1992, 1996, 2001, and 2005 Data
The Civil Justice Survey of State Courts helps state courts understand civil litigation by allowing researchers and policy makers to analyze and examine statistical data across the nation. The Civil Justice Survey of State Courts commenced in 1992 and is comprised of four different iterations at the trial level.
The first iteration of the project, from a sample of 45 of the 75 most populous counties in the nation, focused on all civil dispositions at the trial court level. Approximately 30,000 cases were disposed of in 1992, with an in-depth look at approximately 6,500 cases disposed of by jury trial.
The second iteration, conducted in 1996, also collected information from a sample of 45 of the most populous 75 counties in the nation. This iteration, however, narrowed the scope of the examination to only cases that were disposed of by either bench or jury trial. This study included 15,638 bench and jury trials.
The third iteration collected data from trials concluded in 2001 and expanded both of the previous iterations by collecting data from a sample of the 75 most populous counties in the nation. This iteration included a special focus on medical malpractice and product liability cases, including all trials of these types. A sample was drawn from the remaining case types. A supplemental survey was subsequently conducted following these bench/jury trials, in which a notice of appeal was filed through the appellate court process. This study included information from 8,311 trial dispositions that resulted in 1,301 civil appeals. Data on the 1,301 appeals comprised the Supplemental Civil Appeals Study and followed the 2001 trials through the appeals process.
The fourth iteration, comprised in 2005, was the most extensive survey of all four iterations as it covered data from a sample of 160 courts in 156 different counties. It was not restricted to only the most populous counties in the nation. This iteration also included a Supplemental Appeals study. From approximately 25,950 trials (weighted) concluded at the trial level, the Civil Trials on Appeals examined 3,970 cases in which a notice of appeal was filed, and ultimately followed 1,516 of those cases throughout the appeals process.
Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, 2005
This iteration is a significant expansion of previous studies as it includes data from 156 counties, representing a national sample of all counties nationwide. It is based on general civil trials, such as tort, contract, and real estate property cases. This is the first look at civil litigation in rural and suburban jurisdictions. The purpose of the study is to accurately record current trends in civil litigation and inform civil justice concerns such as the medical malpractice litigation, declining trends in jury trial rates, and explore the breakdown of damages to identify compensatory (economic and non-economic) damage and punitive damage amounts. This study significantly expands on the 1992, 1996, and 2001 projects by collecting nationally representative samples of bench and jury trials concluded in 156 urban, suburban, and rural counties.
Civil Trials: Includes data from 26,950 trials (weighted) concluded in 2005 across the nation.
Civil Trials on Appeal: Includes data on 3,970 total appeals, some of which were dismissed or withdrawn, that were appealed to an intermediate court or a court of last resort. Only 1,516 appeals were actually decided on the merits, resulting in either the trial court decision being reversed or affirmed.
Note: Access to these data is restricted by the funding agency, the Bureau of Justice Statistics. If interested in obtaining the data to this study, a Restricted Data Use Agreement form must be completed and is available on the ICPSR website. (Click on this link and then click on Use Agreement under the subheading Access Notes.)
DS1: Jury and Bench Trial Dataset
DS2: Manner of Disposition Dataset
DS3: FPC Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation Program
DS4: JKN Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation Program
DS5: Civil Trials on Appeals
DS6: Profile of Appellate Courts with Civil Jurisdiction
DS7: ADR Caseloads
Supplemental Appeals Data, 2001-2005
In an effort to allow researchers and policy makers to compare appellate data, the NCSC created a Profile Database. The Profile Database includes information on all 50 states regarding how each state handles appeals in each state. The court structure in the United States varies among the states, enabling states to employ different procedural rules. Factors that differ among states include:
· the number of judges sitting on a panel,
· the process of selecting a judge,
· the deadlines for appeals,
· the docketing procedures for appeals,
· the rules for granting oral arguments, and
· the accessibility to e-filing.
All of these factors contribute to the fact that outcomes on appeal and case processing timeliness differs depending on the state’s appellate court structure and procedural rules. The court profiles for each state can be found by either clicking on the state and the respective court, or by comparing court profiles by using the “compare by query” tool.
Note: Most data sets previously described are publicly available on the ICPSR website.
Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, 2001
These data examined general civil cases (torts, contracts, and real property) disposed of by bench or jury trial in the nation's 75 most populous counties in 2001. Information reported includes the type of case, types of plaintiffs and defendants, trial winners, amount of total damages awarded, amount of punitive damages awarded, and case processing time. New in this iteration are data on alternative dispute resolution, post-trial motions, and whether the parties sought appellate review. The sample included all medical malpractice and product liability trials from the selected counties.
This project also included a Supplemental Study of Civil Appeals, 2001, in which all trials with a notice of appeal filed by either party were followed through the appellate court process. The resulting dataset would be the first time that researchers and policy makers would be able to examine appellate characteristics and dispositions for civil trials, but also to compare the characteristics of appeals cases to those of cases that were not appealed, thus providing a fuller and more holistic context in which to consider contemporary issues and problems in civil litigation.
Bench and Jury Trials: Includes data from 8,311 trials concluded in 2001.
Supplemental Study of Civil Appeals: Includes data on 1,301 civil trials in which a notice of appeal was filed in the trial court through its ultimate disposition at the appellate level.
DS1: Main Data
DS2: FPC Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation Program
DS3: JKN Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation Program
DS4: Alternative Dispute Resolution Database [available upon request from Nicole Waters]
DS5: Opinions from Appeals [available upon request from Nicole Waters]
Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, 1996
This iteration explored bench and jury trials from a sample of 45 of the 75 most populous counties in the nation. Based on the previous iteration, this study narrowed the focus to an investigation into cases disposed by trial. Information gathered includes the type of case, the presence of legal representation, the type of litigation, the amount of compensatory damages awarded, the amount of punitive damages awarded, and case processing time.
Bench and Jury Trials: Includes data from 15,638 bench and jury trials concluded in 1996.
DS1: Main Data File for Part 1
DS2: FPC Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation
DS3: JKN Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation
Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, 1992
This survey is the first broad-based, systematic examination of the nature of civil litigation in state general jurisdiction trial courts. The data collection produced two datasets. Part 1, Tort, Contract, and Real Property Rights Data, is a merged sample of approximately 30,000 tort, contract, and real property rights cases disposed during the 12-month period ending June 30, 1992. Part 2, Civil Jury Cases Data, is a sample of about 6,500 jury trial cases disposed over the same time period. Data collected include information about litigants, case type, disposition type, processing time, case outcome, and award amounts for civil jury cases.
Civil Cases: Includes approximately 30,000 tort, contract, and real property cases disposed from 1992. Also, an in-depth look at a sample of 6,500 cases disposed by jury trial.
DS1: Tort, Contract, and Real Property Rights Data
DS2: Civil Jury Cases Data
DS3: FPC Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation for Part 1 Data
DS4: JKN Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation for Part 1 Data
DS5: FPC Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation for Part 2 Data
DS6: JKN Factor for Wesvar PC Variance Estimation for Part 2 Data