Insurance litigation case filings in federal courts took a 6% dip in 2023 compared to the previous year, marking a departure from the steady upward climb in insurance litigation cases observed since 2016, according to an analysis by Lex Machina.

However, a closer look uncovers a more nuanced story: while federal litigation over hurricane-related insurance cases and federal appellate cases mirrored the downward trajectory, other segments like business liability, business interruption, and non-hurricane homeowners policy claims continued to increase in 2023, the company reported in its 2024 Insurance Litigation Report.

Lex Machina analyzed 123,139 insurance cases that filed in U.S. District Courts from 2014 to 2023, as well as 5,917 insurance cases that were appealed to the federal circuit courts from 2014 to 2023

Key Trends in Federal Insurance Litigation

According to Lex Machina’s data, 17,654 insurance cases were filed in federal district courts in 2023, down 6% from 2022. Despite this decline, the number of cases filed in 2023 was still the second highest in the past decade, indicating a sustained elevation in insurance litigation.

While overall case filings decreased, that trend varied for specific types of insurance cases.

Business liability policy cases saw a 28% jump in 2023 compared to the previous year. Business interruption insurance cases reached their highest level in 2023, with 1,884 cases filed. This surge is likely attributed to increased awareness of coverage following the pandemic, Lex Machina noted.

Hurricane-related insurance cases have experienced fluctuations, with a spike of 8,407 cases filed in 2022. Although that number dropped to 6,433 in 2023, it remained elevated, possibly due to the impact of recent destructive hurricanes, the report stated. Homeowners policy cases that were not hurricane-related continued to rise through 2023, reaching 2,972 cases.

Insurance appellate cases remained relatively steady over the past decade, with the exception of a notable spike in 2021 to 811 cases, which Lex Machina said may have been influenced by appeals related to pandemic-driven business interruption cases.

Most Active Venues, Judges, Parties and Law Firms

The Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana emerged as federal court hotspots for insurance litigation from 2021 to 2023, driven largely by a surge in hurricane-related and homeowners policy cases. The Eastern District of Louisiana saw 8,528 insurance cases filed during this period, accounting for 17% of all insurance cases nationwide. The Western District of Louisiana followed closely with 8,313 cases, or 16% of the total.

At the appellate level, the 9th Circuit handled the highest volume of insurance cases, with 420 cases docketed from 2021 to 2023. The 11th Circuit and 5th Circuit were the next most active, with 271 and 247 cases respectively. While the 9th Circuit topped the list, most of its district courts did not rank among the most active venues. This is likely due to the circuit’s large population compared to other circuits, Lex Machina observed.

Judge James David Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana presided over a staggering 6,923 insurance cases from 2021 to 2023, more than seven times the caseload of the second most active judge. Nine of the top 10 most active judges nationwide hailed from the Eastern District of Louisiana, with Judge Lance M. Africk and Judge Jane Margaret Triche Milazzo ranking second and third, the report found.

Insurance companies dominated the lists of most active plaintiffs and defendants. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company defended against the highest number of insurance cases (5,833 cases in 79 districts). State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company was second with 2,138 cases in 78 districts, followed by Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Company with 1,368 cases in 50 districts.

Lex Machina’s report also analyzes the leading defense and plaintiffs law firms in insurance cases, as well as case timing and case resolution data.

To obtain a copy of the report, visit Lex Machina’s website. &

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