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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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Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980: A Report to the Chief Justice

The Judicial Conduct and Disability Act 1980 Act authorizes any person to file a complaint alleging that a federal judge has engaged in conduct "prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts." The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, in 2004, responded to criticism from Congress and others about the way in which the Act had been implemented by appointing a committee led by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The committee reviewed several groups of complaint dispositions, including a large sample from 2001-03, and concluded that overall the judiciary is implementing the Act as Congress intended; it also found, however, an unacceptably high number of problematic dispositions among the small number of complaints it examined that had received news coverage or Congressional attention. In reviewing dispositions, the Committee developed and applied standards that take into account the value of protecting judicial independence in making decisions in a case.

The Federal Judicial Center is serving as a repository for the Committee's published report.

The report is also available at 239 Federal Rules Decisions 116.

September 1, 2006
Interim Progress Report on Class Action Fairness Act Study

This interim progress report on the impact of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 was presented to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules on May 22, 2006. The report examines class action filing trends from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2005 in three federal district courts and includes data on the first four months after CAFA went into effect. Future reports will present the results of statistical tests of the impact of CAFA on federal courts across the country.

May 22, 2006
Research on Appeals of Attorney-Fee and Merits Decisions (Fed R Civ P 58(c)(2)) as Presented to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules in May 2006

In early 2006, the Federal Judicial Center examined the prevalence of the use of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58(c)(2), and the circumstances under which appeals of judgments on the merits and decisions regarding attorney fees can occur at the same time. Two resulting memoranda were presented to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules in May 2006.

  • Coinciding appeals of a judgment on the merits and a decision regarding attorney fees, March 7, 2006, 6 pages
  • Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(c)(2), January 30, 2006, 2 pages
May 1, 2006
Report of a Survey of Videoconferencing in the Courts of Appeals

This report describes the ways in which videoconferencing is used in the courts of appeals. Appellate judges with varying degrees of experience with videoconferencing identify advantages and disadvantages of using videoconferencing for oral arguments and other court business, describe the extent to which videoconferencing altered the dynamic between judge and attorney during oral arguments, and report any problems they had encountered in using the technology.

January 1, 2006
Attorney Choice of Forum in Class Action Litigation: What Difference Does It Make?

This article presents a post-Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) discussion and analysis of data presented previously in An Empirical Examination of Attorneys' Choice of Forum in Class Action Litigation (FJC 2005). Data originated from a national random survey of 728 attorneys who represented plaintiffs and defendants in 621 closed class action cases. New discussion centers on the assumptions underlying CAFA about differences in federal and state court treatment of class actions. New data are presented on the types of cases (nature of suit) and the state of filing for survey cases that were originally filed in state court. From 81 Notre Dame Law Review 591 (January 2006).

January 1, 2006
Roundtable on the Use of Technology to Facilitate Appearances in Bankruptcy Proceedings

In August 2005, the Federal Judicial Center, at the request of and with assistance from the Subcommittee on Automation of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System, held a program at which bankruptcy judges discussed the use of distance participation technology to conduct bankruptcy proceedings. At the request of the Committee, the Center prepared this report to summarize the discussions at that program.

A subsequent guide was published: Remote Participation in Bankruptcy Court Proceedings (2017).

January 1, 2006
Citing Unpublished Opinions in Federal Appeals

At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would help the Standing Committee in its consideration of a proposed new Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which would permit attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite the court's unpublished opinions. The Center's research effort consisted of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. The rule, as amended and approved by the Judicial Conference in September 2005 and approved by the Supreme Court in April 2006, applies only to opinions issued in 2007 or later. The rule became effective December 1, 2006.

December 21, 2005
An Empirical Examination of Attorneys' Choice of Forum in Class Action Litigation

This article presents attorney responses to a national random survey of 728 attorneys who represented plaintiffs and defendants in 621 recently closed class action cases. Those cases had been filed in or removed to federal courts, and the article focuses on attorneys' reasons for choosing a state or federal forum. The article also tracks the differences in rulings in state and federal courts on class certification, motions to dismiss, settlement review, and attorney fee awards in a subset of the 621 cases.

Note that this article draws on the same data examined in Attorney Reports on the Impact of Amchem and Ortiz on Choice of a Federal or State Forum in Class Action Litigation (2004).

A post-Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) article on the same data Attorney Choice of Forum in Class Action Litigation: What Difference Does it Make? (2006) is also available.

December 17, 2005
Citations to Unpublished Opinions in the Federal Courts of Appeals: Preliminary Report

The Appellate Rules Advisory Committee has proposed a new Rule 32.1, which would permit attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite unpublished opinions. At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would yield results helpful to the Standing Committee's consideration of the proposed rule.

The Center's research effort consists of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. This preliminary report, which includes analyses of all responses in the survey of judges, almost all of the responses in the survey of attorneys, and a majority of cases in the survey of case files (9 out of 13 circuits), was presented to the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee on April 18, 2005. The authors expect to have all data analyzed and a complete report for the Standing Committee on Rules meeting on June 15-16, 2005.

April 14, 2005
Report of a Survey of United States District Judges' Experiences and Views Concerning Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

A report of the results of a survey completed by 278 of 400 (70%) federal district judges in the winter of 2004-05. The Center conducted the study at the request of the Judicial Conference's Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. A questionnaire elicited the judges' experiences and opinions about the merits of past and current versions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and about a legislative proposal to modify Rule 11. The judges expressed a strong preference for Rule 11 in its current form.

February 24, 2005

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