Civil Filings for August 2018
The latest available data from the federal courts show that during August 2018 the government reported 25,276 new civil filings.
According to the case-by-case information
analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number
is up 15.1% over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled
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 2018 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, their number was up (4.8%).
Civil filings for August 2018 are lower than they were for the same period five years ago.
Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are down 5.5% from levels reported in August 2013.
Figure 1. Civil Filings Over the Last Five 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 during August 2018 was for "Prisoner Petitions", accounting for 18.9% of civil filings.
As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Civil Rights " (16.4%) , "Torts - Personal Injury - Product Liability" (13.4%), "Contract" (9.5%), "Torts - Personal Injury - Other" (7.0%).
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 2018 was under the classification "Federal Question", accounting for 50.2% of civil filings.
As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Diversity" (28.4%) , "U.S. Government Defendant" (12.2%), "U.S. Government Plaintiff" (1.3%), "Local Question" (0.0%).
Figure 2. Civil Filings by General Types
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 August 2018
Table 2. Top District filed
"Health Care / Pharmaceutical Personal Injury Product Liability" was the most frequent recorded nature of suit category.
"Health Care / Pharmaceutical Personal Injury Product Liability" was ranked 1st a year 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 3rd most frequently invoked five years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "General Prisoner Petitions".
"General Prisoner Petitions" was ranked 3rd a year ago, while it was the 2nd most frequently invoked five years ago.
Among these top nature of suit categories, the one showing the greatest
increase in civil filings — up 49.2 percent — compared to one year ago was
"Amer w/Disabilities - Other".
This was the same category that had the largest increase — 286.7 percent — 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 August 2018 was 78.2 per every million persons in the United States.
One year ago the relative number of filings was 72.1.
Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of civil filings in
each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
Table 3. Top Ten Districts (per one million people)
The Eastern District of Louisiana — with 644.0 civil filings as compared with 78.2 civil filings per one million people in the United States — was the most active during August 2018.
The Eastern District of Louisiana was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was ranked 2nd five years ago.
The District of Washington, D.C. ranked 2nd.
The District of Washington, D.C. was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was ranked 3rd five years ago.
The Northern District of Florida now ranks 3rd.
The Northern District of Florida was ranked 7th a year ago.
Recent entries to the top 10 list were Southern District of Florida (Miami), Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock) and Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis), now ranked 8th, 9th and 6th. These districts ranked 11th, 12th and 15th one year ago and 8th, 12th and 4th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of civil filings
compared to one year ago — 123.8 percent — was Northern District of Florida.
This was the same district that had the largest increase — 230.0 percent — when compared with five years ago.
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of civil filings — 10.6 percent — was Southern District of Indiana.
But over the past five years, Southern District of Illinois showed the largest drop — 17.7 percent.
Report Generated: September 19, 2018