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Court Filings are Down

When I began practicing law in the 1980s, fillings in the Superior Courts of Massachusetts were in the range of 15,000 tort cases (i.e. torts are usually but not always personal injury cases). Beginning in the current decade, those figures have reduced by about half. Since 2000, the number of personal injury cases filed in a given year in the Superior Courts of Massachusetts hover around 8,000.

The inclination is to explain the above by saying that there are fewer injuries. While this is certainly possible, observers are wondering if alternative dispute resolution is more frequently used at an earlier stage in the process. This means that mediation and arbitration may serve to resolve cases before they reach the lawsuit stage.

Regardless of the explanation for the diminishing number of tort cases in the higher court – The Superior Court – the fact is that there is no litigation explosion. Any argument to the contrary is not supported by statistics from the website of Massachusetts’ Trial Courts, or by statistics from other states.

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