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Lex Machina Releases 2022 Employment Litigation Report

— August 4, 2022

While employment case filings declined throughout the pandemic to the lowest number in a decade, COVID-19 cases and damages awards have remained robust.

Menlo Park, CA — August 4, 2022 — Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, today releases its Employment Litigation Report. The report examines employment 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 frequently focuses on key subsets of the data, in order to provide analytics on cases involving Title VII, ADA, FMLA, and FLSA.

“One of the biggest trends is how repercussions from the pandemic continue to impact employment litigation,” said Greg Brumfield, Lex Machina’s employment legal data expert and author of the report. “The data and analytics show the effect, not only in case filing numbers in different subsets of employment litigation, but also in which venues were most active.”

Findings from the report include:

  • The number of employment cases filed in 2021 (21,193 cases) was the lowest number of any year in the past decade.
  • The effects of the pandemic likely were a driving factor behind case filing trends in employment litigation, in which cases generally trended downward except for slight increases in FMLA and ADA accommodation cases in 2021.
  • The number of employment cases caused by COVID-19 filed in the first quarter of 2022 (426 cases) was higher than the number filed in the fourth quarter of 2020 (413 cases).
  • The most active district for employment case filings over the last three years was the Southern District of New York, while the most active circuit was the Ninth Circuit.
  • Judge Jesus Gilberto Bernal from the Central District of California heard the highest number of total employment cases over the three-year period from 2019 to 2021 (though he was not the most active judge in any separate individual year during that time).
  • Walmart Inc. defended against the most employment cases during the three-year period from 2019 to 2021, though the proportion of all employment cases in which Walmart Inc. was a defendant was less than 1%.
  • Morgan & Morgan filed the highest number of employment cases on behalf of plaintiffs over the past three years, while Littler Mendelson represented defendants in the highest number of employment cases during the same period.
  • The reversal rate for Employment Appellate Cases over the last three years was 20%.
  • In 2021, approximately $1.17 billion in damages were awarded in 1,016 cases. This was the largest damages amount since 2012.

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 logo courtesy of Lex Machina.
Lex Machina logo courtesy of 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

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