I detect anomalies in our legal system which I may elaborate on later.
1. Attorney travel, attorney waiting time, and court appearances for routine matters that could be handled by telephone are a significant economic burden on individual litigants.
2. Appeals are resolved basically three ways. You make new law. Your facts are pigeon-holed into existing law. Or your case is run off the rails by procedural error.
Virginia appellate decisions reveal a surprisingly high number of cases in the third category – ones that never got heard because an attorney or pro se party made a technical mistake (such as missing a deadline, or leaving out some rule or argument they were supposed to mention). Those appeals waste money.
3. Economic psychology erodes litigant decision-making:
(a) More cases should settle. Reading fact patterns in appellate decisions, I am regularly astonished that an appellant with such a mundane or weak fact pattern would go to trial and then appeal.
(b) A range of predictable cost outcomes exists in most controversies. Yet, litigation expense often seems to push one party or both out of that range.