Press Release: Lex Machina Releases 2020 Product Liability Litigation Report

Medical device and pharmaceutical case litigation topped rankings, and over 1.2 billion in punitive damages were awarded in the last five years, more than any other damage type.

Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, releases its 2020 Product Liability Report that looks at trends and insights in the federal district court. The report includes analytics about case filings, districts, judges, parties, law firms, and more, and investigates the large number of multidistrict litigation cases in this field.

“Lex Machina’s 2020 Product Liability Report helps practitioners make data-driven decisions by offering product-specific insights, looking at specific jurisdictions and judges, and reviewing trends in findings and damages,” said Ron Porter, Lex Machina’s Product Liability legal data expert.

This report features Federal District Court data from 2010 to 2019, with a focus on the last five years. For example, findings include an overview of case filings that have stayed relatively steady other than for a distinct drop in 2012. Many of the most active districts, judges, and defendants listed were related to medical devices and pharmaceutical cases. The product liability report also reveals insights into the most active firms, case timing, expert witnesses, case resolutions, findings and damages.

Legal Analytics is used for planning, forecasting, and litigation strategy. The metrics in this report may help readers decide who to pursue as clients, which claims to include in a complaint, or when to settle. This research supplements traditional legal research and anecdotal data in order to gain a competitive edge in litigation.

Already, 70% of firms use Legal Analytics, changing the business and practice of law via new models of data and access to information.

Report Highlights

  • There was an increase in filings of non-MDL Associated cases in 2018 and 2019. While the delay in designating cases as “MDL Associated” may affect the data for 2019, any delay from the JPML data is unlikely to go all the way back to 2018.
  • There was a dramatic increase in Aircraft case filings in 2019 due to litigation related to the Boeing 737 MAX.
  • Judge Eldon E. Fallon from the Eastern District of Louisiana saw the most Product Liability cases in the last five years, principally because he is handling MDL 2592 In Re: Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation.
  • Overall, pharmaceutical companies were all of the top defendants. When MDL Associated cases are removed from the data, the list of most active defendants becomes a little more varied: several vehicle manufacturers, a chemical company, and several companies associated with asbestos litigation are included.
  • Weitz & Luxenberg filed the most Product Liability cases on behalf of plaintiffs from 2015 to 2019, with 6,848 cases filed in 53 districts. When excluding MDL Associated cases, Bracewell filed the most cases on behalf of plaintiffs with 514 cases.
  • Shook, Hardy & Bacon handled the most cases for defendants when MDL Associated cases are excluded. For non-MDL associated cases, Kirkland Ellis appeared most often on behalf of defendants in the last five years.
  • In the last five years, more punitive damages (over $1.2 billion) have been awarded than any other damage type. Next, nearly $744 million in Class Action Settlement damages were awarded.

Follow this link to request a copy of the full report: Register here

2020 Product Liability Report Webcast
Lex Machina will host a webcast today at 9 AM Pacific Time to review the report findings with report author Ron Porter, Alicia Donahue from Shook Hardy & Bacon, and Gary Wolensky from Buchalter. To register for the event visit here.