Federal District-Court Civil Trials
Completed Trials

This page utilizes a database of about 5 million federal district-court civil cases terminated over the last 22 fiscal years. The data were gathered by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, assembled by the Federal Judicial Center, and disseminated by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.

When any civil case terminates in federal district court, the court clerk transmits a form to the Administrative Office containing information about the case. The form includes data regarding the subject matter category (such as branches of tort, contract, civil rights, and other areas of law), the jurisdictional basis, the amount demanded, the case's origin in the district as original or removed or transferred, the dates of filing and termination in the district, the procedural stage of the case at termination (including whether it was tried by judge or jury), the procedural method of disposition, and, when a judgment was entered, who prevailed and any amount awarded in damages or other relief.
(To get further information that should help in defining the critical terms, you can click on the highlighted terms or go to the 210KB ICPSR civil codebook.)

We have used the database in several articles. This page makes the database available to you for performing certain statistical analyses.

  1. First, you specify the set of cases you want to examine.
  2. Second, you indicate what operations you want to perform on that data set.

For the time being, to keep computer usage under control, you are limited to cases fully tried.


First, let's define the particular data set that interests me.

federal civil cases in the case category or categories of: Terminated during the calendar year or years of

in the district or districts of

I want to focus on cases resting on the jurisdictional basis of

and coming to the district court by way of

I am interested in


Notes on Specifying the Data Set:

On some browsers, e.g., Netscape for UNIX, you must click on the default choice to turn it off. On other browsers, clicking on any other choice will turn off the default. You can tell what you have selected by looking at which selections are highlighted.

Where multiple selections for a particular variable make sense, you may select more than one from the scrollable list by disengaging the default choice and then holding the control-key or Apple-key down while clicking on your selections.

If "all" or some other general grouping has been chosen together with any included subset of the selection variable--e.g., all districts and NDNY have been chosen--only the output for the grouping is generated. If you want output for a subset, do not select the more general grouping.

For the case categories, we have shown the Administrative Office's code number as well as the category name. The output will use only the code number. So, note the codes for the categories that interest you, or download a list of category names and numbers after clicking here.


Second, given the selected data set, I would like to know:
FREQUENCY:

  • the number of such cases.

DURATION:

  • the time on the docket, being the mean, median, and standard deviation of the time from filing to termination for such cases that show filing and termination dates.
JUDGMENTS:
  • the number of such cases that went to judgment (either for plaintiff or for defendant but not for both or for party unknown)--and the win rate or percentage of plaintiff wins among such judgments.
  • the breakdown by type of relief in cases in which judgment went for plaintiff and for which the type of plaintiff's relief was specified.
AMOUNTS DEMANDED:
  • the mean, median, and standard deviation of the amount demanded, in then current dollars, in those cases showing a positive dollar demand.
  • the mean, median, and standard deviation of the amount demanded, in 2000 dollars using the CPI, in those cases showing a positive dollar demand.
AMOUNTS AWARDED:
  • the mean, median, and standard deviation of the amount awarded, in then current dollars, in those cases yielding judgments for plaintiffs and showing a positive dollar recovery.
  • the mean, median, and standard deviation of the amount awarded, in 2000 dollars using the CPI, in those cases yielding judgments for plaintiffs and showing a positive dollar recovery.
AMOUNTS AWARDED (IN LOGS of DOLLARS):
  • the mean, median, and standard deviation of the amount awarded, in then current log dollars, in those cases yielding judgments for plaintiffs and showing a positive dollar recovery.
  • the mean, median, and standard deviation of the amount awarded, in 2000 log dollars using the CPI, in those cases yielding judgments for plaintiffs and showing a positive dollar recovery.
BASIS FOR AGGREGATION:
  • The default output will aggregate results by case category.
    If
    you would like cases aggregated on another available basis, select it here:

REGRESSION ANALYSIS:

For those with statistical training, specify
a dependent variable:
Specify an explanatory variable:

 
Copyright © 2002 by Theodore Eisenberg & Kevin M. Clermont
Cornell University
Cornell Law School | Cornell University
Comments to ted@teddy.law.cornell.edu
Last updated: September 4, 2002