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Lex Machina Releases 2022 Contracts: Commercial Litigation Report

— October 24, 2022

Commercial litigation case filings have declined steadily throughout the last ten years to the lowest number in a decade, while the total amount of damages awarded each year has remained steady.

Menlo Park, CA — Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, released its Contracts: Commercial Litigation Report. Commercial litigation cases are cases where the parties to the dispute are business entities while general contracts cases include both commercial cases and cases where one or more of the parties are not business entities. The report examines commercial litigation trends in federal district and appellate courts. It focuses on the three-year period from 2019 to 2021 and surveys emerging trends in case filings, active venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages. The report often focuses on different sets of data, in order to provide analytics on cases involving general contracts, commercial litigation, non-commercial litigation, and COVID-19.

“The data and analytics show that despite the overall decrease in commercial litigation case filings, the amount of damages awarded has remained fairly constant year over year,” said Karen Chadwick, Lex Machina’s contracts legal data expert and editor of the report. “The consistency in annual total damages awarded in a decreasing number of cases may be partially explained by the increased costs of goods and services due to supply chain issues and inflation.”

Findings from the report include:

  • The number of commercial litigation cases filed in 2021 (6,058 cases) was the lowest number of any year in the past decade.
  • Both general contracts and commercial litigation cases exhibited a sharp drop in case filings from 2020 to 2021.
  • The most active district for commercial case filings over the last three years was the Southern District of New York, while the most active circuit for contracts cases was the Ninth Circuit.
  • Judge James V. Selna from the Central District of California heard the highest number of total commercial cases over the three-year period from 2019 to 2021.
  • Financial institutions made up a large proportion of the most active parties, both on the plaintiffs side and the defendants side.
  • Noco Company was the plaintiff in the highest number of commercial cases filed during the three-year period from 2019 to 2021, while JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. defended against the highest number of cases filed in the same period.
  • Kohrman Jackson & Krantz filed the highest number of commercial cases on behalf of plaintiffs over the past three years, while Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani represented defendants in the highest number of cases during the same period.
  • Commercial litigation cases resolved in favor of claimants four times more often than in favor of claim defendants.
  • In 2021, the total amount of damages awarded was approximately $2.15 billion across 793 cases, compared to ten years ago in 2012, when the total damages awarded was approximately $2.10 billion over 1,278 cases.

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.

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 10,500 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 18 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.

Lex Machina was named “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

Infographic: Commercial Litigation Report courtesy of Lex Machina.
Infographic: Commercial Litigation Report courtesy of Lex Machina.

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