Civil Filings for October 2017
The latest available data from the federal courts show that during October 2017 the government reported 25,786 new civil filings.
According to the case-by-case information
analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number
is up 21.1% 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 2017 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 October 2017 are higher than they were for the same period five years ago.
Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are up 1.5% from levels reported in October 2012.
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 October 2017 was for "Torts - Personal Injury - Product Liability", accounting for 21.0% of civil filings.
As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Prisoner Petitions " (17.9%) , "Civil Rights" (13.2%), "Contract" (11.5%), "Social Security" (6.5%).
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 October 2017 was under the classification "Federal Question", accounting for 45.8% of civil filings.
As shown in Figure 2, additional categories with substantial numbers of civil filings were "Diversity" (34.0%) , "U.S. Government Defendant" (12.6%), "U.S. Government Plaintiff" (1.4%), "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 October 2017
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 4th a year ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the nature of suit category "Insurance".
Ranked 3rd was "Civil Rights".
"Civil Rights" was ranked 2nd 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 235.5 percent — compared to one year ago was
"Health Care / Pharmaceutical Personal Injury Product Liability".
This was the same category that had the largest increase — 977.2 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 57.4 percent — was
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 59.2 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 October 2017 was 79.8 per every million persons in the United States.
One year ago the relative number of filings was 70.7.
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 Middle District of Louisiana — with 997.4 civil filings as compared with 79.8 civil filings per one million people in the United States — was the most active during October 2017.
The Eastern District of Louisiana ranked 2nd.
The Eastern District of Louisiana was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was ranked 5th five years ago.
The District of Washington, D.C. now ranks 3rd.
The District of Washington, D.C. was ranked 3rd a year ago, while it was ranked 2nd five years ago.
Recent entries to the top 10 list were Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis), Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) and Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis), now ranked 8th, 9th, 1st and 10th. These districts ranked 11th, 13th, 16th and 21st one year ago and 40th, 7th, 18th 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 — 1025.7 percent — was Middle District of Louisiana.
This was the same district that had the largest increase — 1019.7 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 — 85.0 percent — was Southern District of West Virginia.
This was the same district that had the largest decrease — 86.0 percent — when compared with five years ago.
Report Generated: November 28, 2017