Lex Machina is proud to release its 2022 Contracts: Commercial Litigation Report, which examines commercial litigation trends in federal district and appellate courts. This report focuses on the three-year period from 2019 to 2021 and surveys emerging trends in case filings (including general contracts, commercial, non-commercial, and COVID-19 case filings), active venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages. This report showcases trends in commercial litigation in the federal district and circuit courts.

Key Trends and Highlights:

  • The number of commercial litigation cases filed in 2021 (6,058 cases) was the lowest number of any year in the past decade.
  • Both general contracts and commercial litigation cases exhibited a sharp drop in case filings from 2020 to 2021.
  • The most active district for commercial case filings over the last three years was the Southern District of New York, while the most active circuit for contracts cases was the Ninth Circuit.
  • Judge James V. Selna from the Central District of California heard the highest number of total commercial cases over the three-year period from 2019 to 2021.
  • Financial institutions made up a large proportion of the most active parties, both on the plaintiffs side and the defendants side.
  • Noco Company was the plaintiff in the highest number of commercial cases filed during the three-year period from 2019 to 2021, while JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. defended against the highest number of cases filed in the same period.
  • Kohrman Jackson & Krantz filed the highest number of commercial cases on behalf of plaintiffs over the past three years, while Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani represented defendants in the highest number of cases during the same period.
  • Commercial litigation cases resolved in favor of claimants four times more often than in favor of claim defendants.
  • In 2021, the total amount of damages awarded was approximately $2.15 billion across 793 cases, compared to ten years ago in 2012, when the total damages awarded was approximately $2.10 billion over 1,278 cases.

View our infographic.

Legal Analytics is used for planning, budgeting, and litigation strategy. The metrics in this report may help readers examine who to pursue as clients, how long a matter may take, or when to settle. This research supplements traditional legal research and anecdotal data in order to gain a competitive edge in litigation.

Lex Machina hosted a webcast to discuss the report on October 13, 2022 with Karen Chadwick (Lex Machina’s Legal Data Expert in Commercial Law), Case Collard (Partner at Dorsey & Whitney), and Aria Nejad (Lex Machina’s In-house Counsel). View a recording of the webcast.

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