To B…or Not to B…: B…Means Bifurcation, by Judge David L. Tobin, The Florida Bar Journal, 2000 Volume LXXIV, No. 10.
An excellent analysis and explanation. -CCE
From 1997 through May 2000, as judge in the 11th Circuit Court, I have bifurcated hundreds of cases in which the issues of liability and damages were involved. The most surprising statistic is that during this three and one-half years I have tried only one case in which the issue was damages! Do I have your attention?
Sometime in 1997, I was discussing calendar control and judicial efficiency with one of my colleagues, Judge Amy Donner, who said that she was bifurcating most of her cases. After our conversation, I examined the trials in my division for the year 1995 and found that of the 40 jury trials, eight of them were slip-and-fall cases. Of these eight, seven resulted in a verdict for the defendant. It occurred to me that if we tried only liability, between seven and 14 days of jury time would have been saved, enabling us to try several more cases. Accordingly, I then decided to screen our cases and began bifurcating slip-and-fall cases only. I hope that this article will assist judges and attorneys in selecting those cases in which bifurcation would benefit litigants and attorneys, as well as the court. . . .