Are frivolous lawsuits "clogging our courts?"
The State Court Administrator and the 13th Circuit Court (Antrim, Leelanau and Grand Traverse Counties) recently released their filing data for calendar year 2009. According to the judges and staff, 3385 new cases were filed in the 13th Circuit in 2009. 2.9 percent of these cases alleged injuries caused by auto negligence. 1.7 percent alleged injuries caused by other forms of civil fault (that is, medical malpractice, products liability, premises liability, libel, slander, negligence, etc.). More than twelve percent of the total cases were general (non-injury) civil disputes, 11 percent sought domestic PPOs, 5 percent sought non-domestic PPOs, 16.6 percent alleged juvenile delinquency, 10.8 percent were criminal cases and 20 percent were divorce cases. Thus, by the court's numbers, about 100 persons in the three counties decided in 2009 to file suit over car wreck-injuries that they believed were "serious." Sixty people sued for other injuries: during the same period, about 650 people filed for divorce and more than 750 people were forced to attend to claims of delinquent or criminal conduct.
For the State of Michigan, the numbers were similar: 2.9 percent of total cases alleged auto negligence and 1.69 percent alleged "other civil damage" rights. Divorce, paternity, criminal and juvenile delinquency claims far out-weighed all other actions in frequency. General civil disputes over contracts and business matters constituted almost ten percent of the caseload in courts state-wide, also; a number that is not a surprising number given the state of Michigan's economy.