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US corporations and the percentage of their cases in which they are plaintiff, defendant, or non-party (plus state or federal venue)

Data comes recently from a survey that had 367 general counsel who responded and whose company had averaged at least one lawsuit per year for five years. “On average, respondent companies were plaintiffs in 18 percent of their cases, defendants in 70 percent of cases, and non-party respondents in 12 percent of cases.” The finding comes from a survey by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), an organization that is part of the University of Denver. The report, which has excellent methodology, is available online.

I had thought US companies were defendants far more often than this. Partly, however, this finding may be due to the small size of many of the respondents. Large companies may defend cases far more often than initiate cases. It is also surprising to me the relatively high number of cases in which the company is not even a party.

One final fact: “On average, two-thirds of company cases were in state court (66%), while one-third (34%) were in federal court.”