Sixty to Eighty-five percent of cases in the civil court system today are for monetary lawsuits depending on the state; seventy percent overall are contract and small claims for monetary damages. Civil cases comprise of contract, tort, real property ,small claims, mental health, probate, and civil appeal cases. In 2007 the largest percentage of cases in the court system were traffic related cases, and the second largest criminal, with civil coming in third with 17.5% of about one hundred and three million total cases. (LaFountain, Schauffler, Strickland, Bromage)
In seven states the CSP found that fifty percent of the cases were contract related, contrasted with only six percent in tort related cases. However, seeing that the largest amount of controversy facing the district court system is the amount of disputes over contracts leads us to the opinion that the increasing demand on the court system is the struggle with businesses or individuals entering into contracts that do not pan out as they expected. Unless, more dispute resolution and mediation are utilized to come to a resolution between litigants the amount of cases getting to the trial stage in the courts will continue to increase in the future.
A major portion of filed cases are debt collection cases and with the economic downfall in 2008 with the banking industry credit collections on defaulting creditors will continue to rise. CSP reported that the state of Kansas contract caseloads in 2007 was 72.8% were debt collections of the contract caseload. (LaFountain, Schauffler, Strickland, Bromage, Gibson, Mason & Raftery, 2009). Although this report was from 2007 the 2008 crash had to see a large increase on these cases. As the country’s economic struggle continues the influx of these cases will grow but with the increase in the bankruptcy cases the level of debt collections in the court should level out.
The debt collection court cases depending on the amount in controversy are either trial or bench cases. In 2001 the amount of bench trial cases were about 78% and jury trials around 25% of all the debt related cases. The future of large amounts in controversy will increase the amount of jury trial cases. (LaFountain & Kauder, 2005). The amount of post-trial requests for relief ranges drastically between Milwaukee, Wisconsin of seven percent and Palm Beach, Florida of sixty-seven percent, which indicates that the local legal culture plays a large part in the amount of cases that continue after the jury trial. (Hannaford-Agor, 2005).