Lies, Damned Lies and Court Statistics…

by Daniel Schwartz on August 27, 2008

Hartford, CT likes to count Mark Twain as one of its native sons; for those planning your next vacation to Hartford, his old house is designed to evoke a steamship. Among the quotes attributed to him (but actually cribbed from Disraeli) is: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

I wonder what he’d think of the latest statistics about case filings and dispositions in our federal courts. [Update: The statistics were just released on August 20th.]  We just got our printed version in the office on Friday (and the stats are now available here online). Could the days of “Overlawyered” be numbered with an actual decline in certain types of lawsuits? Nah, but some of the numbers sure are curious.

In Connecticut, for example, new lawsuits are down over 20 percent in the last ten years or so. Employment discrimination lawsuits are down almost 25 percent nationwide since 2000.

But as Twain hinted, stats aren’t always what they seem. While certain areas have seen decreases, others have seen increases. Wage & hour claims are up 25 percent since 2000 and claims filed in parts of Florida have skyrocketed over the last year or so.

So, is litigation up or down in federal courts? Yes and no. It just depends how you crunch the numbers.

{ 1 comment }

1 Michele 10.04.08 at 10:52 pm

Pro Se Fraud

I would never lie to a Superior Court Judge or a District Attorney. But I have seen people absolutely try to collect off people financially in these courts by lying. Not only does it hurt the people involved it almost destroys the case itself. And when you are trying to help someone who really needs the help and is innocent this is just plain criminal. I have seen this in Small Claims, Civil and Family Law courts. This is an insult to the person who is paying large amounts of money for information and legal fees. The last case I was in was absolutely disgusting. Due to the dishonesty of the litigants it was turned over to law enforcement. If people can’t tell the truth about material evidence and try and use doctored documents, don’t acknowledge documents they clearly signed themselves and try to threaten and bully others to pay their way I think the court should take exception to this with their own set of threats. This is ludicrous.

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