The first section of this Article briefly describes the developments which created the perception that the federal courts were experiencing a litigation explosion and which ultimately led to the promulgation of the 1983 amendments as one response to the perceived explosion. It also examines the substantive content of those changes, especially how the revisions enlarged federal judicial discretion. The second section evaluates the courts' implementation of the 1983 amendments and finds that this application has adversely affected numerous litigants, particularly civil rights plaintiffs, while providing some benefits, namely fostering more expeditious dispute resolution.
The third section provides suggestions for the future. Considerable data show that the enforcement of Rule 11 has disadvantaged and chilled the enthusiasm of civil rights plaintiffs and has similarly affected many other litigants. Application of Rule 11 has concomitantly harmed the civil justice system by, for instance, generating extensive, and expensive, satellite litigation. Because these problems outweigh the benefits of the Rule's enforcement, Congress and the Supreme Court should repeal or amend the provision promptly.
Carl Tobias, Judicial Discretion and the 1983 Amendments to the Federal Civil Rules, 43 Rutgers L. Rev. 933 (1991)