examine current and historical trends in securities class action litigation. The SCAC also serves as a document repository, compiling complaints, motions, dockets, judicial opinions, and other litigation-related materials filed in these cases. This detailed information allows each user to form his or her own opinion as to whether litigation is with or without merit, whether too few or too many companies are being sued, and whether recoveries are too small or too large.
The SCAC’s contribution to empirical research has been recognized through the years. Upon its foundation, the Smithsonian Institution recognized the site as an example of “visionary use of information technology in the field of education and academia.” Furthermore, one of the best indicators of the site’s success has been its potential as a model. A number of projects have been modeled after the SCAC, including the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse from Washington University in St. Louis and the Stanford-originated Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse (IPLC). In 2009, during a roundtable discussion on Securities Claims Statistics, the SCAC was recognized for containing the best methodologies and protocols for counting, classifying, and reporting on securities class action lawsuits.