Best of the Best Civil Justice Resources
  • Impact of the FASTAR Pilot Program on Civil Cases in the Superior Court in Pima County
    This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of a pilot project in the Superior Court in Pima County, Arizona.  The pilot project was designed to provide parties in cases valued less than $50,000 to choose to have their case resolved by bench or jury trial rather than compulsory arbitration.  The evaluation found that one-quarter of plaintiffs chose the “Fast Trial” option, and approximately 3% of those cases were eventually disposed by bench or jury trial, fulfilling the program’s expectations that attorneys would gain valuable trial experience.  However, attorney survey responses indicated less positive assessments, especially concerning the fairness of the program rules to plaintiffs and restrictions on the right to appeal from arbitration judgments.

  • Evaluation of a Demonstration Pilot Project of the Civil Justice Initiative, Fulton County Magistrate Court (2019)
    This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of a demonstration pilot project in the Fulton County Magistrate Court (FCMC).  The pilot project was designed to implement and test the impact of recommendations to improve case management practices for high-volume dockets and to improve litigants’ experience with the court system.  Specific improvements included the development and promulgation of informational resources for FCMC litigants; adjustments of court calendars to relieve case backlogs in dispossessory (landlord/tenant) cases; and the development of tools and training for judges and court staff to ensure consistent and accurate case processing.  The reforms reduced time to disposition and litigant agreement that the informational resources were helpful for navigating the court process.  The report concludes with conclusions about the lessons learned from implementing the reforms and recommendations for future efforts.

  • Civil Justice Initiative Pilot Project (CJIPP) Evaluation for 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of McHenry County, Illinois (2019)
    This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of the impact of the Civil Justice Initiative Project (CJIP) in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of McHenry County, Illinois.  CJIP was an ambitious plan to implement all 13 CJI recommendations.  The Court began its process by conducting a landscape assessment of its civil caseload and identifying strengths and weaknesses in civil case processing.  With support from a specially appointed civil case manager, the Court developed civil case pathways for each of the civil calendars.  Court administration also developed technology tools to improve communication with lawyers and litigants, and enhanced case management reports to better inform judges about the status of the pending caseloads.  Too little time has elapsed since CJIP was fully implemented to gauge its long term impact, but initial analyses indicated increased attorney awareness of case movement and deadlines; increased judicial and court staff attention to administrative orders and case reports; increased dialogue and buy-in around active case management; and significantly reduced time to disposition for the pending caseload.  The project also highlighted the importance of judicial leadership and effective communication strategies to ensure stakeholder awareness, understanding, and support for reform efforts.
  • Civil Justice Initiative Pilot Project (CJIPP) Evaluation for Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida (Miami-Dade) (2019)
    This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of the impact of the Civil Justice Initiative Pilot Project (CJIPP) in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida (Miami-Dade).  Implementing Civil Case Management Teams (CCMTs) to support four judges in the Circuit Civil Division resulted in significantly higher case closure rates and reductions in time-to-disposition compared to cases assigned to judges operating with preexisting case management practices.  Most attorneys for CJIPP cases agreed that the program improved civil case management, and CJIPP judges reported that the program removed some of the administrative burden of case management, providing more time to gather information about cases, review case details before hearings or deciding motions, and other case or legal-related tasks.  The report concludes with lessons learned about implementing CCMTs.
  • Oregon: Civil Justice Improvements Committee Report (2018) 
    The Oregon Judiciary's Civil Justice Improvements Task Force studied statewide trial statistics and analyzed each of the 13 recommendations in the CJI's Call to Action: Achieving Civil Justice for All in light of those statistics. The report makes recommendations that include low-cost methods to rebuild the state's judicial and staff training programs.
  • Arizona: Commercial Court Review Committee's Report (2018) 
    This report discusses and makes recommendations concerning the commercial court pilot program in Maricopa County that received overwhelming support from both attorneys and judges.
  • Florida's 11th Judicial Circuit Court: 2018 CJI Pilot Project Performance Report (2018)
    This report analyzes the team case management approach to reduce cost and delay in civil cases in Florida's 11th Judicial Circuit Court. The project utilized highly skilled civil case staffing teams to support the judiciary by providing consistent oversight to ensure that cases were progressing toward resolution in a meaningful way.
  • Arizona: Implementation Challenges: 2018 Revisions to the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure (2018) 
    Hon. Kate Toomey, Hon. Chuck Harrington, and Jodi Knobel Feuerhelm 
    This video and powerpoint presentation, presented at the Arizona Civil Justice Summit in February of 2018, discusses scheduling orders, tiering, discovery limits, and court culture change.
  • Texas: The Impact of the Expedited Actions Rules on the Texas County Courts at Law (NCSC Sept. 2016) 
    Paula Hannaford-Agor and Scott Graves 
    This report analyzes the impact of a rules change in Texas civil cases intended to address the duration, cost, and degree of conflict in discovery, costs associated with mediation, time to disposition, and the length of trials in civil cases.
  • Utah: The Impact of the Revisions to Rule 26 on Discovery Practice in the Utah District Courts (NCSC April 2015) 
    Paula Hannaford-Agor and Cynthia Lee
    This report analyzes the impact of a discovery-practice rule change in Utah's District Courts. In particular, the report discusses the rule change affect on aggregate civil case filings, tier inflation, filing-to-disposition time, and settlement rates.
  • Survey of the Arizona Bench and Bar on the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure (2010) 
    IAALS
    This paper highlights survey findings examining the practical impact of reforms to the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. Perceptions on variations between the Arizona Rules and the FRCP are also explored.
  • Momentum for Change: The Impact of the Colorado Civil Access Pilot Project (Oct. 2014) 
    Corina Gerety and Logan Cornett, IAALS 
    This report is the final iteration of an evaluation of Colorado's Civil Access Pilot Project. The report discusses the effects of the pilot project with respect to time, cost, fairness, discovery, motion practice, and other key aspects of the civil case process.
  • Preliminary Findings on the Colorado Civil Access Pilot Project (2014) 
    Corina Gerety and Logan Cornett
    This report provides a preliminary evaluation of the Colorado Civil Access Pilot Project on Business Actions implementation.
  • Commercial Division Rule Changes will Foster Efficiency and Predictability (Sept. 2014) 
    Margaret Dale and David Jacobson, N.Y. L. J. 
    This article highlights recent and potentially forthcoming changes to New York's Commercial Division Rules. These changes are based on the 2012 report of the Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century and aim to reduce the delay and expense of litigation.
  • Connecticut Civil Re-Engineering Concept Paper (2014)  
    This concept paper outlines focus group suggestions and information for improving the civil litigation process.
  • A Road Map for Action: Lessons from the Implementation of Recent Civil Rules Projects (2013)
    Corina Gerety
    This report discusses key considerations and decision points when implementing civil rules projects, with a focus on the implementation of Colorado’s Civil Access Pilot Project to Business Actions in District Court. 
  • New Hampshire: Impact of the Proportional Discovery/Automatic Disclosure (PAD) Pilot Rules (NCSC 2013)
    Paula Hannaford-Agor, Nicole Waters, Cynthia Lee, Susan Keilitz
    National Center for State Courts researchers evaluate the impact of PAD rule implementation on litigation costs, time to disposition, discovery disputes, and other civil litigation issues in two New Hampshire counties.
  • Reforming the Iowa Civil Justice System (2012)
    Iowa Civil Justice Reform Task Force
    Reforming the Iowa Civil Justice System outlines reforms to “keep Iowa’s civil justice system vital and responsive in the 21st century.” Suggested reforms include targeting discovery processes, exploring ADR options, and piloting specialty courts. 
  • Report and Recommendations to the Chief Judge of the State of New York (2012)
    New York Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century
    The New York Task Force proposes a variety of reforms to the New York Supreme Court Commercial Division. Among these recommendations are increases in monetary thresholds for actions and various procedural reforms. 
  • Texas: Final Report of Task Force for Rules in Expedited Civil Action (2012) 
    Centered on principal issues such as scope of discovery, disclosure, and time limits, this report to the Texas Supreme Court provides a synopsis of Task Force recommendations regarding changes to Texas’ Rules of Civil Procedure. 
  • Suffolk Superior Court Business Litigation Session Pilot Project: Final Report on the 2012 Attorney Survey (2012) 
    Jordan Singer 
    This report presents survey findings on attorney participation in and satisfaction with the Suffolk Superior Court Business Litigation Session in Massachusetts. Survey results are broken down in detail at the conclusion of the report. 
  • Minnesota: Final Report of the Civil Justice Task Force (2011) 
    This report provides a variety of recommendations for improving the administration of the complex civil cases in Minnesota. The report contains appendices that might be useful as source documents for other committees considering civil justice reforms. 
  • New York: Report of the Judicial Improvements Committee (2011)
    This report overviews a pilot project to enact best practices for the management of complex civil cases in the Southern District of New York. 
  • Report and Recommendations of the Supreme Court of Ohio Task Force on Commercial Dockets (2011)
    Applying findings from a multi-year pilot project, the Ohio Taskforce on Commercial Dockets outlines a framework for implementing permanent commercial civil litigation dockets in Ohio’s courts of common pleas. 
  • Implementing a Civil Cover Sheet: The Pennsylvania Experience (NCSC 2011)
    Neil LaFountain, Kim Neives, and Laurie Sacerdote
    An interview of the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Court staff details the process of creating and implementing a statewide civil cover sheet for Pennsylvania’s Court of Common Pleas.
  • Complex Litigation: Key Findings from the California Pilot Program (NCSC 2004)
    National Center for State Courts
    This article describes the major findings of an evaluation of California’s Complex Civil Litigation Pilot Program as well as distinctive features of complex litigation.
  • Reports from the Civil Justice Survey of State Courts (NCSC 1992, 1996, 2001, and 2005)
    The only series that compiles civil litigation data from state courts that is comparable across jurisdictions.
  • Reinvigorating Pleadings (2010) 
    Rebecca Love Kourlis, Jordan Singer, and Natalie Kowlton
    This Denver University Law Review article proposes and explores a fact-based pleading system to improve civil justice access.
  • Impact of the FASTAR Pilot Program on Civil Cases in the Superior Court in Pima County
    This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of a pilot project in the Superior Court in Pima County, Arizona.  The pilot project was designed to provide parties in cases valued less than $50,000 to choose to have their case resolved by bench or jury trial rather than compulsory arbitration.  The evaluation found that one-quarter of plaintiffs chose the “Fast Trial” option, and approximately 3% of those cases were eventually disposed by bench or jury trial, fulfilling the program’s expectations that attorneys would gain valuable trial experience.  However, attorney survey responses indicated less positive assessments, especially concerning the fairness of the program rules to plaintiffs and restrictions on the right to appeal from arbitration judgments.
  • Implementation of the Fast Trial and Alternative Resolution (FASTAR) Pilot Program in Pima County (2018) 
    Administrative Order No. 2017-116
    FASTAR changes the rules governing mandatory arbitration valued less than $50,000. Plaintiffs are required to affirmatively choose either a short trial or mandatory arbitration; plaintiffs who fail to choose one of those options are defaulted into the short trial track. The appendix to this Administrative Order explains the rules of the program and provides forms.
  • Trial by Agreement: How Trial Lawyers Hold the Key to Improving Jury Trials in Civil Cases (2013) 
    Stephen Susman and Thomas Melsheimer, 20(3) Voir Dire 2013
    Two highly regarded litigators describe ways in which trial lawyers can help improve the management of civil jury trials.
  • Short, Summary & Expedited: The Evolution of Civil Jury Trials (NCSC 2012) 
    Paula Hannaford-Agor, Nicole Waters, Amy McDowell, Susan Keilitz, Cynthia Lee
    Case studies informed by stakeholder interviews and secondary research describe the development and operation of six general jurisdiction summary jury trial programs.
  • A Return to Trials: Implementing Effective Short, Summary, and Expedited Civil Action Programs (NCSC October 2012)
    Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
    This report provides an overview of a Short, Summary and Expedited (SSE) program as well as SSE Committee recommendations on implementing and sustaining an SSE program.
  • Data Collection: Civil Justice Survey of State Courts 
    Data from various years (range 1992-2005) provided as part of a systemic evaluation of the nature of civil litigation across the country. Publications using this data can also be found by clicking on the link above.
  • Trial Trends and Implications for the Civil Justice System (NCSC 2005) 
    Paula Hannaford-Agor, Robert LaFountain, Shauna Strickland
    Researchers used data from the 2001 Civil Justice Survey of the State Courts to identify recent trends in civil trials in addition to their causes and possible policy implications.
  • An Empirical Overview of Civil Trial Litigation (NCSC 2005) 
    Robert LaFountain and Neal Kauder
    This articles provides the first synopsis of data gathered in 1992, 1996, and 2001 as part of the Civil Justice Surveys of State Courts. Key findings such as the proportion of jury to bench trials are discussed. 
  • Supplemental Civil Appeals Survey (NCSC)
    As part of the Civil Justice Survey, the National Center for State Courts also gathered information on appellate court practices and procedures across the country. This information is organized both in state profiles and state reports. 
    Profiles    
    Reports

Articles resulting from the supplemental study of civil appeals are as follows:

  • Civil Justice Initiative Pilot Project (CJIPP) Evaluation (2019)
    This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of the impact of the Civil Justice Initiative Pilot Project (CJIPP) in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida (Miami-Dade).  Implementing Civil Case Management Teams (CCMTs) to support four judges in the Circuit Civil Division resulted in significantly higher case closure rates and reductions in time-to-disposition compared to cases assigned to judges operating with preexisting case management practices.  Most attorneys for CJIPP cases agreed that the program improved civil case management, and CJIPP judges reported that the program removed some of the administrative burden of case management, providing more time to gather information about cases, review case details before hearings or deciding motions, and other case or legal-related tasks.  The report concludes with lessons learned about implementing CCMTs.
  • Tiering: Why and How (2018) 
    Don Bivens and Hon. Jeffrey Bergin
    This video and powerpoint presentation, presented at the 2018 Arizona Civil Justice Summit, discusses Arizona's attempt to build proportionality into their civil case management system through tiering and the discovery limits associated with each tier.
  • Working Smarter Not Harder: How Excellent Judges Manage Cases (2014)
    Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
    This report 1) discusses the findings from an interview portion of a study on civil pretrial management techniques that might reduce costs and delays and 2) aims to provide proven techniques for efficient civil pretrial case management.
  • Case Triage for the 21st Century (NCSC 2011) 
    Thomas Clarke and Victor Flango
    This article proposes a more refined "triage" approach to case management in the 21st century. Under the new approach, differentiated case management efforts should focus more on the issues raised by a case rather than the case type. 
  • Model Time Standards for State Trial Courts (NCSC 2011) 
    National Center for State Courts
    Based on a review of existing time-to-disposition standards, this document proposes new Model Time Standards in an attempt to "unify the current set of disparate national time standards to the greatest degree."
  • Business Process Automation: Case Studies (NCSC 2013) 
    Larry Webster and John Matthias, NCSC 
    This report documents the three jurisdictions efforts around business process automation and best practices/techniques for implementing automation.  
  • Civil Litigation Management Manual (2010) 
    Judicial Conference of the United States: Committee on Court Administration and Case Management
    This manual addresses a variety of case-management techniques for the cost-effective and timely administration of civil dockets.
  • 21st Century Civil Justice System: A Roadmap for Reform, Civil Caseflow Management Guidelines (2009) 
    Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
    This report presents caseflow guidelines to help jurisdictions achieve efficiencies in civil case management.
  • Improving Caseflow Management: A Brief Guide (2008) 
    David Steelman
    This report details a variety of ways courts can achieve caseflow management improvements.
  • Electronic Case Filing Kicks Off at Orange County Clerk's Office (NCSC 2006)
    J
    ames E. McMillan, NCSC
    Court Technology Bulletin
  • Medical Malpractice Litigation in State Courts (NCSC 2011) 
    Cynthia Lee and Robert LaFountain
    This Caseload Highlights article presents information on the scope, results, and defining characteristics of medical malpractice litigation in the state courts.
  • Medical Malpractice on Appeal (NCSC 2009) 
    Cynthia Lee and Nicole Waters
    Researchers explore the dynamics of appellate medical malpractice litigation, with particular attention paid to the factors influencing a decision to appeal, what the issues are on appeal, and how medical malpractice appeals are resolved.