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What are the Numbers of Civil Cases Filed in Massachusetts?

At the end of Fiscal Year 2002, there was 37,700 total civil cases pending in the Superior Court of Massachusetts. In 2012, there were 26,631 pending. This difference of 11,069 cases represents roughly a 29.4% decline in the number of cases pending at the Superior Court in that 10-year period. There are possibly several explanations for this change in percentages, such as fewer people coming forward due to the risky status of the economy (although I don’t quite follow that because expenses should be advanced by the injured party’s attorney) or because they have found alternative means to formal litigation, such as by consulting internet entities like LegalZoom. Another explanation is that these people are in fact making claims but they or the insurer is using alternative dispute resolution at an early stage and thus a lawsuit is avoided.

When broken down by county, the statistics are just as intriguing. Between 2002 and 2012, the counties in eastern Massachusetts with historically the highest numbers of cases experienced an average decline in pending civil cases of 28.9%. These counties include Suffolk (approximately 25% decline), Essex (35.7% decline), Middlesex (26.2% decline), and Norfolk (28.75% decline). Though there may be no clear explanation for these declining percentages, the numbers consistently demonstrate that something is going on. These numbers should not dissuade anyone from proceeding.

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