cover image The Litigation Explosion

The Litigation Explosion

Walter K. Olson. Dutton Books, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-525-24911-5

Since the 1970s, according to Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York, an explosion has taken place in American jurisprudence, and it is dangerous for everyone but lawyers and judges. It has resulted in our becoming the most litigious society on earth. Among the more insidious features of the new legal age are forum-shopping (picking the venue where a case has the best chance of succeeding), shotgun complaints (instituting a suit and then shopping around to determine in how many states one can simultaneously sue), depositions for discovery (asking hundreds of questions in hopes that some answers will prove incriminating). The catalogue of abuses by the legal profession cited here seems endless. Olson offers faint hope in his conclusion, urging that, to curb frivolous litigiousness, the loser in a case should pay all costs. An important book. (Apr.)