The past two decades have shown us that catastrophes and economic downturns can unleash tidal waves of lawsuits. After the attacks on September 11th, we witnessed a flood of filings that tested the limits of real estate insurance and health coverage policies for businesses and first responders at Ground Zero. Similarly, the Great Recession brought lawsuits against major financial institutions, claims alleging investors and regulators had intentionally been misled for years. What legal actions will the coronavirus pandemic bring?
Coronavirus Enters the Courts
As of May 19, 2020, 1,155 coronavirus-related complaints have been filed in federal and state courts across the United States. New York and California lead the nation with the most filings. However, unlike the Great Recession or the attacks on 9/11, the legal implications for the COVID-19 pandemic are different in their breadth and in their scale. These implications are raising new questions about the meanings of negligence, causation, and liability, terms that had previously been defined and adjudicated in contexts of normality. But what happens when a pandemic creates a new normal?
When it comes to dockets, the holy grail for most of us has always been state trial court dockets. Nicole Clark, CEO and co-founder of Trellis also felt that way when she was practicing, and decided that she would find a way to access and obtain that treasure trove of data that was always just out of reach. Nicole sits down with us this week to tell us the story behind her mission to seek out local court information, clean up the data, and create a method of analyzing that data. As anyone who has ever worked with trial court dockets, you understand how difficult a task this really is.
Nicole says that Trellis is on a mission to add a county court a day and to find additional ways that the information can be sliced, diced, and analyzed with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) processes like natural language processing (NLP) and through upcoming API access. She also walks us through some of the unique ways her customers use the data, and that the value of trial court data isn’t just limited to the legal field. The once elusive state court data is now becoming more and more available through platforms like Trellis, so the opportunities for legal researchers to take advantage of this wealth of information is expanding, literally by the day.
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