Prior scholarship has assumed that the inherent value of a “day in court” is the same for all claimants, so that when procedural resources (like a jury trial or a hearing) are scarce, they should be rationed the same way for all claimants. That is incorrect. This Article shows that the inherent value of a “day in court” can be far greater for some claimants, such as first-time filers, than for others, such as corporate entities and that it can be both desirable and feasible to take this variation into account in doling out scarce procedural protections. In other words, it introduces and demonstrates the usefulness of procedural triage.
This Article demonstrates the real world potential of procedural triage by showing how Medicare should use this new tool to address its looming administrative crisis. In the methodological tradition of Jerry Mashaw’s seminal studies of the Social Security Administration, this Article uses its in-depth study of Medicare to develop a theoretical framework that can be used to think through where and how other adjudicatory processes should engage in procedural triage. This Article concludes by applying this framework to survey other potential applications for procedural triage, from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.