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.