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Civil appeals in the U.S. 5th: What are the odds?

The other day, while wandering around the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s web site, I came across this statistical snapshot for July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016. Here are some of the numbers of interest to civil practitioners:

  • Reversal rate in private civil cases (U.S. not a party): 16.6%
  • Petitions for panel rehearing filed: 240
  • Panel rehearings granted: 3 (1.25%)
  • Petitions for rehearing en banc: 194
  • En banc rehearings granted: 7 (3.6%)

The lessons from these numbers:

  • The best way to win at the Fifth Circuit is to represent the appellee.
  • The time to win is on original reconsideration. The odds of turning it around on rehearing are almost as slim as the odds of a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court.


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