Trials Down, Summary Judgments Up

Federal trials are decreasing at the same time the number of lawsuits filed has quintupled.

Only 1.3 percent of civil lawsuits filed in federal courts ended in trials last year, down from 11.5 percent in 1962, according to the New York Times (sub. req.).

Part of the reason for the decline is a big increase in summary judgments, the newspaper says. One law professor contends such decision-making violates the Seventh Amendment right to jury trial.

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