Lex Machina Releases 2023 Contracts: Commercial Litigation Report

While commercial case filings have decreased since 2020, contracts class action cases spiked dramatically in 2020; both trends were likely impacted by the pandemic. Commercial litigation exhibits evidence of rebounding in the near future.

Menlo Park, CA — December 7, 2023 — Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, today releases its 2023 Contracts: Commercial Litigation Report. The report examines trends in commercial litigation in federal district courts and appellate courts. Focusing on the three-year period from 2020 to 2022, it surveys emerging trends in case filings, 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.

“Lex Machina’s module on contracts cases is expansive and comprehensive,” said Karen Chadwick, Lex Machina’s contracts legal data expert and editor of the report. “With the myriad of filters provided by the platform, legal professionals can choose to focus on any number of subsets of cases. That’s why we often choose to turn the spotlight on commercial litigation, a crucial and nuanced area of law. The litigation trends we unearth in the changing patterns of commercial litigation often provide fascinating insights on the interplay between different practice areas of law and the circumstances in the world around us.”

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.
  • 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.

Lex Machina’s reports and software enable practitioners to devise data-driven litigation strategies. 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 for a competitive edge in court.

Register here for a copy of the report.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional® provides legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics that help customers increase their productivity, improve decision-making, achieve better 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 150 countries with 11,300 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 20 federal practice areas and a rapidly growing number of state courts. Lex Machina allows law firms and companies to anticipate the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.

Lex Machina was named one of “Legal Tech’s Most Promising Solution Providers” (CIO Review Awards 2022), “Greater Bay Area Top Workplaces 2022” (The San Francisco Chronicle Top Workplaces in the Bay Area 2022), “Legal Tech Company of the Year 2021″ (CIO Review, 2021), “2021 Legal Technology Trailblazer” (National Law Journal Trailblazer Awards, 2021), Winner of the “Media Excellence” Award for Analytics/Big Data (13th Annual Media Excellence Award, 2021). Based in Silicon Valley, Lex Machina is part of LexisNexis, a leading global provider of legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics. For more information, please visit www.lexmachina.com.