For the past few weeks, we’ve been taking a close look at the reversal rates before the Illinois Supreme Court, dividing the data by areas of law and whether the defendant or plaintiff prevailed in the lower court. Today, we conclude our review of the civil docket by asking how reversal rates have differed, area by area, according to which side won below.
We report the data in Table 318 below. For the leading area of law – tort – the Court reversed 71.88% of plaintiff wins from the Appellate Court, but only one third of defense wins. The Court reversed 65% of plaintiff wins in civil procedure cases, but only 46.67% of defense wins. In government and administrative law cases, the pattern was similar – the Court reversed 61.54% of plaintiff wins from the Appellate Court, but only one in four defense wins. Domestic relations cases were a bit different, as the Court reversed 54.55% of plaintiff wins, but three-quarters of defendant wins. The Court’s historically cautious approach to constitutional law claims was reflected in the data as the Court reversed two-thirds of plaintiff wins from below, but only 14.29% of defense wins. The Court reversed half of plaintiff wins in public employee pension cases, but all of the defense wins. Tax, one of the few areas of the law where the Court mostly took defense wins from the Appellate Court, followed the same pattern with respect to reversal rates, as none of the plaintiff wins were reversed, but 57.14% of defense wins were. Election law was similar – half of plaintiff wins were reversed, but 80% of defense wins were. In employment law, the Court reversed all of the plaintiff wins, but two-thirds of the defense wins as well. Interestingly, the Court reversed only one-third of employee wins in workers’ compensation cases, but all of the employer wins.
Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn to the criminal docket between 2010 and 2015.