Steinberg, Shanahan, Carpenter and Mark, ‘The Democratic (Il)legitimacy of Assembly-Line Litigation’

“Millions of debt cases are filed in the civil courts every year. In debt actions, asymmetrical representation is the norm, with the plaintiff almost always represented by counsel and the defendant very rarely so. A number of jurisdictions report that up to ninety-nine percent of defendants in debt cases appear pro se – a figure that calls into question the basic legitimacy of these proceedings. Professor Daniel Wilf-Townsend’s central contribution to the literature on debt collection, and state civil justice more broadly, is to demonstrate through sophisticated empirics what has long been anecdotally reported: that a cluster of corporate plaintiffs he dubs ‘top filers’ are responsible for a large share of debt collection litigation …”

Jessica K Steinberg, Colleen F Shanahan, Anna E Carpenter and Alyx Mark, The Democratic (Il)legitimacy of Assembly-Line Litigation (2022) 135 Harvard Law Review Forum 359 (20 May).

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