Over the past few weeks, we’ve been reviewing the Court’s thirty year record in civil tort cases – defendants’ overall won-loss records, the frequency with which the Court affirms (or reverses) defendants’ wins from the Appellate Court, and the frequency with which the Court reverses (or affirms) decisions lost by defendants below. Now let’s take a look at the individual Justices’ records, beginning with Justice Garman. But before beginning, we should clarify one point: we’re taking a binary view of “winning” and “losing” in this data. Appellate litigation routinely includes several different issues and the ultimate decision on appeal is “affirmed in part and reversed in part.” Sometimes the issue where a party “wins” is comparatively minor in the context of the whole case. But we’re not making that subjective judgment about these cases – our standard is that if an adverse judgment is reversed in any respect, the appellant has won and the respondent has lost.
Since joining the Court, Justice Garman has voted for tort defendants’ position in 100 cases, while supporting plaintiffs 53 times. In 2004-2005, she supported defendants in 13 cases while voting against them 5 times. From 2006 to 2009, Justice Garman voted for defendants’ position 27 times, and against in 13 cases. For the years 2011 through 2017, Justice Garman voted for defendants’ position 38 times, voting against in 13 cases.
Forty-nine tort cases where Justice Garman participated were won by the defendant below. Justice Garman voted to affirm 30 of those decisions and voted to reverse 19 times. From 2001 to 2007, Justice Garman voted to affirm 17 defense wins from the Appellate Court while voting to reverse 6 times. From 2008 to 2019, Justice Garman voted to affirm 13 times while voting to reverse 13 times.
Finally, Justice Garman voted to reverse decisions lost by tort defendants at the Appellate Court 70 times from 2001 to 2019 while voting to affirm 34 times. In 2004 and 2005, Justice Garman voted to reverse 10 of 14 tort decisions lost by defendants below. In 2008 and 2009, she voted to reverse in 10 of 13 cases. In 2012 and 2013, she voted to reverse defendants’ losses in 11 of 13 tort cases.
Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our review of the Justices’ voting records.