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Publication Appeals from General Civil Trials in 46 Large Counties, 2001-2005

Thomas H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

July 6, 2006    NCJ 212979

Presents information on general civil cases concluded by bench or jury trial in 2001 that were subsequently appealed to a states intermediate appellate court or court of last resort. Information presented includes the flow of civil cases through the appeals process and the effect of appeals on trial court outcomes. The report describes the types of civil bench and jury trials appealed, the characteristics of litigants filing an appeal, the frequency in which appellate courts affirm, reverse, or modify trial court outcomes, and the percentage of appeals that produced a published opinion. Cases further appealed from an intermediate appellate court to a state court of last resort and the impact of that final level of appeal on litigation outcomes are also described. This report is part of a series examining civil litigation in the United States.


  • Among tort trial cases concluded in 2001, litigants filed appeals in approximately 33% of product liability and 18% of medical malpractice trials.
  • Forty-three percent of civil appeals were dismissed or withdrawn prior to disposition.
  • Trial court verdicts or judgments that found for plaintiffs were reversed or modified on appeal at higher rates compared to trial court outcomes favoring defendants.

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