Business interruption case filings have skyrocketed as business owners await decisions regarding losses related to COVID-19.
Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, released its 2020 Insurance Report looking at trends and insights in federal district court. The report includes analytics on case filings, districts, judges, parties, law firms, and more. Additionally, the report includes a special section on the impact of COVID-19 on court activity, including both procedural aspects of court closures and new filings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to give a special update, given the changing landscape of insurance litigation due to the pandemic,” said Ron Porter, Lex Machina’s insurance legal data expert. “Many businesses filed lawsuits after insurers denied their claims for business interruption coverage due to losses suffered during the shutdown. We specifically developed a case tag for business interruption coverage cases, so that we can track trends and provide insights as these cases make their way through the courts.”
Impacts of COVID-19
- Insurance case filings in Q2 of 2020 increased 20% over Q1. While case filings do tend to increase between Q1 and Q2 each year, the increase is particularly pronounced in 2020.
- Between March and June 2020, Insurance cases were up 14% from the same months in 2019. An influx of business interruption cases are a large reason for that increase.
- Lex Machina is tracking cases caused by the COVID-19 crisis by tagging cases in the system with the COVID-19 tag. Out of over 4,000 Insurance cases filed in March through June of 2020, roughly 400 were caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Comparing March through June of 2019 and 2020, there was a drop in all findings activity except summary judgments, which are up 2%. There were three fewer trials in 2020 than 2019; however, trials were already down significantly in 2019 from the previous years.
Other Report Highlights
- Over the last decade, Insurance case filings fluctuated between about 8,000 and 11,000 cases per year. There was a bump in case filings in 2013 and 2014 that was at least partially due to an increase in hurricane-related cases in those years. Between 2016 and 2019, Insurance case filings increased 28%.
- The Southern District of Texas saw the most Insurance case filings from 2015 to 2019. More than half of those cases were homeowners Insurance cases and about one-third were hurricane-related cases, likely due to Hurricane Harvey.
- State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company saw the most cases with over 2,000 Insurance cases.
- Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons filed the most Insurance cases with over 1,100 cases. Pandit Law Firm was second with about 25 fewer cases. Thompson Coe nearly always appears for defendants and Pandit Law Firm nearly always appears for plaintiffs.
- Findings and case resolutions tend to favor insurers in this practice area. However, findings and cases that resolved at the trial stage are more evenly split.
- In 2019, there were fewer cases that awarded damages than in any of the last 10 years. However, the amount of damages awarded in 2019 (over $151 million) was more than 2018 and nearly the same as 2016.
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.
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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 150 countries with 10,600 employees worldwide, is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.
About Lex Machina
Now celebrating the 10th anniversary of Legal Analytics, the Lex Machina platform 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 16 federal practice areas and select 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.
Legal Analytics was named “Best Decision Management Solution” (AI Breakthrough Awards, 2019) and “Disruptor of the Year” (Changing Lawyer Awards, 2019). 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.