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Trends in Summary Judgment Practice: A Preliminary Analysis

Joe S. Cecil, George W. Cort, D. Dean P. Miletich
November 1, 2001
Available Online Only

The drop in trial rate in civil cases over the past three decades prompts many hypotheses about the cause. One possible explanation is an increase in dispositive motions, especially motions for summary judgment. The Center has collected information on dispositive motions in cases terminated in six federal district courts during 1975, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1995 and 2000. This preliminary analysis examines changes in summary judgment practice.