Thursday, December 25, 2003

New Study disputes "Lawsuit Explosion"

In 1962, the study of Federal Trials says, 11.5 percent of all civil cases in federal court went to trial. By last year, that number had dropped to 1.8 percent. And even though there are five times as many lawsuits today, the raw number of civil trials has dropped, too. They peaked in 1985 at 12,529. Last year, 4,569 civil cases were tried in federal court.
"What's documented here," William G. Young, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Boston, said in a telephone interview, "is nothing less than the passing of the common law adversarial system that is uniquely American."
The Federal Trial Court study, based on data compiled by the federal court system, was prepared by Marc Galanter, who teaches law at the University of Wisconsin and the London School of Economics, for the American Bar Association.
"This is a cultural shift of enormous significance," said Arthur Miller, a law professor at Harvard.

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