Building a Taxonomy of Litigation: Clusters of Causes of Action in Federal Complaints

J. Emp. Leg. Stud. ___ (2013, Forthcoming)

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-23

51 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2012 Last revised: 31 Jul 2016

Christina L. Boyd

University of Georgia - School of Public and International Affairs

David A. Hoffman

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School

Zoran Obradovic

Independent

Kosta Ritovski

Temple University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 14, 2012

Abstract

This project empirically explores civil litigation from its inception by examining the content of civil complaints. We utilize spectral cluster analysis on a newly compiled federal district court dataset of causes of action in complaints to illustrate the relationship of legal claims to one another, the broader composition of lawsuits in trial courts, and the breadth of pleading in individual complaints. Our results shed light not only on the networks of legal theories in civil litigation but also on how lawsuits are classified and the strategies that plaintiffs and their attorneys employ when commencing litigation. This approach permits us to lay the foundations for a more precise and useful taxonomy of federal litigation than has been previously available, one that, after the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009), has also arguably never been more relevant than it is today.

Keywords: complaints, pleadings, Twombly, Iqbal, cluster analysis, causes of action, attorney behavior, network analysis

JEL Classification: K4, K41, C45

Suggested Citation

Boyd, Christina L. and Hoffman, David A. and Obradovic, Zoran and Ritovski, Kosta, Building a Taxonomy of Litigation: Clusters of Causes of Action in Federal Complaints (December 14, 2012). J. Emp. Leg. Stud. ___ (2013, Forthcoming); Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2045733 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2045733

Christina L. Boyd

University of Georgia - School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

David A. Hoffman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Samson Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School

127 Wall St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Zoran Obradovic

Independent

No Address Available

Kosta Ritovski

Temple University ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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