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FJC Directions, No. 1

Barbara Meierhoefer, Joe S. Cecil
April 1, 1991
In Print: Available for Distribution

A magazine that reported Center research and education activities in a concise format. In this issue of FJC Directions:

  • Observations from the Pilot Sentencing Institute for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, by Barbara S. Meierhoefer, page 3
  • Trends in Summary Judgment Practice: A Summary of Findings, by Joe S. Cecil, page 11. A second assessment of changes in summary judgment practice (see Summary Judgment Practice in Three District Courts). This study, examining practices in six federal district courts across a 14-year period, found that the percentage of cases with motions for summary judgment varies greatly by district and type of case. In torts and civil rights cases, motions for summary judgment have increased since 1975, whereas in prisoner cases they have dropped sharply. No increases in such motions were found since a series of decisions by the Supreme Court in 1986 clarifying the standards for summary judgment. Summary judgments are reversed at a rate that is similar to that of other civil appeals, and usually on an interpretation of substantive law rather than an overlooked material fact.