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

35 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2013

See all articles by Christina L. Boyd

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 Ristovski

Temple University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2013

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 data set 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 foundation 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.

Suggested Citation

Boyd, Christina L. and Hoffman, David A. and Obradovic, Zoran and Ristovski, Kosta, Building a Taxonomy of Litigation: Clusters of Causes of Action in Federal Complaints (June 2013). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 2, pp. 253-287, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2254180 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12010

Christina L. Boyd (Contact Author)

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

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

David A. Hoffman

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom 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 Ristovski

Temple University ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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