The researchers at Lex Machina have published a study that shows a few interesting things about US court filings.
First, the study indicates that plaintiffs have kept filing new cases in US federal courts, even in the time of COVID-19. There is no technical reason filings would slow, as US federal courts have electronic filing systems. The days of having to physically go to court are a distant memory.
Second, the Lex Machina study indicates the certain types of cases are more prevalent this year than last – most notably, product liability cases – while others (copyright and antitrust cases are two notable types) are down from last year.
Surprisingly, bankruptcy cases are down year-over-year, although it may be too early to see these filings in the data quite yet. If history is any guide, there will be a major increase in bankruptcy filings stretching out for the next year or more, stemming from the economic dislocation of COVID-19.
Third, Lex Machina reports that court decisions are slowing down. That is, courts are not disposing of cases and motions as quickly now as they have in comparable periods over the last two years.
So, companies should expect no slow down in US litigation, over all, but may see fewer of certain types of cases. Time will tell if the slow down in court decisions will continue.