Use a probability-of-success number that most closely matches your case

My “other civil appeals” category is big – it includes all civil appeals other than bankruptcy appeals and prisoner petitions. A statistic that shows that for FY 2013, 81% of 642 “other civil appeals” in the Third Circuit ended in affirmance or dismissal is useful. But it would be more useful to have figures on the various types of cases within the broad category. In earlier posts, I presented the percentage affirmed or dismissed for my FY 2013 samples of employment cases (91.3%) and contract cases (78.57%). Here I present statistics for other types of civil case appeals.

Other Civil Rights cases (e.g., Section 1983 cases):

Number of cases in sample:    203                     Percent affirmed or dismissed: 86.2%

Labor cases (e.g., ERISA, FLSA, Labor/Management relations):

Number of cases in sample:     38                      Percent affirmed or dismissed: 78.9%

Social Security benefits cases:

Number of cases in sample:     16                      Percent affirmed or dismissed: 93.8%

Cases brought under other statutes (e.g., antitrust, securities, intellectual property, tax, consumer credit, RICO):

Number of cases in sample:  114                       Percent affirmed or dismissed: 63.1%

Tort cases:

Number of cases in sample:    87                       Percent affirmed or dismissed: 82.7%.

Percentages derived from smaller samples – like Social Security cases – are likely to be more susceptible to the mix of cases that the court decided in FY 2013. But the percentages do show quite a bit of variation, and suggest that using 81% may be overly optimistic (e.g., other civil rights cases) or overly pessimistic (other statutory cases).

1 thought on “Use a probability-of-success number that most closely matches your case

  1. Pingback: Labor appeals in the Third Circuit: Is your chance of any success less than 1 in 10 or closer to 1 in 4? | Once Upon Review

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