The vanishing jury trial is perhaps one of the most important issues facing the civil justice system today.  Civil trials have declined in federal courts from 12% in 1984 to less than 1% in 2010.  Statistics from state courts, though more difficult to obtain, generally show the same trends.  The issue has been widely studied, and while the fact of the vanishing trial is clear, the reasons for the decline are less obvious.  Several theories have been advanced, ranging from a dramatic rise in case filings and underfunded court systems to the ever increasing cost of litigation and the success of alternative dispute resolution.  

In 2010, DRI created the Jury Preservation Task Force (JPTF) to examine and inform the membership of issues impacting civil jury trials.  The work of the JPTF is now underway.  In 2011, the JPTF conducted multiple surveys concerning issues impacting civil jury trials.  Survey respondents included State and Local Defense Organization (SLDO) leaders and participants in both the DRI Insurance and Corporate Counsel Roundtables.  The JPTF is now in the process of examining the survey results along with the significant body of research available on the vanishing jury trial and the initiatives being proposed to address the problem.
The JPTF, in collaboration with DRI’s Trial Tactics Committee, will publish the results of its findings in a future edition of For the Defense.  Then we will ask for your help.  Stay tuned!

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Credit Woes Put a Crunch on Jobs

Posted on December 7, 2010 08:34 by Spencer Silverglate

Today's Miami Herald reports a lawsuit recently filed against the University of Miami by a job applicant whose employment offer was rescinded following a credit check.  The case reflects what the newspaper calls a national debate over whether employers should consider a prospective employees' credit history in hiring decisions.  The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, is based on disparate impact under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The theory is that using credit reports to screen job applicants discriminates against minorities, who allegedly are more likely to fall behind on their bills because of unemployment or underemployment.  

The Complaint against the University of Miami is attached here: Appolon v University of Miami (2).pdf (429.92 kb)

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Categories: Employment/Labor Law

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