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Plaintiffs Win Only 15 Percent of Employment-Related Cases in Federal Court

A study commissioned by the American Constitution Society reveals that, based on data from 1979 to 2006, plaintiffs who brought employment discrimination suits in federal district courts prevailed only 15 percent of the time, compared to 51 percent for non-employment related cases.  The Wisconsin Law Journal and Sharpy News offer additional analysis.

In many instances, federal judges will dispose of federal employment cases at the summary judgment phase -- and there's often not much relief on appeal.  The study also showed that, during a 16-year span from 1988 to 2004, less than 9 percent of the 2,042 cases lost at trial and appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals were reversed for plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, compared with a 41 percent reversal rate for defendants who lost at trial.

Because of these trends in federal courts, many employment lawyers are bringing suit in state court, or turning to mediation to resolve employment disputes.  Though state laws often don't allow punitive damages or damages for emotional distress, as is the case in federal court, the fact that state courts offer a greater likelihood of prevailing, for now, may make them a more favorable forum.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 19, 2008 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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