Founded in 1865, the Eastern District of New York is one of the busiest federal district courts in the country. At the time, it held session over New York, Kings, Queens and Suffolk counties, as well as sharing jurisdiction with the Southern District of New York over the state’s waters. Today it covers the New York City boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau, and Suffolk counties on Long Island in addition to its shared jurisdiction over New York’s waters. This analysis examines all civil cases filed in the district from January 2019 through May 2023.
Over that time period, overall case numbers have held relatively consistent, as have those of the four most common case types: 465 Other Immigration, 710 Other Fair Labor Standards Act, 480 Consumer Credit, and 446 Other Americans with Disabilities Act. Official definitions of these Nature of Suit (NOS) codes can be found here.
However, case numbers have increased since 2021 almost certainly due to a rise in immigration cases. In fact, the Eastern District of New York is the top district in the country for filing immigration suits, and similar upticks are occurring in federal districts across the country.
Looking at these suits in detail, their top target is Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Following him is United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, and director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ur Jaddou. It should be noted that the depicted case counts are likely higher than actual, since alternate phrasing of these parties, such as Alejandro Mayorkas and Mayorkas, are counted as two parties.
The plurality of these cases are brought by four law firms: Jia Law Group; the Law Offices of Wei GU, Esq.; The Yerman Group; and the Law Office of Adedayo Idowu. The Law Offices of Wei GU, Esq and the Law Office of Adedayo Idowu seem to be most affected by this uptick in cases, though in fact all of their cases numbers are highly correlated with each other, excepting the specific comparison between those of The Yerman Group and the Law Office of Adedayo Idowu. This suggests that all of these firms are riding the same wave while not being in direct competition. However, it is worth mentioning that while these four firms have been the most active, they represent only a small fraction of the total litigation in this sector. The majority of these cases seem to be brought by small boutique firms.
Moving onto Other Fair Labor Standards Act litigation, the Eastern District of New York is the third busiest district for all labor litigation, and the busiest for this specific NOS code. These cases are largely small individual plaintiffs against individual defendants or businesses. There are also no particularly prominent firms representing defendants, excepting Jackson Lewis, and even then, they are involved in fewer than 1% of all 710 cases in the district. The three most prominent firms representing plaintiffs are Helen F. Dalton & Associates, Abdul Hassan Law Group, and Michael Faillace. Of these, only the first seems to closely follow district-wide monthly trends and all pull from independent pools of clients.
The Eastern District of New York is the second busiest district court when it comes to Consumer Credit cases, though 480 cases have been on the decline in the district. These are again largely brought by individual persons, though a near majority target four companies: Equifax Information Services, Experian Information Solutions, TransUnion, and Midland Credit Management. Of these, only Midland Credit Management appears to significantly follow district-wide case number trends. Experian’s case numbers also seem to correlate with those of Experian and TransUnion, though it is unclear from this data whether this is coincidence or indicative of similar underlying dynamics.
The top firms representing 480 defendants in the district are Jones Day, Schuckit & Associates, and Clark Hill. None of their monthly case numbers are associated with those across the district, and those of Barshay Sanders and Stein Saks are significantly positively correlated, suggesting they draw from similar pools of clients but do not directly compete with each other.
Barshay Sanders, Stein Saks, Barshay Rizzo & Lopez, and the now closed Cohen & Mizrahi represent the plurality of plaintiffs in these Consumer Credit cases, but Barshay Rizzo & Lopez is a reformation of some of the attorneys who worked at Barshay Sanders. Barshay Sanders, Stein Saks, and Barshay Rizzo & Lopez all had case numbers that closely followed those district-wide but only those of Barshay Rizzo & Lopez and Stein Saks were significantly correlated. These firms might draw from similar, but distinct pools of clients.