Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thomas Cohen on Federal and State Courts

Ssrn_25Thomas Cohen of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has posted a working paper on SSRN entitled Do Federal and State Courts Differ in How They Handle Civil Trial Litigation: A Portrait of Civil Trials in State and Federal District Courts.  Here's the abstract:

Using data from Civil Justice Survey of State Courts and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, this article compares general civil (e.g., tort, contract, and real property) jury trials concluded in a sample of state courts and all federal district courts from 1992-2001. The study's key findings are: (1) that the types of civil cases coming before state and federal juries differ substantially; (2) that overall plaintiff win rates are nearly the same in both state and federal courts; (3) that the damages awarded to plaintiffs in federal courts are substantially higher compared to their state counterparts; (4) that although the vast majority of jury trials take place in the state courts, the proportion of all damage awards accounted for by the federal courts is fairly significant; (5) that state courts took substantially longer to dispose of civil jury trials than federal courts; and (6) that trend data show similar patterns of declining trials and stable plaintiff win rates from 1992-2001 in both court systems.


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