Medina County Courthouse

Monday, March 29, 2010

Where Have All the Trials Gone?

by Stephen E. Chappelear, Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP
Chair of the OSBA Litigation Section

If it seems like you are not in court as much as you once were, you are right. Far fewer cases are being resolved by jury trial or court trial than in years past. This has implications for us as litigators.

There were only 881 civil jury trials across all of Ohio in 2008. That is down from 1,204 civil jury trials five years earlier, a 27% drop.

The reduction has been more pronounced in tort cases, where the drop has been 30%, than in the “other civil” category, which has seen an 18% drop.

In 2008, 73 Ohio counties had fewer than 12 civil jury trials, that is, they averaged less than one a month. And 15 counties didn’t have a single civil jury trial that year.

It is rare for a civil case to end in a trial. Only 1.5% of the civil case terminations in 2008 were by trial, either by jury or bench trial. This figure represents the current low point from a steady trend over the past ten years where the high in 1999 was 3.3% of terminations by trial.

So, most of us are not spending a lot of time in courtroom trials. Instead, we are negotiating, conducting discovery, and writing and responding to motions.

What do you think about this? What does this mean for the lawyers of Ohio, and for the members of the OSBA Litigation Section?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please write me at I will share the comments I receive in a future Newsletter.

Editor's Note: This originally appeared in the OSBA Litigation Section Newsletter. Mr. Chappelear was kind enough to send it to me to be posted on this blog.

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