Lex Machina Releases 2022 Surety Bond Litigation Report

December 08, 2022

Surety bond litigation cases, including Miller Act cases, dropped to the lowest number in a decade in 2021, while total amount of damages awarded remained generally steady over the past ten years


Menlo Park, CA — Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, today releases its Surety Bond Litigation Report. The report examines trends in surety bond litigation, which are comprised of bonded construction contracts in which either (1) an obligee is claiming against a construction bond or a Miller Act bond, (2) a principal or obligee is asserting a breach of construction contract claim, or (3) a surety is alleging a breach of indemnity agreement against the principal and its indemnitors. It focuses on the five-year period from 2017 to 2021 and surveys emerging trends in case filings, venues, judges, law firms, parties, timing metrics, case resolutions, findings, and damages. The report often focuses on different sets of data, e.g., filtering cases in order to provide analytics on cases with claims under the Miller Act.

“We’re excited to release this report, which is significant in two key ways,” said Kristal Mendoza-Bautista, Lex Machina's surety bond legal data expert and editor of the report. “One, it highlights data and analytics from one of our newest federal practice areas. Two, the insights themselves were intriguing - we could see the effect of various events on case filing trends, and we could see the predominance of specific insurance companies and counsel in the lists of the most active parties and law firms.”

Findings from the report include:

  • Since 2012, the number of surety bond cases have declined steadily to 409 cases filed in 2021, the lowest number of any year in the past decade.
  • The most active district court for surety bond litigation over the last five years was the District of Maryland.
  • Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America was both the most active plaintiff and the most active defendant in surety bond cases filed from 2017 to 2021.
  • Krebs Farley & Dry represented plaintiffs in the highest number of surety bond cases over the past five years, while Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald represented defendants in the highest number of cases during the same period.
  • The median time to termination was 294 days for surety bond cases terminated from 2017 to 2021.
  • For surety bond cases that were resolved on substantive grounds, claimants won 11 times more often than claim defendants, primarily on default judgment and summary judgment.
  • The highest total damages awarded in surety bond litigation over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021 was in the category of Contract Damages with $541 million in damages.

Lex Machina’s reports and software enable practitioners to devise data-driven litigation strategies. The metrics in this report can help readers decide who to pursue as clients, whether to file a particular motion, or when to settle (and for how much). This research supplements traditional legal research and anecdotal data for a competitive edge in court.

Register here for a copy of the report:

Surety Bond Litigation Report Webcast
Lex Machina is hosting a webcast to discuss the report on December 8, 2022 at noon ET/9am PT with John Fouhy (Senior Surety Counsel at Travelers Insurance), Kristal Mendoza-Bautista (Lex Machina’s Legal Data Expert in Surety Bond Litigation), and Aria Nejad (Lex Machina’s in-house counsel). Register for the event or view a recording: https://pages.lexmachina.com/2022-Surety-Bond-Report-Webcast_LP.html


About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional® provides legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics that help customers increase their productivity, improve decision-making, achieve better outcomes, and advance the rule of law around the world. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 150 countries with 10,500 employees worldwide, is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

About Lex Machina
Lex Machina fundamentally changes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. The company provides strategic insights on judges, lawyers, law firms, parties, and other critical information across 20 federal practice areas and a rapidly growing number of state courts. Lex Machina allows law firms and companies to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.
Lex Machina was named “Greater Bay Area Top Workplaces 2022” (The San Francisco Chronicle Top Workplaces in the Bay Area 2022), “Legal Tech Company of the Year 2021" (CIO Review, 2021), “2021 Legal Technology Trailblazer” (National Law Journal Trailblazer Awards, 2021), Winner of the “Media Excellence” Award for Analytics/Big Data (13th Annual Media Excellence Award, 2021). Based in Silicon Valley, Lex Machina is part of LexisNexis, a leading global provider of legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics. For more information, please visit www.lexmachina.com.