Of Frivolous Litigation and Runaway Juries: A View from the Bench

This Faculty Working Paper has been updated and posted within the Faculty Scholarly Works Series. It is currently available here.


The political case for tort reform is based in large measure on the perception that there are too many frivolous law suits and too many excessive jury awards. While there is considerable empirical evidence casting doubt on both these propositions, they remain the linchpins of the tort reform movement. Scholars, lobbyists, and legislators all have had a voice in the tort reform debates. The viewpoints of trial judges, however, have been largely absent. This is unfortunate because trial judges are the government officials with the closest view of the tort litigation system. They are the ones who see tort litigation on a day-in, day-out basis and are therefore uniquely qualified to comment on the extent of problems in the system. This study begins to fill this void by reporting on the views of Georgia Superior Court and State Court judges on tort litigation in their courts.