Civil Filings for November 2012

Number Latest Month 19,793
Percent Change from previous month -9.7%
Percent Change from 1 year ago -12.8%
Percent Change from 5 years ago 2.4%

Table 1: Civil Filings

The latest available data from the federal courts show that during November 2012 the government reported 19,793 new civil filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 9.7% over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 21,911.

The comparisons of the number of civil filings are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC (see Table 1).

When monthly 2012 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was down (-12.8%). Civil filings for November 2012 are higher than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are up 2.4% from levels reported in November 2007.

Bar and line plot of fymon

Figure 1: Civil Filings over the last 5 years

The long term trend in civil filings for these matters going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of civil filings of this type recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. One-year and five-year change comparisons are based upon the moving averages.

Types of filings

Cases were classified by the federal courts into general types. The single largest number of civil filings of these matters through November 2012 was for "Prisoner Petitions", accounting for 19.0% of civil filings.

As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Civil Rights " (14.2%) , "Torts - Personal Injury - Product Liability" (12.0%), "Contract" (11.1%), "Social Security" (7.8%).

Jurisdiction

Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the federal district courts have jurisdiction to hear cases falling under any one of several categories. The single largest number of civil filings of these matters through November 2012 was under the classification "Federal Question", accounting for 48.5% of civil filings.

As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Diversity" (26.9%) , "U.S. Government Defendant" (13.6%), "U.S. Government Plaintiff" (2.1%).

Pie chart of nosgrp

Figure 2: Civil filings by general types
Pie chart of jurisdiction

Figure 3: Jurisdiction
for civil filings

Rankings: Specific Nature of Suits

Court filings are also classified based upon the specific nature of the suit. Table 2 shows the top nature of suit categories recorded in the matters filed during November 2012

Nature of Suit Count Rank 1 yr ago 5 yrs ago  
Personal Injury- Product Liability 2,009 1 7 9 More
General Prisoner Petitions 1,338 2 2 2 More
Other Civil Rights 1,205 3 5 4 More
Civil Rights 1,203 4 4 3 More
Employment 1,156 5 3 8 More
Other Contract 1,029 6 6 5 More
SSID Title XVI 833 7 9 14 More
Insurance 712 8 13 1 More
Consumer Credit 686 9 8 19 More
Other Statutory Actions 667 10 11 7 More

Table 2: Top district filed

  • "Personal Injury- Product Liability" was the most frequent recorded nature of suit category. "Personal Injury- Product Liability" was ranked 7th a year ago, while it was the 9th most frequently invoked five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the nature of suit category "General Prisoner Petitions". "General Prisoner Petitions" was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was the 2nd most frequently invoked five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Other Civil Rights". "Other Civil Rights" was ranked 5th a year ago, while it was the 4th most frequently invoked five years ago.

Among these top nature of suit categories, the one showing the greatest increase in civil filings—up 94.9  percent—compared to one year ago was "Personal Injury- Product Liability". This was the same category that had the largest increase—154.1%—when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten nature of suit categories, the one showing the sharpest decline in civil filings compared to one year ago—down 17.0  percent—was "Consumer Credit". This was the same statute that had the largest decrease—64.2%—when compared with five years ago.

Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
W Virg, S 1,299.1 1,200 1 6 10 More
Delaware 290.4 257 2 5 7 More
D. C. 290.2 174 3 2 2 More
Ill, S 156.2 199 4 3 53 More
N. Y., S 141.6 727 5 4 3 More
La, E 138.0 221 6 7 1 More
Penn, E 111.2 636 7 1 9 More
R. I. 102.5 108 8 17 17 More
Miss, S 98.7 182 9 19 6 More
Texas, N 97.8 656 10 32 46 More

Table 3: Top 10 districts (per one million people)

  • The Southern District of West Virginia—with 1,299.1 civil filings as compared with &nationalpercapita civil filings per one million people in the United States—was the most active through November 2012. The Southern District of West Virginia was ranked 6th a year ago, while it was ranked 10th five years ago.

  • The District of Delaware ranked 2nd. The District of Delaware was ranked 5th a year ago, while it was ranked 7th five years ago.

  • The District of Washington, D.C. now ranks 3rd. The District of Washington, D.C. was ranked 2nd a year ago as well as five years ago.

Recent entries to the top 10 list were Rhode Island, Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson) and Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth), now ranked 8th, 9th and 10th. These districts ranked 17th, 19th and 32nd one year ago and 17th, 6th and 46th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of civil filings compared to one year ago—816.0 percent—was Southern District of West Virginia. This was the same district that had the largest increase—1216.9%—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of civil filings—91.6 percent—was Eastern District of Pennsylvania. But over the past five years, Eastern District of Louisiana showed the largest drop—85.5 percent.

Report Generated: December 20, 2012
TRAC Copyright
Copyright 2012, TRAC Reports, Inc.

Civil Filings through January 2013

Civil Filings for January 2013

Number Latest Month 18,743
Percent Change from previous month 0.5%
Percent Change from 1 year ago -12.4%
Percent Change from 5 years ago -5.3%

Table 1: Civil Filings

The latest available data from the federal courts show that during January 2013 the government reported 18,743 new civil filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 0.5% over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 18,646.

The comparisons of the number of civil filings are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC (see Table 1).

When monthly 2013 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was down (-12.4%). Civil filings for January 2013 are lower than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are down 5.3% from levels reported in January 2008.

Bar and line plot of fymon

Figure 1: Civil Filings over the last 5 years

The long term trend in civil filings for these matters going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of civil filings of this type recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. One-year and five-year change comparisons are based upon the moving averages.

Types of filings

Cases were classified by the federal courts into general types. The single largest number of civil filings of these matters through January 2013 was for "Prisoner Petitions", accounting for 22.0% of civil filings.

As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Civil Rights " (14.3%) , "Contract" (11.0%), "Labor" (8.4%), "Torts - Personal Injury - Product Liability" (7.7%).

Jurisdiction

Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the federal district courts have jurisdiction to hear cases falling under any one of several categories. The single largest number of civil filings of these matters through January 2013 was under the classification "Federal Question", accounting for 52.8% of civil filings.

As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Diversity" (22.8%) , "U.S. Government Defendant" (14.1%), "U.S. Government Plaintiff" (2.3%).

Pie chart of nosgrp

Figure 2: Civil filings by general types
Pie chart of jurisdiction

Figure 3: Jurisdiction
for civil filings

Rankings: Specific Nature of Suits

Court filings are also classified based upon the specific nature of the suit. Table 2 shows the top nature of suit categories recorded in the matters filed during January 2013

Nature of Suit Count Rank 1 yr ago 5 yrs ago  
General Prisoner Petitions 1,472 1 1 3 More
Civil Rights 1,297 2 2 2 More
Other Civil Rights 1,227 3 4 4 More
Personal Injury- Product Liability 1,014 4 3 6 More
Employment 969 5 5 7 More
Other Contract 942 6 6 5 More
Consumer Credit 767 7 8 19 More
SSID Title XVI 744 8 10 15 More
Employee Retirement Income Security Act 720 9 9 11 More
Prison Condition 683 10 13 12 More

Table 2: Top district filed

  • "General Prisoner Petitions" was the most frequent recorded nature of suit category. "General Prisoner Petitions" was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was the 3rd most frequently invoked five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the nature of suit category "Civil Rights". "Civil Rights" was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was the 2nd most frequently invoked five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Other Civil Rights". "Other Civil Rights" was ranked 4th a year ago, while it was the 4th most frequently invoked five years ago.

Among these top nature of suit categories, the one showing the greatest increase in civil filings—up 9.6  percent—compared to one year ago was "Consumer Credit". This was the same category that had the largest increase—150.7%—when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten nature of suit categories, the one showing the sharpest decline in civil filings compared to one year ago—down 26.0  percent—was "Personal Injury- Product Liability". This was the same statute that had the largest decrease—34.4%—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

Relative to population, the volume of civil matters of this type filed in federal district courts during January 2013 was 61.1 per every million persons in the United States. One year ago the relative number of filings was 64.6. Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of civil filings in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
D. C. 230.1 138 1 1 3 More
Ill, S 218.2 278 2 3 31 More
Delaware 203.4 180 3 6 14 More
N. Y., S 144.7 743 4 4 5 More
La, E 121.8 195 5 7 2 More
Penn, E 120.3 688 6 10 1 More
Fla, S 118.4 790 7 11 9 More
Ken, W 104.4 224 8 63 54 More
Texas, E 102.7 363 9 32 34 More
Ark, E 94.0 150 10 9 8 More

Table 3: Top 10 districts (per one million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C.—with 230.1 civil filings as compared with 61.1 civil filings per one million people in the United States—was the most active through January 2013. The District of Washington, D.C. was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was ranked 3rd five years ago.

  • The Southern District of Illinois ranked 2nd. The Southern District of Illinois was ranked 3rd a year ago.

  • The District of Delaware now ranks 3rd. The District of Delaware was ranked 6th a year ago.

Recent entries to the top 10 list were Southern District of Florida (Miami), Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) and Western District of Kentucky (Louisville), now ranked 7th, 9th and 8th. These districts ranked 11th, 32nd and 63rd one year ago and 9th, 34th and 54th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of civil filings compared to one year ago—119.6 percent—was Western District of Kentucky. Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth—243.0 percent—was Southern District of Illinois .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of civil filings—19.4 percent—was Eastern District of Arkansas. But over the past five years, Eastern District of Pennsylvania showed the largest drop—91.2 percent.

Report Generated: February 18, 2013
TRAC Copyright
Copyright 2013, TRAC Reports, Inc.