Thomas Cohen (BJS) recently circulated an interesting paper that seeks to model decisions to pursue various forms of post trial relief. In When is the Verdict or Judgment Final?: An Examination of Post Trial Activity in Civil Litigation, Cohen's paper exploits a wonderfully rich 2005 BJS civil justice dataset (the most recent addition to a leading collection of civil justice data) and focuses on post-trial activity in state tort and contract litigation. The abstract follows:
"In the civil justice system, there is often an expectation of case resolution with jury and bench trials. The assumption that verdicts or judgments provide an end point to civil disputes, however, does not provide an accurate view of the full civil litigation process. Litigants can file motions requesting various forms of post trial relief as a means of challenging or modifying the trial court verdict or judgment. This article applies multivariate logistic regression techniques to examine the factors associated with post trial activity among a sample of tort and contract trials concluded in the nation’s 75 most populous counties in 2005. Results show that the legal issues adjudicated at trial, the type of trial (bench/jury), damage award amounts, punitive damages, filing to disposition time, and trial length are all significantly associated with the decision of one or both litigants to seek post trial relief."