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Northern District case filings plummet, federal courts report shows

March 15, 2016

Case filings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana fell 43.9 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to statistics released Tuesday in the 2015 Judicial Business of the United States Courts report.

The decline in filings in the Northern District was the second-largest of any of the nation's 94 district courts, trailing only the Southern District of West Virginia, where filings declined by more than 49 percent. Nationally, new federal court civil and criminal case filings declined 5 percent, according to the report.

Kim Cather, case management/electronic case files administrator for the Northern District of Indiana, said the decline in new filings is attributable to deadlines in a multidistrict litigation over a hip-replacement device that produced a spike in filings in 2014 followed by a decline. The suit, In Re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2391, has 1,183 pending cases out of a total of 2,549 filings assigned.

Cather said aside from the statistical anomaly produced by the the MDL filings, regular civil and criminal case filings in the Northern District have been relatively consistent during the past five years.

Meanwhile, case filings in the Southern District of Indiana inched upward last year, according to the report. Overall, new Southern District filings rose 1.5 percent.

The report also shows:

  • Bankruptcy filings continued to decline, down 10.7 percent in 2015 compared to the prior year. The continued decrease in filings marks the fewest bankruptcy petitions since 2007, around the beginning of the Great Recession. The 860,182 bankruptcy filings in 2015 is 42 percent fewer than the number filed in 2011. In Indiana, bankruptcy filings in 2015 compared with 2014 declined 10.3 percent in the Southern District and 7.7 percent in the Northern District.
  • Nationwide, civil case filings in district courts declined 6 percent and there were 1 percent fewer new criminal cases. Appeals to federal circuit courts decreased 4 percent.

Statistics are for the court fiscal year ending Sept. 30. 2015.
 

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