Document Type


Publication Date



Selection of cases for litigation, Case selection, Litigiousness of potential plaintiffs, Empirical legal studies, Trial rates, Plaintiff win rates


Applied Statistics | Civil Procedure | Litigation


The process through which cases are selected for litigation cannot be ignored because it yields a set of lawsuits and plaintiffs that is far from a random selection either of potential claims or of potential claimants. We present a theoretical framework for understanding the operation of this suit-selection process and its relationship to the underlying distribution of potential claims and claimants. The model has implications for the trial rate and the plaintiff win rate at trial. Our empirical analysis, using data on over 200,000 federal civil litigations, yields results that are strongly consistent with the theory.

Publication Citation

Theodore Eisenberg & Henry S. Farber, "The Litigious Plaintiff Hypothesis: Case Selection and Resolution", 28 Rand Journal of Economics (1997)