Rules of civil procedure presuppose a level playing field where litigants have
structured opportunities to develop and present their claims to a neutral fact­ finder. In millions of cases-the vast majority processed by state courts today­ the field is neither level nor fair. Instead, enormous numbers of small dollar value cases are disposed of mechanically, without meaningful adjudication. High-volume state court dockets involve serious asymmetries of power and
knowledge, where plaintiffs' lawyers are able to manipulate or short-circuit the
rules against unrepresented and generally unsophisticated low-income defendants.

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