Product Liability Cases on the Rise: Lex Machina

September 19, 2023

Product liability cases are increasing, according to Lex Machina’s annual Product Liability Litigation Report, with 5,826 such cases in federal courts in 2022.

The data analyzed by Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, shows that “product liability cases are generally increasing over recent years,” said Ron Porter, Lex Machina’s product liability legal data expert and editor of the report.

He added that “spikes and dips in cases can generally be correlated with specific large-scale litigation events, which are discussed in more detail in the report.”

The report focuses the period 2018-2022 and examines product liability trends federal and appellate courts. It looks at emerging trends in case filings, venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages.

Highlights from the report:

  • In 2022, 5,826 product liability cases (excluding MDL Associated cases) were litigated in federal district courts.
  • In the five-year period from 2018 to 2022, the highest number of product liability cases was filed in the Southern District of Illinois, while Judge Rosenstengel from the Southern District of Illinois was the most active judge for product liability cases.
  • In the five-year period from 2018 to 2022, Syngenta AG was the most active defendant in general product liability cases (excluding MDL Associated Cases), while Johnson & Johnson was the most active defendant in medical/pharmaceutical cases, and Ford Motor Company was the most active defendant in vehicle cases.
  • Meyers & Flowers was the most active counsel representing plaintiffs in product liability cases in the five-year period from 2018 to 2022, while Kirkland & Ellis represented defendants in the highest number of product liability cases over the same period of time.
  • $214 million in total damages were awarded as Approved Class Action Settlement Damages from 2018 to 2022, while $201 million in total damages were awarded as Punitive Damages.

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