America Should Rethink Litigation and Adopt More Humanist Courts | Bloomberg Law

The contemporary American lawsuit focuses on its own form rather than the human problem that prompted it.

Starting with a needlessly complicated complaint, it’s followed by years of maneuvering about its adequacy, generating massive amounts of discovery. For any of a half-dozen reasons, it never gets to trial. The result often baffles the parties and lowers their esteem for the judiciary.

Things would be different if we could implement human-centered lawsuits. A humanist lawsuit focuses on basic social values enshrined in law, such as our dislike of lying, cheating, and stealing. The case tests those values against the facts and vindicates one of the parties.

These values are near the bottom of the priority list in major formalist lawsuits today but are first on the list of the too-infrequent humanist lawsuit. Formalist lawsuits often devolve into a case about a case. Wrong court. Wrong claim. Wrong party. Wrong wording. Wrong requests. Wrong trial.

Humanist lawsuits are about the claim. Wrong conduct. Right conduct. Rules. Facts. Results. Self-reference is replaced with humanism…Read More


Thomas G. Moukawsher is a Connecticut complex litigation judge. He is a former co-chair of the ABA Committee on Employee Benefits, and he is the author of the forthcoming book from Brandeis University Press, The Common Flaw: Needless Complexity in the Courts and 50 Ways to Reduce It.

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