Lex Machina is proud to release its 2022 Employment Litigation Report, which examines employment 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 Title VII, ADA, FMLA, and FLSA case filings), active venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages. This report showcases the newest federal appellate analytics and trends in employment litigation in the federal courts of appeals.

Key Trends and Highlights:

  • The number of employment cases filed in 2021 (21,193 cases) was the lowest number of any year in the past decade.
  • The effects of the pandemic likely were a driving factor behind case filing trends in employment litigation, in which cases generally trended downward except for slight increases in FMLA and ADA accommodation cases in 2021.
  • The number of employment cases caused by COVID-19 filed in the first quarter of 2022 (426 cases) was higher than the number filed in the fourth quarter of 2020 (413 cases).
  • The most active district for employment case filings over the last three years was the Southern District of New York, while the most active circuit was the Ninth Circuit.
  • Judge Jesus Gilberto Bernal from the Central District of California heard the highest number of total employment cases over the three-year period from 2019 to 2021 (though he was not the most active judge in any separate individual year during that time).
  • Walmart Inc. defended against the most employment cases during the three-year period from 2019 to 2021, though the proportion of all employment cases in which Walmart Inc. was a defendant was less than 1%.
  • Morgan & Morgan filed the highest number of employment cases on behalf of plaintiffs over the past three years, while Littler Mendelson represented defendants in the highest number of employment cases during the same period.
  • The reversal rate for Employment Appellate Cases over the last three years was 20%.
  • In 2021, approximately $1.17 billion in damages were awarded in 1,016 cases. This was the largest damages amount since 2012.

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 August 4, 2022 with Greg Brumfield (author of the report and Lex Machina’s Employment Legal Data Expert) and Rachel Bailey (Data Relations Manager and Legal Data Expert). View a recording of the webcast.

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