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General Civil Jury Trial Litigation in State and Federal Courts: A Statistical Portrait

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Using data from the Civil Justice Survey of State Courts and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, this article compares general civil (tort, contract, and real property) jury trials concluded in a sample of state courts and all federal district courts in 1992, 1996, and 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 federal courts accounted for a relatively significant minority of product liability trial litigation; (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 in both court systems.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-1461.2008.00134.x

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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