A new BJS report, Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts, 1990-2006, examines civil rights claims involving employment, housing, welfare, voting, or other civil rights issues litigated in U.S. district courts from 1990 - 2006. The study assesses trends in types of civil rights cases filed in federal district courts, the basis of federal court jurisdiction, case processing time, disposition of civil rights cases, and the types of trials that occur in the federal courts. In addition, the report examines who wins in civil rights trials and the estimated median monetary amount awarded to litigants. Notable findings include:
- Civil rights filings doubled in U.S. district courts from 1990 (18,922 filings) to 1997 (43,278 filings) and subsequently stabilized until 2003. From 2003 through 2006, the number of civil rights cases filed in U.S. district courts declined by 20%.
- During the period from 1990 through 2006, the percentage of civil rights cases concluded by trial declined from 8% to 3%.
- From 2000 to 2006 plaintiffs won just under a third of civil rights trials on average, and the median damage awards for plaintiffs who won in civil rights trials ranged from $114,000 to $154,500.