Lex Machina Releases 2021 False Claims Litigation Report

False Claims litigation is a unique practice area with fascinating trends that reflect multiple factors including patterns in government, attorney, and court behavior

Menlo Park, CA — October 28, 2021 —Today, Lex Machina and LexisNexis release their False Claims Litigation Report, which covers False Claims litigation trends in federal district court. False Claims litigation includes cases in federal district court in which the federal or state government, or a relator on behalf of the government, alleged a violation of the False Claims Act or an equivalent false claims state statute that imposes civil liability on persons and companies who defrauded government programs. The report focuses on the five-year period of 2016 to 2020 and surveys emerging trends in case filings (including Qui Tam and Healthcare case filings), timing, damages, and findings.

“This practice area is as important as it is complex, and the report reflects this through the fascinating case trends and insights we uncovered through our Legal Analytics,” said Ellen Chen, Legal Data Analyst and False Claims practice area lead at Lex Machina. “It’s particularly interesting that the complexity of this area of law has had ripple effects that can be seen in the analytics regarding case timing, most active districts, and most active law firms.”

The report provides statistical information about how case complexity affects this practice area. For example, cases take much longer to reach milestones such as summary judgment and trial than other practice areas. Attorneys in this practice area often litigate in many jurisdictions, given their specialization in this area. Additionally, filing trends in specific jurisdictions and types of cases illustrate the willingness and ability of government entities to enforce False Claims statutes.

Further findings from the report include:

  • Since 2014, the number of False Claims case filings demonstrated a general but steady downward trend then fell more sharply after 2017. There are backdated False Claims cases that are currently sealed, and as they are unsealed, they will cause recent years’ filing numbers of False Claims cases to increase.
  • The Middle District of Florida had the most False Claims cases filed between 2016 and 2020 with 191 cases. In addition, judges from the Middle District of Florida occupied eight spots on the most active judges list.
  • The most active plaintiffs’ law firm in the same five-year period was Phillips & Cohen with 38 cases in 24 districts. The most active defendants’ law firm was Morgan Lewis & Bockius with 29 cases in 19 districts.
  • The most active plaintiff was the United States who filed 1,621 cases in 92 districts, followed by the State of California who filed 167 cases in 31 districts.
  • Johnson & Johnson and McKesson Corporation were the two most active defendants, both of whom appeared in 36 cases in nine districts.
  • As False Claims cases require particularity under Rule 9(b), a large number of these cases resolved with a judgment on the pleadings when the plaintiff failed to meet this requirement.
  • False Claims cases had a large number of findings on consent, as defendants often agree to consent judgments in cases filed or intervened by a government plaintiff.
  • In 2019, there were the second lowest number of cases (25 cases) with damages awarded since 2011, but the total amount of damages awarded that year ($1.7 billion) was the highest of any year during the ten-year period from 2011 to 2020.

Lex Machina’s reports and software enable practitioners to devise data-driven litigation strategies. The metrics in this report may help readers decide who to pursue as clients, whether to pursue a particular motion, or when to settle. This research supplements traditional legal research and anecdotal data for a competitive edge in litigation.

View an infographic representation of the report here,

Register here for a copy of the report.

False Claims Act Litigation Report Webcast
Lex Machina hosted a webcast to discuss the report on October 28, 2021 at noon ET/9am PT with Brenna Jenny (Partner at Sidley), Laurence Freedman (Partner at Mintz), and Ellen Chen (author of the report and Legal Data Expert at Lex Machina), with moderator Neil Magenheim (Director of Client Relations at Lex Machina). View a recording.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of legal, regulatory and business information and analytics that help customers increase productivity, improve decision-making and outcomes, and advance the rule of law around the world. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 160 countries with 10,400 employees worldwide, is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

About Lex Machina
Lex Machina fundamentally changes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. The company provides strategic insights on judges, lawyers, law firms, parties, and other critical information across 17 federal practice areas and a rapidly growing number of state courts. Lex Machina allows law firms and companies to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.

More Press Releases >