Legal Trends

The Impact of the Pandemic Shutdown on New Case Filings in State Courts

The COVID-19 pandemic halted non-essential social and economic activities including the day-to-day operation of courthouses. During the shutdown, courts adopted special guidelines for providing essential legal services (e.g., bond hearings, temporary restraining orders). Some courts encouraged the use of electronic filings while others emphasized physical dropboxes. Lex Machina surveyed its current state civil trial court modules to examine how the pandemic shutdown impacted new case filings in state courts, which handle a tremendous volume and breadth of matters. Our survey of new case filings in nine state courts during April and May 2020 revealed the following observations: Case filings in state courts were significantly reduced during the shutdown. For the nine state courts that Lex Machina reviewed, total case filings in April 2020 were down 53% compared to April 2019, and filings in May 2020 were down 49% compared to May 2019. Case filings for limited jurisdiction cases were more impacted than general/unlimited jurisdiction cases in the California and Texas courts that Lex Machina reviewed, suggesting that corporate litigation plaintiffs were less affected in pursuing litigation than individuals. Courts that permitted only essential civil cases to be filed during the pandemic shutdown saw a surge in new filings after courthouses [...]

By |2020-06-27T07:43:43+00:00June 25th, 2020|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

April 2020 Summary: Ongoing Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Litigation Activity in Federal District Court

Lex Machina continues to explore how courts are affected by the social changes due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Our analysis of court activity through March and the first two weeks of April in 2020 compared to the previous two years revealed the following: Case filings have not yet been significantly impacted year-over-year, though the overall total remains slightly down in 2020 compared to previous years. Case activity is down in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019. COVID-19 is showing up in 2020 court records mainly due to general orders. However, 200+ cases filed since April 1st mention the coronavirus pandemic in the complaint. Now, we are looking at updated data from the first four weeks of April. To understand whether these trends continue, we compared court activity for the four weeks of April 2018, 2019, and 2020. Our analysis of court activity in April revealed the following: Year-over-year trends that continue through April of 2020: Case filings continue to not be significantly impacted year-over-year, and litigants continue to move forward with planned litigation, though the overall total remains slightly down in 2020 compared to previous years. Watching each specific practice area, we notice, however, that filings are trending up for some [...]

By |2020-05-26T15:30:27+00:00May 26th, 2020|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Tracking New Litigation Caused By COVID-19

The social and economic changes due to the COVID-19 crisis are affecting the business and practice of law. In federal district court, we have seen a slowdown in court activity, but not in case filings. In this blog post, we investigate situations in which COVID-19 social and economic changes may be the driving forces behind new case filings. Here is a summary of the trends that we’ve observed so far: COVID-19 Case Filings are Trending Upward. New cases with complaints citing COVID-19 are increasing week-over-week since March 1, including 110% between the weeks of April 12-18 and April 19-25 alone and 16% the following week. Leading Practice Areas with COVID-19 Keyword Matches. Contracts and insurance are the two practice areas with the largest number of complaints filed in the specified time period that cite COVID-19 keywords, with 168 and 104 cases respectively, followed by employment with 42. Leading Practice Areas with Confirmed Case Filings Directly Resulting from COVID-19. Contracts, insurance, and employment are the three practice areas with the largest number of cases (128, 98, and 19 cases respectively) that (a) would not have been filed if not for the pandemic, and/or (b) have claims substantially exacerbated by the pandemic. [...]

By |2020-05-13T22:10:10+00:00May 11th, 2020|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

April Two-Week Update: Ongoing Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Litigation Activity in Federal District Court

Lex Machina continues to explore how courts are affected by the social changes due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Our analysis of court activity in March revealed the following: Case filings have not yet been significantly impacted year-over-year. Case activity is down. COVID-19 is showing up in court records mainly due to general orders regarding procedural changes. To understand whether these trends continue, we compared court activity for the first two weeks of April 2018, 2019, and 2020. Our analysis of court activity in April revealed the following: The trend continues into April: case filings have not yet been significantly impacted year-over-year. The trend continues into April: case activity is still down. The trend continues into April: COVID-19 is showing up in court records mainly due to general orders. However, 200+ cases filed since April 1st mention the coronavirus pandemic in the complaint. To understand whether the March trends continued into April, we compared court activity for the first two weeks of April 2018, 2019, and 2020 including 10 business days each year. The specific dates are April 1 to April 14, 2018; April 1 to April 14, 2019; and April 1 to April 14, 2020. Trends through April 2020 [...]

By |2020-05-04T20:23:25+00:00April 25th, 2020|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

Ongoing Impacts of the Coronavirus on Litigation Activity in Federal District Court

As part of our mission to bring openness and transparency to the law, Lex Machina is exploring how courts are affected by the social changes due to COVID-19. Our work requires us to review what is going on in federal district court every day, and we’d like to share our findings publicly. So, do we see the impact in the data? In terms of the effects of COVID-19 on litigation, it may still be too early to see significant changes in litigation activity, and there's a lot we don't yet know about how COVID-19 will eventually impact litigation. Here's what we do know so far. Summary Of Findings And Possible Explanations Federal district courts are changing their operating procedures such as using remote communication and moving to essential personnel only, but are not closing completely. There is still daily court activity. In order to gain a better understanding, we compared court activity for four full weeks during March 2018, 2019, and 2020. In order to include 20 business days each year, the specific dates are March 4 to March 31, 2018; March 3 to March 30, 2019; and March 1 to March 28, 2020. Here is a brief summary of [...]

By |2020-05-04T17:55:33+00:00April 7th, 2020|Analytics Articles, Legal Trends|

ERISA Litigation Report

Lex Machina is excited to release its first ERISA Litigation Report. This report highlights data-driven trends and insights to help practitioners quickly analyze and strategize in this particular area of the law. The report focuses on the three-year time period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018 to showcase recent trends in U.S. District Court. Additionally, this report focuses on Claim Denial and Delinquent Contribution claims. Highlights include: ERISA case filings declined from nearly 9,000 cases to about 6,600 cases from 2010 to 2018, a 26% drop. Delinquent contribution case filings have seen a significant decline from nearly 4,400 cases in 2010 to over 1,900 cases in 2018. On the other hand, claim denial case filings have risen over the same period, peaking at more than 4,000 filings in 2017, up from just over 3,000 filings in 2010. Northern District of Illinois had the most case filings during the 2016-2018 period (1698 cases), likely due to its strong union presence and large population. The next most-active districts were the Central District of California (1053 cases) and the District of New Jersey (1030). The top four most active ERISA judges in the US came from the District of South Carolina, [...]

By |2019-05-30T20:48:50+00:00May 30th, 2019|Legal Trends, Reports|

Contracts Litigation Report

Lex Machina is excited to release its first Contracts Litigation Report. In 2018, Lex Machina replaced and expanded its Commercial module to include non-commercial cases, including individual, class action, and government lawsuits. Now encompassing over 146,000 U.S. District Court cases from the last decade, Lex Machina’s Contracts Litigation Module represents the most comprehensive and accurate dataset available for analyzing breach of contract claims litigation in the federal courts. Highlights include: The top jurisdiction for federal contracts litigation case filings from 2016 to 2018 was the Central District of California (nearly 7.5% of filings) followed by district courts in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Florida. Nearly $5.2 billion in contracts damages, over $936 million in tort compensatory damages, and over $872 million in class action settlement damages were awarded from 2016 to 2018. During the three-year period from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2018, financial institutions and franchisors were among the most active contract plaintiffs. Lex Machina Legal Data Expert Karen Chadwick and Cleary Gottlieb’s Abena Mainoo hosted a webcast on May 7, 2019 reviewing the highlights and findings of the report. To view a recording of the webcast, click here. To request a copy of the [...]

By |2019-05-17T21:59:13+00:00May 12th, 2019|Legal Trends, Reports|

Antitrust Litigation Report

Lex Machina announces the release of its Antitrust Litigation Report. In analyzing over 9,000 Antitrust cases included in Lex Machina’s database, practitioners can gain new information and plan their litigation strategy accordingly. Antitrust litigation is a complex and unique area of law and this analytical review showcases customized insights that supplement traditional research and accumulated experience. Highlights include: For antitrust cases terminating between 2016 and 2018, the median time to reach summary judgement was 2.5 years, and time to trial was three years. In Contested DOJ/FTC Enforcement cases, the median time to termination was only 127 days. Judge Cynthia M. Rufe (E.D.Pa.) and Judge Marianne O. Battani (E.D.Mich.) oversaw the most antitrust cases filed between 2016 and 2018 (249 cases and 139 cases respectively). The top plaintiff in Antitrust cases filed between 2016 and 2018 was FWK Holdings, LLC. FWK Holdings, LLC is a predecessor in interest for a now defunct pharmaceutical wholesaler claiming injury based on anticompetitive behavior by generic drug manufacturers. In 2018, federal courts approved over $3.6 billion in class action settlement damages. They also awarded over $515 million in antitrust violation damages and over $117 million in enhanced damages. Nearly $4.3 billion total damages were awarded [...]

By |2019-05-17T21:19:09+00:00April 4th, 2019|Legal Trends, Reports|

Patent Litigation Report

Lex Machina released its annual Patent Litigation Report. This is a comprehensive report with data across the entire Patent module including patent litigation in federal district court and administrative hearings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). This report also includes Hatch-Waxman/ANDA trends as well as those involving High Volume Plaintiffs (plaintiffs who have filed more than ten cases in a single year). The Patent Litigation Report analyzes filing trends, key decisions and timing metrics, as well as damages and other data. It shows top districts by case filings and percentage, top parties and law firms, and damages metrics including top jury awards. It also includes PTAB filings, trends in instituted and final written decisions, and top PTAB law firms. Highlights include: As an effect of T.C. Heartland, the Eastern District of Texas is no longer the top venue for patent litigation. It has moved to second place behind the District of Delaware. Juul Labs, along with one of their claim defendants, The Electric Tobacconist, LLC, joined the most active parties list in 2018 and are members of the nicotine vaping industry. In 2018, PTAB saw the fewest institution decisions since 2014 and the fewest overall trials terminated since [...]

By |2019-04-04T23:16:14+00:00January 29th, 2019|Legal Trends, Reports|

TC Heartland, Legal Trends, One Year Later

This is a follow up post to an earlier discussion of the Supreme Court’s venue-altering decision. One year later, it is clear that there is a significant shift in where patent cases are being filed, with many more cases in Delaware since TC Heartland narrowed the rules for venue. Texas, by contrast, has seen a significant drop in filings, but is still a favored arena for some plaintiffs. For the time being, Texas judges continue to have a significant impact on the patent litigation landscape.

By |2018-05-24T00:18:56+00:00May 23rd, 2018|Legal Trends|