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Reports & Studies

Below is a list of a number of past published studies conducted by the Research Division. Some Center reports are not published or made publicly available due to restrictions in place from the source of the research request. Most research reports can be downloaded and in some instances, a hardcopy publication can be requested. See also Manuals, Monographs, & Guides.

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Report on the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot

This report presents findings from surveys of attorneys participating in the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot (MIDP). The survey asks participating attorneys to evaluate the effects of the MIDP initial disclosures on pilot cases closed in the District of Arizona and the Northern District of Illinois through March 2019.

October 15, 2019
Plaintiff Fact Sheets in Multidistrict Litigation

This report examines the use of plaintiff fact sheets and related case management tools in multidistrict litigation.

March 11, 2019
Report on Pilot Project Regarding Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action

This report is a study of a discovery pilot testing pattern initial disclosures in adverse action employment cases. Compared to a sample of similar cases, pilot cases did not have shorter disposition times but did have fewer discovery motions.

For the 2015 evaluation, see Report on Pilot Project Regarding Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action (October 2015). For the pilot materials, see Pilot Project Regarding Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action (November 2011).

October 19, 2018
Trade Secret Seizure Best Practices Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), Pub. L. No. 114-153, became law on May 11, 2016. It amends 18 U.S.C. § 1836 to create a private right of action for the misappropriation of trade secrets “for which any act occurs on or after the date of the enactment” and where the trade secrets “[are] related to [] product[s] or service[s] used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”  The DTSA directs that, not later than two years after the date of enactment of the Act, the Federal Judicial Center, "using existing resources, shall develop recommended best practices for (1) the seizure of information and media storing the information; and (2) the securing of the information and media once seized."

These trade secret seizure best practices were developed in response to the DTSA’s mandate and are based on the limited initial experience in the federal courts with 18 U.S.C. § 1836(b)(2). They are being circulated prior to the due date of May 11, 2018, so that courts can benefit from having early guidance on the subject matter. The Center will update these best practices as needed.

June 28, 2017
Vertical Consolidation of District Court and Bankruptcy Court Clerks' Offices

A report to the Cost-Containment Subcommittee of the Court Administration and Case Management Committee on six districts with a currently consolidated district court and bankruptcy court clerk's office and three districts that at one time consolidated their district court and bankruptcy court clerks' offices but subsequently deconsolidated the offices. Based on surveys and interviews, the report presents profiles of each study district and identifies factors common to districts in which consolidation was, and was not, sustained. 

April 3, 2017
Report on Federal–State Court Cooperation: A Survey of Federal Chief District Judges

In 2016, at the request of the Judicial Conference Committee on Federal–State Jurisdiction, a survey was sent to all chief federal district judges asking about cooperation with their state judge counterparts. The chief district judges were asked about topics and activities that could benefit from federal–state court cooperation, whether they collaborated with their state judge counterparts on the topics, and whether they were interested in additional cooperation. 

[This report was written and presented to the Committee in 2016, and approved for release in 2017.]

April 3, 2017
Patent Pilot Program: Five-Year Report

The Patent Pilot Program (PPP), a ten-year pilot program addressing the assignment of patent cases in certain U.S. district courts, was established on January 4, 2011, by Pub. L. No. 111-349. At the request of the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, the Federal Judicial Center has been studying the PPP since the program's inception. This midpoint report presents key findings from the first five years of the program, gathering data for all patent cases filed on or after the individual PPP start date designated by each of the 13 current pilot courts through January 5, 2016. In that time, just over 12,000 patent cases were filed in the participating pilot districts.

April 1, 2016
Video Recording Courtroom Proceedings in United States District Courts: Report on a Pilot Project

At the request of the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, the Federal Judicial Center undertook an evaluation of a pilot program allowing video recording of certain civil proceedings in federal district courts. The pilot program, in which participation was voluntary, ran from July 18, 2011, through July 17, 2015, in fourteen pilot courts. The FJC evaluation looked at how the pilot was implemented in each court; the number and type of proceedings and cases recorded; the reasons why some judges and some parties declined to participate;  the experiences and views of judges, attorneys, and court staff who participated in the program; the extent to which recordings were viewed, who viewed them, and why; and the costs of implementing the program. This report describes the research approaches used, limitations of the pilot program and research design, and results from the FJC evaluation.

March 15, 2016
Review of Scientific Literature on the Reliability of Present Sense Impressions and Excited Utterances

This review of scientific literature regarding the reliability of present sense impressions and excited utterances as it pertains to the Federal Rules of Evidence was presented as a memorandum to the Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence.

March 5, 2016
Survey of Harm to Cooperators: Final Report

At the request of the Court Administration and Case Management Committee, the Criminal Law Committee, and the Committee on Defender Service, the FJC surveyed federal district judges, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, federal defenders, Criminal Justice Act (CJA) district panel representative’s offices, and chief probation and pretrial services offices about harm or threat of harm to government cooperators. Respondents reported a minimum of 571 instances of harm to defendants/offenders and witnesses in the past three years. Cases often involved harm to both defendants/offenders and witnesses. Respondents most often reported threats of physical harm to defendants/offenders or witnesses and to friends or family of defendants/offenders or witnesses. Defendants were most likely to be harmed or threatened when in some type of custody, while witnesses were either in pretrial detention or not in custody at the time of harm or threat. Respondents frequently reported court documents or court proceedings as the source for identifying cooperators. Concerns about harm or threat affected the willingness of both defendants/offenders and witnesses to cooperate with the government in the past three years. Overall, respondents generally agreed that harm to cooperators was a significant problem and that more needed to be done to protect cooperators from harm.

February 12, 2016