Litigating Civil Cases in State Intermediate Appellate Courts: Analyzing Decisions to Appeal Civil Trial Verdicts or Judgments and the Impact of Appellate Litigation on Trial Court Outcomes
Thomas H. Cohen
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: Office of Probation and Pretrial Services
June 23, 2013
In the civil justice system, litigants can file appeals as a means of challenging or modifying trial court verdicts or judgments. In most states, intermediate appellate courts represent the first, and in many cases, final arbiter of review for civil cases decided by bench or jury trial. While prior research on state appellate courts has focused primarily on civil appeals in state courts of last resort, there have been few attempts to examine the appeals process in state intermediate appellate courts. The current research attempts to address this gap by examining a national sample of tort and contract trials concluded in 2005 that were subsequently appealed. Specifically, this paper explores the factors that are related to (1) the rates in which civil trials are appealed to intermediate appellate courts, (2) the likelihood that a civil appeal will be decided on the merits, and (3) the probability of trial court outcomes being reversed at the intermediate appellate court level. The paper provides a roadmap for better understanding the case and litigant level characteristics that drive key decisions in intermediate appellate courts.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59
Keywords: civil appeals, state intermediate appellate courts
JEL Classification: K41, K12, K13working papers series
Date posted: June 25, 2013
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