Longbranch Research Associates

Statistical Analysis In Litigation

1. Statistical analysis in litigation

This is our primary activity.  Our clients are attorneys.  We have worked for private attorneys and public attorneys in hundreds of cases, but our recent clientele consists only of public attorneys—state’s attorneys and U. S. attorneys.  That is because our policy is to pursue truth, independent of our client’s position, as explained in the About page.

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2. “Public Intellectual” stuff

Within the field of statistics in law, we have special expertise and interest in certain subjects.  These include

  • Class certification: Fulfilling the requirements, especially after Dukes v. Walmart.
  • Daubert and its progeny: How should a judge determine who is an expert?

Note: Some judges, such as E.D. N.Y.’s Judge Weinstein, have figured out that they get less grief from an appeals court if they allow experts in than if they reject them.  Judge Posner (7th Circuit) has also figured out that, at either level, a court can accept the witness as an expert, while rejecting his testimony.  The result: Expert rejections are rare.  It still might be worth making a record of the opposing expert’s weaknesses, in a Daubert hearing.  Then, when they occur at trial, the judge can reject his opinions without rejecting him.

  • Discrimination, regardless in what. We have worked with administrative law, federal law and state law, regarding many areas of employment, jury selection, and criminal penalty.  We think that the public has little understanding of discrimination, confusing situations (such as who occupies what jobs) with events (the actions that got those people into those jobs.)   Discrimination is an event (or many events).  Situations which could be the result of discriminatory events, may not be.  Describing the outcome says little about the process.

Note: Experts fare no better.  Some prominent, even successful experts have used outcomes to “prove” discrimination.  Judges seem unwilling to reject such analyses out of hand—although they should—unless an opposing expert has articulated the misconception behind that analysis.

One field that we were once involved with is no longer of interest.  That is valuation, particularly tort damages.  The last straw was when we were asked to estimate the lost income of a prisoner who lost an arm in an accident for which the imprisoning authorities were responsible.  There are data on the income of the handicapped vs. non-handicapped, but would they apply to an ex-convict?  Subsequent to this case, we revised our mission statement, which had been

We derive fact or value from data

to

We derive fact from data.

3. Research, panels, etc.

We will participate in research and discussions about any of these areas.  We manage a web site, www.StatisticsInLaw.com, in which we feature cases and essays concerned with these subjects, as well as obvious others (such as anti-trust).

4. Manufacturing in the United States, especially weaving.

This might seem far afield, but Dr. Michelson owns The Oriole Mill, a high end dobby and Jacquard weaving mill.  A manufacturing firm based on quality is, sad to say, a rare creature in 21st century America.  One example is that there is no American manufacturer of industrial weaving looms, or Jacquard heads.  Another is that, although the United States not only grows good quality cotton, and not only is a net exporter of cotton, there is not a single spinning mill that produces Mercerized cotton in weaving weights.  (The only Mercerized cotton spun in this country is sewing thread.)  Thus we are forced to import it.

Most domestic mills weave only from polyester, where The Oriole Mill uses only natural fibers (cotton, wool, linen, alpaca, silk, etc.).  We think the general public, and policy makers, are unaware of the ways in which the manufacture of quality goods is slipping away from this country.

5. Other areas

We have covered a broad range of subjects in the book

So-Called Experts

by Stephan Michelson

which is available (free) at www.So-CalledExperts.com.  This book covers (or, better, touches on) design, health, shopping, cooking, talk radio, education, investing, economics and science research.  As one might guess, this book was generated by using the principles under which LRA functions—and its experience—to analyze issues of more general interest than statistics in law.