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Reports and 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.

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Why Judges Resign: Influences on Federal Judicial Service, 1789 to 1992

Provides a historical perspective on the reasons federal judges have left the bench. The study focuses on the fewer than 200 judges who, over the last 200 years, resigned from the bench for stated reasons other than age or health. The Center prepared the study for the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal.

January 1, 1993
Voluntary Arbitration in Eight Federal District Courts: An Evaluation

A statutorily mandated report on the pilot court-annexed voluntary arbitration programs in eight federal district courts. The study examines program use in the context of the programs' referral systems. It is a companion to the 1990 FJC study of mandatory court-annexed arbitration programs, Court-Annexed Arbitration in Ten District Courts.

January 1, 1994
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
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
Use of Rule 12(b)(6) in Two Federal District Courts

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows the defense of "failure [of a complaint] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." The Center conducted the study at the request of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States and its reporter, Professor Paul Carrington. After considering the data in the paper at its April 1989 meeting, the Advisory Committee decided not to change Rule 12(b)(6).

January 1, 1989
Use of Expert Testimony, Specialized Decision Makers, and Case-Management Innovations in the National Vaccine Compensation Program

A report on the Center's study of the vaccine injury program. The report examines why the program was created, its implementation, the filing and termination rates over its course, and participants' views of the program. The authors also discuss whether the program structure would be appropriate in other types of cases.

January 1, 1998
Update on Resolution of Rule 12(b)(6) Motions Granted with Leave to Amend: Report to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules

In our March 2011 report, we indicated that following the Supreme Court decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim were granted more frequently with leave to amend the complaint. We also noted that the opportunity to amend the complaint may cure the defect and change the findings of the study. The Advisory Committee asked that we follow the events in the study cases, determine the extent to which the respondents submitted amended complaints, and report the outcome of any subsequent motions to dismiss.

November 1, 2011
Unresolved Intercircuit Conflicts: The Nature and Scope of the Problem, Final Report: Phase I

In section 302 of the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, Congress took steps to address long-felt concerns about the capacity of the federal judicial system to provide, within a reasonable time, a uniform construction of federal law where uniformity is needed. Adopting a recommendation of the Federal Courts Study Committee, Congress asked that the Federal Judicial Center undertake a study to determine "the number and frequency of conflicts among the judicial circuits . . . that remain unresolved because they are not heard by the Supreme Court." The Center asked the author to design and conduct the study. The results of the first phase of the research are presented in this report.

December 1, 1991
Unredacted Social Security Numbers in Federal Court PACER Documents

This report summarizes a Center study of instances of individuals’ unredacted Social Security numbers appearing in documents filed in federal district and bankruptcy courts in November 2013 and available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. The presence of Social Security numbers for approximately 75% of these individuals appears to violate rules adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States. 


October 25, 2015
Unpublished Dispositions: Problems of Access and Use in the Courts of Appeals

A brief analysis of the issue of equitable access to unpublished appellate decisions, based on an examination of the circuit courts' rules and practices regarding distribution and citation of unpublished dispositions. Data on the number and types of unpublished dispositions in statistical years 1981 to 1984 are presented.

January 1, 1985