Contracts Litigation Report a Key Advance to Understanding Trends and Plotting Strategy in Federal Contract Claims

Lex Machina

...a wealth of insights and leverage for both litigators and clients

Lex Machina has released its first Contracts Litigation report, having amassed the most comprehensive and accurate dataset available for analyzing contracts litigation in U.S. federal courts.

Covering 10 years and encompassing more than 146,000 U.S. District Court cases, Lex Machina’s expanded Contracts Litigation Module, upon which the report is based, covers commercial and non-commercial cases, including individual, class action, and government lawsuits.

The full report provides a wealth of insights and leverage for both litigators and clients, detailing outcomes by judge, jurisdiction, representative law firm, and more.

It showcases the strength, depth and flexibility of the Lex Machina database, and provides insight into the ways it can be used not just in litigation strategy, but in RFPs, market analysis, competitive intelligence, and long-term internal and external strategic planning, for both law firms and corporate legal departments.

One of  the most valuable pieces of information is case timing. Timing of key events such as summary judgment, trial and termination vary widely by court. This report provides extensive data on median timing metrics, with a focus on the top jurisdictions, the Central District of California and the Northern District of Illinois.

...allows parties to plot strategy and budget far more accurately

Understanding median time to summary judgment, trial and termination, by court, judge or type of matter, allows parties to plot strategy and budget far more accurately than previously possible.

Report Highlights

  • Case filings have steadily gone down in the decade following the 2008-2009 recession. Since 2017, the rate of decline in Contracts case filings has slowed, and for Franchise case filings, appears to have bottomed out.
  • The top jurisdiction for contracts cases filed in the last two years (2016-2018) is the Central District of California, with nearly 7.5% of filings. District courts in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Florida follow as the most active jurisdictions. The report highlights which judges have the most cases.
  • The most active firm on behalf of plaintiffs between 2016 and 2018 is LeClair Ryan. Greenberg Traurig represented the most defendants during that time period (it also ranked No. 4 among plaintiffs). 
  • Franchise cases and Negotiable Instrument cases had higher rates of default judgment overall.
  • Contract Breach and No Contract Breach are the most prominent findings. Contract Breach and No Contract Breach were found in almost an equal amount of cases at summary judgment, but over 1.5 times as many cases found Contract Breach than No Contract Breach at trial.
  • The top jury damages award between 2016 and 2018 was in September 2017. In Epic Systems v. Tata Consultancy, the court reduced a jury award to the statutory cap of $280 million in punitive damages.

“With our significantly expanded content, the new contracts module has enhanced insights for contract litigators, enabling them to quickly make informed business and legal decisions and provide better counsel for their clients,” said Karen Chadwick, author of the report

Request your copy of the full report here

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