The effects of the Supreme Court’s rules on summary judgment and pleading requirements on case outcomes

Lawyers for consumers and other plaintiffs have long complained that the Supreme Court's cases making summary judgment and dismissal easier to obtain have had adverse effects on their clients. That's not surprising. (For instance, it is the plaintiff who will be on the losing end of a successful motion to dismiss.) Now, law professors Kevin Clermont and Theodore Eisenberg have published an empirical study, Plaintiphobia in the Supreme Court, which concludes that the Supreme Court's rulings have in fact hurt plaintiffs. Here is the abstract:

Through the years debate has raged over whether the Supreme Court’s summary judgment trilogy and Twombly-Iqbal pleading decisions had significant practical effects. To address that question, this article introduces a new empirical measure: the difference between the pretrial-adjudication judgment rates for the defendant and for the plaintiff. Plotting that rates’ difference over time suggests that the cases on summary judgment and pleading, which were far and away the two most major alterations of pretrial disposition during the last three decades, had a markedly anti-plaintiff impact.

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