Revisiting Eisenberg and Plaintiff Success: State Court Civil Trial and Appellate Outcomes
26 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2015 Last revised: 29 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 28, 2015
Legal cases that reach an appellate outcome are a filtered subset of underlying trials and legal disputes. Selection effects inform much of the case filtering. This makes it difficult to study the legal system by observing the outcomes of appealed cases. Prior research on federal civil cases found a correlation between plaintiff success in pretrial motions and at trial. Our study of state civil cases, however, did not find any significant correlation between a plaintiff's success at trial and in preserving that trial victory on appeal. Important differences between the nature of the relation between pretrial motions and trials and trials and appeals likely contribute to our results. Our results imply that a plaintiff’s decision to pursue litigation to a trial court conclusion is analytically distinct from the plaintiff’s decision to defend an appeal of its trial court win brought by a disgruntled defendant.
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