Lex Machina is excited to announce the release of its first Torts Litigation Report. An overview of trends and insights in federal district court, the report includes data from 2010 through September 30, 2020. 

This report features statistics broken down into categories based on Lex Machina’s case-type tagging system.  The Torts case-type tags used in this report are: Federal Tort Claims Act, Medical Malpractice, Motor Vehicle, and Premises Liability. Additionally, there are four tags to help filter out mass torts cases. Throughout the report, “excluding mass torts cases” means the subject figure specifically excludes cases tagged within the four mass torts: Deepwater Horizon, Doe Run, Dupont C-8, and World Trade Center.

Trends and Highlights

  • Since January 2018, case filings increased through 2019 Q2. Case filings decreased since then, except for a small increase in the most recent quarter, 2020 Q3.
  • Out of the 173 Torts cases caused by COVID-19 filed through 2020 Q3, most are negligence cases against cruise lines.
  • The top district in the last five years with 7,795 cases was the Eastern District of Louisiana, which is handling the Deepwater Horizon mass tort litigation.
  • The top plaintiffs’ firm was The Nations Law Firm with 5,166 cases, which represented plaintiffs in cases related to Deepwater Horizon. The top defendants’ law firm was the Department of Justice, which represented governmental organizations in claims against them.
  • Excluding mass torts cases, three of the top five defendants were retail stores, which had a large number of premises liability cases. There were also a large number of medical/pharmaceutical defendants, due to medical malpractice lawsuits.
  • Courts found No Negligence almost four times as often as Negligence, with nearly three-quarters of the No Negligence findings at summary judgment.
  • In cases terminating 2015 to 2019, punitive damages and pain and suffering had the most damages awarded with $1.8 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.

Legal Analytics is used for planning, forecasting, 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 about the report on November 19, 2020 with Christina Capobianco, partner at Goldberg Segalla, and Anne Wise Kann, the author of the report. View a recording of the webcast.

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