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6/21/2024 By Megan Burns

KCIC recently published its annual Asbestos Litigation: Year in Review report for 2023. This latest report was the first time we’ve been able to report on 10 years of robust asbestos-related personal injury lawsuit data, and the report included many comparisons of how the litigation has changed since 2014.

Since publishing the report, several defendants and their counsel have asked for more information on how the jurisdictions involved in the litigation have changed during that period. Asbestos litigation was filed in 173 jurisdictions in 2014 and 135 jurisdictions in 2023. What more can we learn as we take a closer look?

Let’s start by looking at jurisdictions that had filings a decade ago, but not last year. There were 91 jurisdictions that had filings in 2014 but not in 2023. Of those, 62 had one lawsuit filed in 2014, 24 had between two and 10 filings, and five had more than 10 filings. Most notable was Northampton, Penn., which had 63 filings in 2014 and none in 2023.

Next let’s look at jurisdictions that had filings last year, but not a decade ago. There were 53 jurisdictions with filings in 2023 but not in 2014. Of those, 41 had one filing in 2023, 11 had between two and 10 filings, and, most notably, one jurisdiction (Eastern District, La.) had 13 filings in 2023 and none in 2014.

For this analysis, we consider a “top jurisdiction” to be any jurisdiction with 50 or more filings. In 2014, there were 20 jurisdictions that fit this criterion, compared to 15 in 2023. Figure-1 below shows the top jurisdictions for 2014 filings — their 2014 rank and total filings as well as their 2023 rank and total filings. Figure-2 below shows the same information for the top 2023 jurisdictions.

All 15 top jurisdictions for 2023 were also top jurisdictions in 2014. Five jurisdictions had 50+ filings in 2014 but fewer than 50 in 2023: Baltimore City, Md.; Newport News, Virg.; Middlesex, Mass.; Northampton, Penn.; and Harris, Texas.

Several top jurisdictions mirrored overall trends. Total filings nationwide decreased 29% between 2014 and 2023. During that same period, filings in Madison County, Ill.; New York, N.Y.; and Los Angeles, Calif., decreased similarly — by 25%, 26% and 27%, respectively.

Other jurisdictions varied from national trends, with either increases or decreases. For example, of the top jurisdictions, St. Clair County, Ill., had a major increase in filings – from 84 filings in 2014 to 591 in 2023. Smaller increases occurred in Allegheny, Penn., and San Francisco, Calif., where filings went from 53 in 2014 to 71 in 2023 and 50 to 82, respectively.

Other top jurisdictions had significant decreases in filings over the period. The largest nominal decrease was in Baltimore City, Md., which was the second-ranked jurisdiction in 2014, with 523 filings, but ranked 24th in 2023, with 19 filings – a 96% decrease. This was almost exclusively due to a dramatic decrease in filing activity by The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos. Filings in New Castle, Del., decreased by more than 300 lawsuits (86%) in 2023 compared to 2014 – mostly attributable to fewer lawsuits filed there by Weitz & Luxenberg and Napoli Shkolnik. Madison County, Ill., the epicenter of asbestos filings in recent years, also experienced a decrease of nearly 300 filings (25%) over the 10-year period. Most of the main plaintiff firms filing in Madison County during the period decreased the number of lawsuits they filed in that venue. The exceptions were The Gori Firm and Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, which each filed about 40 more lawsuits in 2023. Along with these, St. Louis, Mo.; Wayne County, Mich.; and New York, N.Y., all had between 100 and 150 fewer lawsuits in 2023 than in 2014.


Figure-3 shows filings for 2014-2023 for the top five jurisdictions based on total filings over the period. Of them, only St. Clair County experienced an upward trend in filings – increasing by 56 filings per year, on average, over the period. Filings in Philadelphia were constant, on average, over the period — with an average increase of one additional lawsuit per year. New York City filings have also remained consistent over the decade — decreasing, on average, by 12 filings per year between 2014 and 2023. However, between 2020-2023, the average decrease was just one lawsuit per year.

In contrast, the other two jurisdictions — Baltimore City and Madison County — have been decreasing over time. Baltimore City experienced an uptick in filings in 2015, before filings began to dramatically decrease in 2016. The average decrease in filings between 2015 and 2020 in this jurisdiction was 122 fewer lawsuits per year. The decline leveled out again in 2021, with filings decreasing by 12 lawsuits per year on average for 2020-2023 and total cases declining to fewer than 20 per year.

Madison County filings have varied more than other jurisdictions, with annual changes ranging from 118 filings to 213 filings. Overall, filings there were 1,293 at the peak in 2016 and down to 905 in 2023. That volatility evened out between 2014 and 2020 – the average change per year was zero filings. In more recent years, filings in Madison County decreased by 99 lawsuits per year, on average, from 2020-2023 — resulting in filings decreasing by 33 lawsuits per year on average from 2014 to 2023. Madison County filings were still 1.5 times higher than the next highest jurisdiction in 2023. In 2014, Madison filings were more than double the next highest jurisdiction’s total.

Stay tuned for more posts as KCIC continues to perform analyses and comparisons for various variables over the 10-year period of asbestos litigation!

Megan Burns

About Megan Burns

Megan Burns combines her broad technical skills with an ability to lead client teams on a variety of projects. For example, she helps clients deploy KCIC’s Ligado Platform for claims management — helping manage their mass-tort data, especially in the asbestos personal injury arena.

Learn More About Megan