Mass torts cases shape the landscape of torts litigation.
Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, recently released its first ever Torts Litigation Report looking at trends and insights in federal district court. The report includes analytics on case filings, districts, judges, parties, law firms, and more. Lex Machina developed several case tags for its Torts module: Federal Tort Claims Act, Medical Malpractice, Motor Vehicle, and Premises Liability. Additionally, there are four tags to help filter mass torts cases: Mass Tort: Deepwater Horizon, Mass Tort: Doe Run, Mass Tort: DuPont C-8, and Mass Tort: World Trade Center.
“Looking at the data, we could clearly see the effects of mass tort litigation on the analytics,” said Anne Wise Kann, Lex Machina’s torts legal data expert. “We developed case tags in order to be able isolate specific mass torts cases and look at trends within mass torts or excluding mass torts.”
- From January 2018 through 2019, Q2 torts case filings increased. Case filings then decreased each quarter until there was a small increase in the most recent quarter, 2020 Q3.
- Out of the 173 torts cases caused by COVID-19 filed through 2020 Q3, most are negligence cases against cruise lines.
- The top district in the last five years with 7,796 cases was the Eastern District of Louisiana, which is handling the Deepwater Horizon mass tort litigation
- The top plaintiffs’ firm was Nations Law Firm with 5,166 cases, which represented plaintiffs in cases related to Deepwater Horizon. The top defendants’ law firm was the Department of Justice, which represents the governmental organizations in claims against them. Most of the DOJ’s cases had claims under the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA).
- Excluding mass torts cases, three of the top five defendants were retail stores, which had a large number of premises liability cases. There were also a large number of medical/pharmaceutical defendants, due to medical malpractice lawsuits.
- Courts found No Negligence almost four times as often as Negligence, with nearly three-quarters of the No Negligence findings at summary judgment.
- In cases terminating 2015 to 2019, punitive damages and pain and suffering had the most damages awarded, with $1.8 billion and $1.4 billion respectively.
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.