21st Century Civil Justice System: Measuring innovation
“Complex litigation” is the category of cases requiring more intensive judicial management. Complexity may be determined by multiple parties, multiple attorneys, geographically dispersed plaintiffs and defendants, numerous expert witnesses, complex subject matter, complicated testimony concerning causation, procedural complexity, complex substantive law, extensive discovery, choice of law, requisites of a class-certification order, complex damage determinations, diversity, and res judicata implications for plaintiffs not within the proposed class. Mass torts and class actions are examples of two types of well-known complex actions.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
State laws and court rulings have combined to erect roadblocks at the doors of Wisconsin courthouses, placing strict limits on who can sue for medical malpractice, how much money they can collect and where the money will come from.
This joint project by the National Center for State Courts, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, and the Federal Judicial Center is meant to help both state and federal judges understand the problems facing the judiciary today, including budget constraints, docket congestion, and staffing limitations. By achieving such an understanding, judges in both systems will be in a position to develop the joint communication and cooperation necessary to manage some of the most challenging cases. The suggestions and recommendations in this guide resulted from an unprecedented collaboration of ten veteran federal and state judges. Their decades of experience in managing complex, multijurisdiction litigation provide valuable lessons in the art of judicial cooperation as described in this resource. This website is not intended as a comprehensive treatment of this important topic, but rather as a brief overview and a prompt to begin communication.
Although authorities have long approved of efforts to coordinate discovery between state and federal courts in mass litigation, practical resources for practitioners looking to implement coordination in practice have been scant. State-federal coordination efforts are often informal and not captured in reported cases. But a joint effort of experienced state and federal jurists published a recent guide on multijurisdictional litigation, the "Multijurisdiction Litigation Guide," complete with an inventory of best practices and sample pleadings and orders. Practitioners should take heed of this important new resource.
This study offers comparative analysis of how major judicial ethics codes in the United States of America address four ethical considerations that can arise in the context of judicial cooperation in the management of multi-jurisdiction cases. It also offers charts showing correspondence and similarity between state code sections and model code sections, as well as tables showing the relevant sections of each state code concerning the four ethical considerations.
This report was compiled to ensure that the New York Judiciary continues to help the State retain its role as the preeminent financial and commercial center of the world. The recommendations cover a range of matters from docket and procedural reform, to judicial support and engagement, to mediation and arbitration.
This study provides data on the scope, characteristics, and outcomes of medical malpractice litigation comparing a sample of 12 state courts experiences.
This resource provides valuable information regarding how to manage cases within the context of multidistrict litigation. Recommendations cover topics such as certified orders, a master docket, required notifications, transfer of cases, and customizing litigation systems.
Discusses results of a study of Delaware, which has adopted the Daubert test in its entirety.
This article provides general ideas and suggestions for caseload management in the context of the most common types of procedural environments in state courts.
Discusses the use of private judging in California in various types of cases, including complex civil cases.
Federal Lawyer. Vol. 60, Issue 2, Page 38.
The Hon. Jack Zouhary stresses that the best case management practices relate to balance. He recommends that judges take a hands-off approach when experienced lawyers are working together effectively and a more involved approach when clients or the lawyers themselves are not "behaving." Among other points, he emphasizes that each case needs to be viewed uniquely, counsels need to cooperate, and an agreed-upon, firm trial date, allows for the most efficiency.
This curriculum was designed to assist state trial judges in developing and presenting educational programs for their colleagues.
Summarizes findings from Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties.
This report examines the Center for Complex Litigation Pilot Program in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, Orange, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Francisco counties.
Duke University School of Law.
Alexander's all-encompassing introduction to class-action suits explains how the existence of such suits not only helps consumers but also government agencies and lawyers. They ensure that customers get justice, give lawyers an entrepreneurial opportunity, and help government agencies enforce laws. Alexander divides the suits into broad types including Consumer Rights, Securities and Antitrust, Environmental, Mass Torts, and Civil Rights. He also explains a few drawbacks including the potential for conflicts of interest or over-litigation.
The focus is on civil cases generally (both contract and tort), but case types examined include medical malpractice, products liability, and asbestos. See especially the section on asbestos (pg. 3).
This report includes a review of the history of asbestos and toxic tort litigation in Delaware. Issues examined include joinder, trial scheduling, disclosure and summary judgment. The report concludes with several recommendations.
Despite the absence of legislative action, this author explains that the tort system has not remained completely resistant to change, largely due to court-based efforts to alter existing rules and procedures in order to reform tort litigation.
Includes case management policies adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
This paper examines case management issues that arose in the recent Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) litigation.
While the focus is on federal courts, the Manual's approach to management of complex cases is a useful resource for those in similar proceedings, in the states. (KF8900 .M35 2004).
Outlines the competing and often "fundamentally incompatible" strategies of players in the mass tort dynamic--plaintiffs' lawyers, defense lawyers, and state and federal judges.
Experience: Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, Vol 25, No 1
Dixon and Allen argue that as technology changes, courts must continue to change with it. Citing an incident in the San Diego Superior Court, where the office had run out of physical storage space for trial presentation material, the need for a shift to the compact digital world is greater than ever before. Among other themes, Dixon and Allen predict that clients will want lawyers who are well-versed in technology, e-filing will become the norm, and virtual hearings and trials will become more accepted.