Lex Machina’s Inaugural Product Liability Litigation Report Focuses on Burgeoning Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Product Case Filings

Launch of New Expert Witness Explorer App Gives Legal Analytics Users
Expanded Insights into the Use and Admissibility of Expert Testimony

Menlo Park, CA, April 2, 2018 – Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company and creator of the award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, today released findings from its first annual Product Liability Litigation report. The report contains data on more than 400,000 product liability cases pending in U.S. District Courts from January 1, 2009 to Dec 31, 2017 – including multi-district litigation (MDL) and non-MDL cases, with special emphasis on medical devices and pharmaceutical products.

The Product Liability Litigation report showcases data and trends surrounding cases in which a party seeks compensation for physical or emotional injury, or property damage, caused by a defect in a product. The report spotlights the large numbers of claims related to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. It includes detailed insights on case findings, resolutions timing, damages awarded in verdicts, and approved class action settlements, giving attorneys a better understanding of potential outcomes so they can provide better client counsel.

“Every year, the number of product liability cases filed in District Court consistently outpaces the combined case filings for patent, commercial, employment, trademark, copyright, antitrust, securities, and bankruptcy appeals,” said Owen Byrd, General Counsel and Chief Evangelist at Lex Machina. “Of those product liability cases, medical device and pharmaceutical litigation accounts for the lion’s share of all filings, which is why we’ve chosen to feature this sector in our first annual report.”

MDL-associated cases comprise more than 97% of medical device/pharmaceutical cases filed in 2017, with only 667 of the 29,185 total cases not affiliated with an MDL master case. Lex Machina provides tools to enable users to either exclude or include MDL-associated cases, depending on which case set will yield the most meaningful insights to the user.

Other key findings include:

  • Since January 1, 2009, more than 289,200 product liability cases were filed in District Court, involving products classified by Lex Machina as medical devices or pharmaceuticals, including MDL-associated cases. The next largest category was asbestos, with more than 87,300 cases. Asbestos case filings in District Court have declined from tens of thousands per year during 2009-2011 to merely hundreds per year during 2012-2016.
  • Almost all (96%) product liability cases involving medical devices or pharmaceutical products are settled or resolved procedurally, instead of on the merits of the case. When product liability cases are decided on the merits, defendants prevail about 90% of the time.
  • Cases litigated through to court award of damages are rare in product liability cases involving medical devices and pharmaceutical products.
  • Three districts tied for the largest percent of non-MDL filings across all product categories from 2009 to 2017: Central District of California (C.D. Cal), Eastern District of Pennsylvania and District of New Jersey – each with 5%.
  • Since 2009, New Jersey has had the most non-MDL-associated medical device/pharmaceutical case filings (8%). C.D. Cal and Eastern District of Louisiana are tied at 6%, and Northern District of Texas captured 5%. This data includes cases that may later become associated with an MDL.

In conjunction with the report, Lex Machina also announced the release of its eighth app for the Legal Analytics platform – Expert Witness Explorer. The app enables Legal Analytics users to quickly find data and insights about the use of expert witnesses or reports, including how many times the expert or report has been admitted, limited, or excluded from a case, the most common experts and the parties that retained them, how judge rulings have favored plaintiffs vs. defendants, and more. The Product Liability Litigation report highlights two examples: Judge Joseph Goodwin’s admissibility rulings, and Dr. Robert Marx, an expert in oral surgery and related conditions.

“Expert witnesses are often crucial to success in a product liability case, and, as a result, the admissibility of their testimony can make or break a party’s chances of winning,” said Byrd. “The Expert Witness Explorer app makes it easy for Legal Analytics users to sort and compare data and testimonial outcomes across various legal matters and presiding judges, giving users a strategic advantage in court.”

The Product Liability Litigation report data was compiled using Lex Machina’s award-winning Legal Analytics® platform, which is used by many of the top law firms in the U.S., and major corporations such as Microsoft, IBM, Nike and eBay. Armed with the report, product liability attorneys can make better strategic decisions based on detailed analyses of districts, judges, expert witnesses, and other data. They can also make sound budgeting decisions using historical case timing data and identify top parties and firms to guide legal strategies and outside counsel selection. The report focused on the U.S. District Courts, and does not include appeals, modifications of judgments on appeal, or state court cases.

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About Lex Machina
Lex Machina’s award-winning Legal Analytics® platform is a new category of legal technology that fundamentally changes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. Delivered as Software-as a-Service, Lex Machina provides strategic insights on judges, lawyers, parties, and more, mined from millions of pages of legal information. This 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.

Lex Machina was named “Best Legal Analytics” by readers of The Recorder in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and received the “Best New Product of the Year” award in 2015 from the American Association of Law Libraries. It was recently named a 2017 “Legal A.I. Leader” by the National Law Journal.

Based in Silicon Valley, Lex Machina is part of LexisNexis, a leading information provider and a pioneer in delivering trusted legal content and insights through innovative research and productivity solutions, supporting the needs of legal professionals at every step of their workflow. By harnessing the power of Big Data, LexisNexis provides legal professionals with essential information and insights derived from an unmatched collection of legal and news content—fueling productivity, confidence, and better outcomes. For more information, please visit  www.lexmachina.com.