Product Liability Suits Going Down

May 26, 2006

After peaking in 2004, the number of total federal products liability lawsuits filed in the U.S. declined by 14% last year and is on pace to decline an additional 16% in 2006.

The data was compiled with information gathered from the LexisNexis Market Intelligence database and released today by LexisNexis U.S.

The data shows a gradual rise in federal lawsuits filed under NOS 365 (Nature of Suit 365), the designation for personal injury-products liability claims, began in 2001, when just over 5,000 NOS 365 filings were made. That number grew to more than 13,000 cases filed in 2002, rose to 17,000 in 2003 and then soared to nearly 28,000 lawsuits in 2004.

A slight falloff occurred in 2005, when the number of products liability filings declined to less than 24,000, and the year-to-date lawsuits in 2006 are on pace for less than 20,000 cases to be filed this year.

“According to the latest data from Market Intelligence, products liability litigation filings came down a bit in 2005 but are still at very high levels in an historical context,” said Mason White, vice president of Market Intelligence at LexisNexis. “The question that legal experts will be attempting to answer in the coming months is whether this recent decline is just a temporary blip or the beginning of a downturn in products liability filings.”

White pointed out that it has now been nearly 18 months since President Bush signed into law the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), an ambitious bill that sought to curb abusive class action and products liability litigation. Although most observers don’t foresee a substantial long-term decline in products liability cases, some experts hold out the possibility that 2004 was a peak year and that CAFA is helping to produce a slight downturn.

To download the entire LexisNexis report, including a full-color U.S. map that illustrates which states are most popular for products liability case filings, please go to

Source: LexisNexis

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