San Diego Law Review


David W. Barnes

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This Article presents a straightforward and intuitive method for understanding and interpreting statistical evidence submitted to courts as proof of factual issues. The author's goal is to overcome the reader's fear and loathing of statistics by relating all statistical methods to the concepts of numerical differences between numbers and similarities or correspondences between numbers. The author draws from cases from a wide variety of substantive law areas such as civil rights, employment discrimination, contracts, environmental law, energy law, constitutional law, deceptive advertising, and highway traffic safety. The author begins by discussing the concept of subtraction and proceeds through percentages and correlations to regression analysis. Using the statistical concept of a standard deviation, which is explained in intuitive terms, statistical evidence of all degrees of complexity is described as a mechanism for ascertaining whether an absolute magnitude or measurable effect is big enough to be legally significant.

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