Lex Machina is proud to release its 2023 Contracts: Commercial Litigation Report, which provides insights into commercial litigation trends in federal district court and appellate court over the three-year period from 2020 to 2022. This report surveys emerging trends in case filings (including federal appellate cases), most active venues, judges, law firms, attorneys, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages. The report often focuses on different sets of data, e.g., filtering cases in order to provide analytics on general contracts cases, commercial cases, non-commercial cases, and contracts class action cases filed in the federal district courts, along with contracts cases docketed in the federal appellate courts.

Key Trends and Highlights from the report include:

  • In 2022, 8,944 contracts cases were litigated in federal district courts, the lowest number of cases filed in any year over the past decade and a 23% drop from 2020.
  • Currently, contracts case filings in 2023 are on track to surpass 10,000 cases.
  • In the three-year period from 2020 to 2022, the highest number of commercial cases was filed in the Southern District of New York, while Judge Selna from the Central District of California was the most active judge for commercial cases.
  • Financial institutions dominated the lists of the most active plaintiffs and defendants from 2020 to 2022.
  • $6.3 billion in total damages were awarded as Contract Damages in 1,990 commercial cases from 2020 to 2022.
  • For contracts cases that were appealed to a federal appellate court and terminated from 2020 to 2022 with a decision on the merits of the appeal, 32% were ultimately reversed.

View our infographic.


Legal Analytics is used for planning, budgeting, and litigation strategy. The metrics in this report can help readers decide who to pursue as clients, whether to file a particular motion, or when to settle (and for how much). This research supplements traditional legal research and anecdotal data in order to gain a competitive edge in litigation.

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