News

Berkeley Law Civil Justice Research Initiative Publishes Civil Jury Paper

September 13th, 2021

     The Civil Justice Research Initiative at Berkeley Law School published a new paper on reviving the civil jury that describes the history, legal issues, and empirical research on civil juries with an eye toward making better and greater use of juries. The paper was written by Richard Jolly of Southwestern Law School, Valerie Hans of Cornell Law School, and CCL's Robert S. Peck.

      The paper shows that juries are an essential part of American democracy, are often subjected to unwarranted disrespect, and are very good at doing their assigned tasks according to the best available empirical research. The paper, "The Civil Jury: Reviving an American Institution," concludes with recommendations that the option of a jury trial should be the default rule, rather than merely available upon request; that damage caps be eliminated; that expanded expedited jury trials using 12 jurors take place; that more be done to assure representative juries; that 12-person juries be the norm; and that active measures, such as permitting jury notetaking and questions, be adopted.

     The paper is available at The Civil Jury: Reviving an American Institution.

Blog Post Discusses Appellate Tips from Fourth Circuit Webinar

September 12th, 2021

    In a post to the Appellate Advocacy blog, CCL President Robert S. Peck discusses some of the tips that judges and practitioners offered on a webinar sponsored by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The blog is part of the law professor network. Peck posts on Sundays every two weeks. His latest post can be found at Tips for Appellate Practice, Fourth Circuit Edition, Part 1.

CCL Files Local Government Groups' Amicus Brief in First Circuit

September 3rd, 2021

     CCL President wrote and filed a brief arguing that no conception of federal common law justified removal of the State of Rhode Island's case against major oil producers for the in-state consequences of their misrepresentations about fossil fuels. The State had sued the companies on grounds of misrepresentations in state court on state causes of action, but the defendants had removed the case to federal court.

     In this second visit to the First Circuit, which originally held that the oil companies had no claim to federal jurisdiction by asserting that they had done what they were accused of at the direction of the federal government, the appellate court is reviewing other claimed bases for federal-court jurisdiction. This time around, the defendants rely heavily on a claim that because climate change is a global issue, it requires the courts to apply federal common law, rather than state law.

     The amicus brief filed today on behalf of the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association, argued that whatever federal common law may have once existed was displaced by the Clean Air Act, which gives the states a role in combating the local effects of air pollution. States, it further argues, have a right to bring state causes of action in state court, just as any other plaintiff does, subject to the defendants' claims of ordinary preemption, which provides no right to remove a case to federal court.