Litigation and Inequality

Litigation and Inequality : Federal Diversity Jurisdiction in Industrial America, 1870-1958

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Litigation and Inequality explores the dynamic and intricate relationship between legal and social change through the prism of litigation tactics and out-of-court settlement practices from the 1870s to the 1950s. Developing the synthetic historical concept of a "social litigation system," Purcell analyzes the role of both substansive and procedural law, as well as the impact of social and political factors in shaping the de facto processes of litigation and claims-disputing. Focusing on tort and insurance contract disputes between individuals and national corporations, he examines the changing social and economic significance of the choice between state and national courts that federal diversity jurisdiction gave litigants. Litigation and Inequality scrutinizes the increasingly sophisticated methods that parties developed to exploit their ability to choose between forums. It also traces the changing responses of the courts and legislatures to the escalation of tactical maneuvering. It locates the origins of modern litigation practice in the quarter century after 1910. Purcell points to fundamental flaws in the "efficiency" theory of tort law of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He identifies specific ways in which the legal system regularly subsidized corporate enterprise. He seriously qualifies and refines the progressive charge that the federal courts favored business interests. The book argues that during the period from the turn of the century to World War I - especially the critical period from 1905 to 1908 - the Supreme Court reoriented the federal judicial system and essentially created the twentieth century federal judiciary. It also challenges the idea thatdiversity jurisdiction is best understood as a device to protect nonresidents from local prejudice. It illuminates a range of related historical and legal issues, from the ostensible "formalism" of the late nineteenth century judicial thinking to the origins of the workmen'sshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 458 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.9mm | 885.81g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195073290
  • 9780195073294

Review quote

a magnificent book. Strikingly original in its thesis and methodology ... will become a classic. * Robert Post, University of California, Berkeley *show more

Back cover copy

Litigation and Inequality explores the dynamic and intricate relationship between legal and social change through the prism of litigation tactics and out-of-court settlement practices from the 1870s to the 1950s. Developing the synthetic historical concept of a "social litigation system", Purcell analyzes the role of both substansive and procedural law, as well as the impact of social and political factors in shaping the de facto processes of litigation and claims-disputing. Focusing on tort and insurance contract disputes between individuals and national corporations, he examines the changing social and economic significance of the choice between state and national courts that federal diversity jurisdiction gave litigants. Litigation and Inequality scrutinizes the increasingly sophisticated methods that parties developed to exploit their ability to choose between forums. It also traces the changing responses of the courts and legislatures to the escalation of tactical maneuvering. It locates the origins of modern litigation practice in the quarter century after 1910. Purcell points to fundamental flaws in the "efficiency" theory of tort law of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He identifies specific ways in which the legal system regularly subsidized corporate enterprise. He seriously qualifies and refines the progressive charge that the federal courts favored business interests. The book argues that during the period from the turn of the century to World War I - especially the critical period from 1905 to 1908 - the Supreme Court reoriented the federal judicial system and essentially created the twentieth century federal judiciary. It also challenges the idea thatdiversity jurisdiction is best understood as a device to protect nonresidents from local prejudice. It illuminates a range of related historical and legal issues, from the ostensible "formalism" of the late nineteenth century judicial thinking to the origins of the workmen's compensation movement. Examining these developments with clarity and insight, this work will interest historians and sociologists, as well as lawyers and legal scholars.show more