Nearly 4,000 cases have been filed in federal district court due to COVID-19 since January 1st; Insurance, contracts, and employment are the most prevalent practice areas.
Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, announces updated tracking tools for litigation related to COVID-19, allowing users to gauge and understand the effect of the pandemic. The company has been publishing research on the impacts of COVID-19 on litigation with its COVID-19 Impact Analyzer App (“COVID App”) and blog posts. As activity increases in federal court and more information becomes available, Lex Machina has updated its systems with new tools to track the impacts of COVID-19 on litigation. It has three new tools:
The COVID-19 Case Tag
Lex Machina created a case tag that allows users to view and analyze cases with claims that are directly caused by, or are significantly impacted by, the coronavirus health crisis or related societal changes. The Lex Machina team of legal experts reviewed cases with complaints mentioning COVID-19 keywords and verified whether the case was filed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This allows users to track cases in their practice area or district that are filed as a direct result of COVID-19. For example, practitioners can easily track contracts cases to find out if a judge rules on a force majeure clause.
Nearly 4,000 cases have been filed in federal district court due to COVID-19 since January 1, 2020. These case filings peaked in May and then leveled off in the last few months.
The top practice areas with cases caused by COVID-19 are insurance (698 cases), contracts (696 cases) and employment (198 cases). Outside of the Lex Machina practice areas, many cases are civil rights matters.
COVID-19 Impact Analyzer App Updates
Lex Machina updated its COVID App to include wider date ranges. Users can now see how COVID-19 has impacted various metrics by weekly, monthly, or year-to-date increments. The app is available to the public and analyzes case filings, court activity, and cases caused by COVID-19 in federal district court.
Looking at January 1st through September 6th, there were a large number of product liability cases filed this year causing an overall increase in case filings for 2020. However excluding product liability cases, overall filings are down 11% from 2019. While most practice areas have fewer cases in 2020 than 2019, case filings are up in 2020 from 2019 in the practice areas of contracts, insurance, patent, product liability, and securities.
One way to measure court activity is looking at the number of cases with a finding (i.e., court-enforceable determination). There were fewer cases with findings at all stages of trial, from default judgments to trials. Looking at cases within the Lex Machina practice areas, default judgments are down 13% compared to 2019, while trials are down 51%.
The Business Interruption Case Tag
Insurance cases are a particular area of interest as many businesses are waiting to see if losses due to COVID-19 shutdowns are covered. Lex Machina developed a Business Interruption case tag so that users can review cases with a claim to recover lost income or extra expenses incurred in the event that business is interrupted due to loss or damage to the property.
Closed sign; image courtesy of geralt via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com
These cases were not particularly prevalent before the pandemic with only between about 300 and 500 business interruption cases filed per year, but they have increased considerably in 2020 with 684 business interruption cases filed in the first half of 2020 alone. By tracking these cases throughout the Lex Machina system, users can review analytics specific to these cases. For example, they can find out whether a judge has ruled on the issue previously or see damages relating to these claims.
“These tools are a big step in working to quantify, track, and analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on the federal court system,” said Rachel Bailey, Data Relations Manager at Lex Machina. “With practitioners facing unprecedented challenges, it is especially important to be able to quickly and easily research and understand activity in specific courts, what cases are working their way through the system, and how current activity compares to previous trends.”
Lex Machina plans to continue to publish updated blog posts explaining the analytics trends with practice-area-specific insights. An update on cases caused by COVID-19 is planned for September 30th. To view Lex Machina’s blog posts related to COVID-19, click here.
To view the COVID-19 Impact Analyzer App, click here.
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 http://www.lexmachina.com.