Alaska is the only American state that employs a variation of the “English Rule,” whereby the losing party in a civil case must pay the prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees. In recent years, advocates of tort reform have praised Alaska’s Civil Rule 82 as a model for tort reform to help rid the overburdened courts of low merit claims. But does Rule 82 really reduce meritless litigation? This study compares civil case filings in the District of Alaska to a sample of other comparable federal district courts. Although filings in the District of Alaska were lower than the national average, they were indistinguishable from the remainder of the sample. Other measures also failed to demonstrate any significant differences between civil cases in the District of Alaska and the other districts. These results suggest that reformers looking to reduce meritless litigation should look elsewhere for model reform measures.
Douglas C. Rennie,
Rule 82 & Tort Reform: An Empirical Study of the Impact of Alaska’s English Rule on Federal Civil Case Filings,
29 Alaska Law Review
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/alr/vol29/iss1/1