Author: Date: 06.05.20

Just how current is the information on the CCLT website?

We identify federal cases and some state cases using Lex Machina’s amazing legal analytics for insurance litigation platform.  They generally pick up cases within a few hours of filing, but our coding process runs a couple weeks behind that.

We are only about one week behind for the state court cases we can find, but we know that we’re not finding them all.  See FAQ below about “my case isn’t included.”

What is included in the appeals page?

The appeals page includes only Covid BI coverage cases. There are four elements to the appeals page: the state appellate court map, the table of decided appeals, the tables showing the counts of state and federal court appeals, and the table of all pending and decided appeals.  Note that any table column that has up and down arrows at the top can be sorted. 

Why do you only have a map showing the state court appeals?

Insurance law is state law.  So the state appellate courts are where the action is.  The federal courts made a collective decision to race ahead and, with only a very few exceptions, make Erie guesses about the Covid BI coverage questions rather than certifying to the state courts.  Until we hear from the state courts, we won’t know whether the federal courts’ Erie guesses are correct.

What is included in the trial court rulings page?

There are three elements to the trial court rulings page:  the pie chart, the box score, and the table of decisions.  The pie chart displays the results of merits-based orders on motions to dismiss, to date only in business interruption cases.  A merits-based order on a motion to dismiss evaluates whether the complaint adequately alleges a cause of action for coverage.  The box score displays those same results plus the results of orders on motions for summary judgment. 

Only the most recent decision from a case is included in the pie chart and the box score.  So, for example, if a judge dismisses a complaint without prejudice, the plaintiff files an amended complaint, and the judge then dismisses the case with prejudice, only the second order is counted for the pie chart and box score.

The table includes all the merits based orders, not just the most recent order in a case.  That’s why there are more orders in the table than reflected in the pie chart and box score.  The table no longer includes reports and recommendations issued by a magistrate judge.

What information does the CCLT dataset contain?

Insurance Law Analytics is tracking property casualty insurance coverage litigation related to the Covid 19 pandemic.  For each case, we collect the name and industry code of the policyholder(s) seeking coverage, the name and AM Best number of the insurer(s) involved, the court in which the case is being litigated, the docket number, the law firms involved, the nature of the coverage sought, the type of insurance policy at issue, the specifics of any class action allegations, and information related to case events like answers, motions, and major orders.  When we can obtain a copy of the insurance policy (or when we can identify this information from the complaint), we also collect the specific standard insurance policy forms that the parties allege are relevant to the dispute, the producer listed on the policy, and the state of issue.  In addition, we categorize the insurance forms based on relevant provisions (e.g. business income causal requirements, exclusions, affirmative coverage).  

Why are the weekly and cumulative filing charts behind the CCLT Case List?

Everything on the CCLT website updates dynamically and continually with the database EXCEPT the weekly and cumulative filing charts.  We update those charts every week or so.  In the meantime you can always get a total case count by consulting the CCLT Case List, but please recognized that this count can be inflated slightly because one or more of the “new” cases may be a duplicate, such as a case that was recently removed to federal court.  

My case isn’t included in the CCLT Case List.  Why?

If your case was filed in federal court more than two weeks ago, your case may be one of the very few not picked up by Lex Machina.  If your case was filed in state court, the situation is very different. Lex Machina covers some state courts, but not all. There isn’t any database with comparable nationwide coverage even of state court dockets, so we expect to miss lots of state cases.  

Either way, if your case is missing, please send us an email: CCLT@law.upenn.edu. Please include the case name, court, and docket number and, if you have it, a copy of the complaint. 

How do you identify state court cases?

We start with lists of cases compiled by Westlaw’s CourtWire and by Courthouse News and supplement those lists using Bloomberg Law, Google searches, the (limited) state court database in Lex Machina, and networking to identify state court cases.  Because of the fragmented and incomplete nature of state court electronic filing and data sharing, this system is imperfect.  So we need you to tell us about cases we are missing.  Email us: CCLT@law.upenn.edu.

Who is coding the cases in the CCLT dataset?

University of Pennsylvania and University of Connecticut law students trained by Professor Tom Baker are coding the cases.  The CCLT team (past and present) includes Sean Bender, Nicolas Berube, Sean Bissey, Nikki Bourassa, Quan Dao, Meghan Diamond, Meeghan Dooley, JJ Dunn, Brennan Durr, Robert Eaton, George Eichelberger, Jordan Einstein, Lauren Elia, Claire Fitzgibbons, Sarah Frostbutter, Sean Grishpan, Jay Hauser, Andrew Higgins, Kamryn Jackson, Victoria James, Madison Kirton, Joseph Ledereich, Brendan Liberati, William Lyoo, William McCarter, Sager Moritzky, Gabriel Nathans, Matthew Nelson, Eleni Pappas, Keshara Senanayake, Maham Usman, Caitlin Walsh, Miriam Weinstock, Charles Wilber, Xue Yu, Molly Zhang, Noah Zimmerman, and Adam Zwick.  The team also includes Sofia Frascella and Dylan Kirton.