We all know that the pandemic has impacted a number of aspects of litigation, especially trials, but what is going on with filings. In federal court, trial courts saw about 30% more pending cases as of June 30 than at the same time last year. The increase comes mostly from personal injury and product liability cases, according to the recent statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
New filings in the period went from about 293,000 to more than 421,000. Many of the new personal injury and product liability claims wound up as part of MDLs. Interestingly, the average annual number of trials completed on a per judge basis continued to drop. This reporting period captured only the first couple months of the pandemic-related shutdowns. Observers have noted that the number of jury trials has actually been dropping for a decade, leading to concerns about training for the next generation of lawyers.