Lex Machina is proud to release its 2022 Torts Litigation Report, which examines torts litigation trends in federal district and appellate courts. This report focuses on the five-year period from 2017 to 2021 and surveys emerging trends in case filings (including motor vehicle, premises liability, COVID-19, and federal appellate case filings), active venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages.

Key Trends and Highlights:

  • In 2021, 16,209 torts cases were filed.
  • Torts case filings (excluding mass torts) have remained relatively steady over the past ten years.
  • Motor vehicle and premises liability cases have both steadily increased over the past ten years.
  • Plaintiffs filed high numbers of cases against cruise companies in the Southern District of Florida, often involving premises liability or negligence allegations.
  • Retail establishments were also involved in high numbers of premises liability cases, due in part to having many locations open to the public.
  • The DOJ is the top defense counsel on account of the numerous claims filed under the FTCA, many of which involved motor vehicle accidents with postal workers or medical malpractice cases against Veterans Affairs.
  • Torts appellate cases that terminated in the last five years with a decision on the merits of the appeal had a 20% reversal rate.
  • There were high amounts of damages awarded on default judgment in torts cases over the last five years, a large proportion of which were related to the 1983 attack on the US Embassy in Beirut where default damages were awarded against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

View our infographic.