The Curious Incident of the Falling Win Rate

28 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2017 Last revised: 8 Jul 2017

Alexandra D. Lahav

University of Connecticut - School of Law

Peter Siegelman

University of Connecticut - School of Law

Date Written: July 7, 2017

Abstract

For 40 quarters starting in 1985, the plaintiff win rate in adjudicated civil cases in Federal courts fell almost continuously, from 70 percent to 35 percent, where it remained—albeit with increased volatility—for the next 15 years. We explore, and largely reject, several possible explanations for this surprising finding. Although the reason for the falling win rate remains a mystery, we conclude that courts may need to justify decisions not only in individual cases, but at a systemic level.

Keywords: civil procedure, win rate

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Lahav, Alexandra D. and Siegelman, Peter, The Curious Incident of the Falling Win Rate (July 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2993423 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2993423

Alexandra D. Lahav

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States

Peter Siegelman (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States
860-570-5238 (Phone)
860-570-5242 (Fax)

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