Published Sep 27, 2022
The latest available data from the federal courts show that during August 2022 the government reported 29,635 new civil filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, this number is up 45.8% over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 20,319.
Most of this increase was due to a significant jump of new filings in the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) and the Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport). 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).
|Number Latest Month||29,635|
|Percent Change from previous month||45.8%|
|Percent Change from 1 year ago||-18.1%|
|Percent Change from 5 years ago||-0.2%|
When monthly 2022 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was down (-18.1%). Civil filings for August 2022 are lower than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are down 0.2% from levels reported in August 2017.
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.
Cases were classified by the federal courts into general types. The single largest number of civil filings of these matters during August 2022 was for "Torts - Personal Injury - Product Liability", accounting for 25.5% of civil filings.
As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Contract " (17.6%) , "Prisoner Petitions" (14.6%), "Civil Rights" (11.7%), "Torts - Personal Injury - Other" (5.4%).
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 during August 2022 was under the classification "Diversity", accounting for 47.1% of civil filings.
Additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Federal Question" (36.1%) , "U.S. Government Defendant" (10.6%), "U.S. Government Plaintiff" (0.7%).
|Nature of Suit||Count||Rank||1 yr ago||5 yrs ago|
|Personal Injury- Product Liability||6,854||1||1||10|
|Other Civil Rights||1,382||4||5||4|
|General Prisoner Petitions||1,194||5||6||3|
|Other Immigration Actions||880||8||18||33|
|Other Personal Injury||821||10||10||15|
Among these top nature of suit categories, the one showing the greatest increase in civil filings — up 130 percent — compared to one year ago was "Insurance". This was the same category that had the largest increase — 707 percent — 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 42.9 percent — was "Personal Injury- Product Liability". This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 19.4 percent — when compared with five years ago.