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A Fiduciary Judge's Guide To Awarding Fees In Class Actions, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2021

A Fiduciary Judge's Guide To Awarding Fees In Class Actions, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

It is often said that judges act as fiduciaries for the absent class members in class action litigation. If we take this seriously, how then should judges award fees to the lawyers who represent these class members? The answer is to award fees the same way rational class members would want if they could do it on their own. In this Essay, I draw on economic models and data from the market for legal representation of sophisticated clients to describe what these fee practices should look like. Although more data from sophisticated clients is no doubt needed, what we do ...


'Rifled Precision': Using E-Discovery Technology To Streamline Books And Records Litigation, Joshua A. Manning Jan 2020

'Rifled Precision': Using E-Discovery Technology To Streamline Books And Records Litigation, Joshua A. Manning

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

In 1993, the Delaware Supreme Court urged stockholders to use the "tools at hand" to flesh out complaints in derivative lawsuits. The plaintiffs' bar got the message. In the years since that proclamation, the Delaware Court of Chancery has seen dramatic increases in so-called Section 220 litigation-stockholders exercising their statutory right to inspect a company 's books and records. As Delaware courts have made it harder for stockholders to challenge merger transactions, this trend has only intensified. Due to increased filings, as well as other structural hurdles, these "summary proceedings" have begun to drag, with many requiring full trials. Because ...


Lead Plaintiff Incentives In Aggregate Litigation, Charles R. Korsmo, Minor Myers Nov 2019

Lead Plaintiff Incentives In Aggregate Litigation, Charles R. Korsmo, Minor Myers

Vanderbilt Law Review

The lead plaintiff role holds out considerable promise in promoting the deterrence and compensation goals of aggregate litigation. The prevailing approach to compensating lead plaintiffs, however, provides no real incentive for a lead plaintiff to bring claims on behalf of a broader group. The policy challenge is to induce sophisticated parties to press claims not in their individual capacity but instead in a representative capacity, conferring a positive externality on all class members by identifying attractive claims, financing ongoing litigation, and managing the work of attorneys. We outline what an active and engaged lead plaintiff could add to the civil ...


The Arbitration-Litigation Paradox, Pamela K. Bookman May 2019

The Arbitration-Litigation Paradox, Pamela K. Bookman

Vanderbilt Law Review

The Supreme Court's interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act is universally touted as favoring arbitration. Its arbitration cases and decisions in other areas are also viewed as supporting the Court's more general hostility to litigation. These pro-arbitration and anti-litigation policies can be mutually reinforcing. Moreover, they appear to be mutually consistent, in part because the Court describes the essential features of arbitration as being "informal," "speedy," "efficient"-in short, the categorical opposite of litigation.

This Article contends that the Court's approach is not as "pro- arbitration" as it appears. On the contrary, the Court's pro-arbitration and ...


Public Relations Litigation, Kishanthi Parella May 2019

Public Relations Litigation, Kishanthi Parella

Vanderbilt Law Review

Conventional wisdom holds that lawsuits harm a corporation's reputation. So why do corporations and other businesses litigate even when they will likely lose in the court of law and the court of public opinion? One explanation is settlement: some parties file lawsuits not to win but to force the defendant to pay out. But some business litigants defy even this explanation; they do not expect to win the lawsuit or to benefit financially from settlement. What explains their behavior?

The answer is reputation. This Article explains that certain types of litigation can improve a business litigant's reputation in ...


Federal Regulation Of Third-Party Litigation Finance, Austin T. Popp Mar 2019

Federal Regulation Of Third-Party Litigation Finance, Austin T. Popp

Vanderbilt Law Review

Third-party litigation finance has become a powerful and influential industry that will continue to play a significant role in shaping the legal landscape for years to come. The opportunities-and challenges-introduced by this burgeoning industry are legion, and with them has come a swath of disparate state regulations. These regimes have failed to balance important consumer- and commercial-lending protections with facilitation of the growth of an industry that is essential to increasing access to the courtroom.

In response, this Note contends that a federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, should be delegated the authority to promulgate regulations (1) capping interest ...


"Sorry" Is Never Enough: How State Apology Laws Fail To Reduce Medical Malpractice Liability Risk, W. Kip Viscusi, Benjamin J. Mcmichael, R. Lawrence Van Horn Jan 2019

"Sorry" Is Never Enough: How State Apology Laws Fail To Reduce Medical Malpractice Liability Risk, W. Kip Viscusi, Benjamin J. Mcmichael, R. Lawrence Van Horn

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Based on case studies indicating that apologies from physicians to patients can promote healing, understanding, and dispute resolution, 38 states have sought to reduce litigation and medical malpractice liability by enacting apology laws. Apology laws facilitate apologies by making them inadmissible in subsequent malpractice trials.

The underlying assumption regarding the potential efficacy of these laws is that, after receiving an apology, patients will be less likely to pursue a malpractice claim and will be more likely to settle those claims that are filed. However, once a patient has been made aware that the physician has committed a medical error, the ...


Discovery Disclosure And Deterrence, Sergio J. Campos, Cheng Li Nov 2018

Discovery Disclosure And Deterrence, Sergio J. Campos, Cheng Li

Vanderbilt Law Review

Courts, practitioners, and scholars have recently expressed concern over the ex post costs of discovery in civil litigation. In this Article, we develop a game theoretic model of litigant behavior to study an overlooked phenomenon-the ex ante effects of discovery on a defendant's incentive to engage in unlawful conduct. We focus on motions to seal, which limit the disclosure of discovered information to the public, but permit disclosure to the court and parties. Specifically, we examine the effect different rules regarding such motions have in deterring defendants from engaging in unlawful behavior. We show that as a rule becomes ...


Discovery And The Social Benefits Of Private Litigation, Paul Stancil Nov 2018

Discovery And The Social Benefits Of Private Litigation, Paul Stancil

Vanderbilt Law Review

In the era just before the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect in 1938, federal civil litigation was a different animal.' Although Congress had created several private statutory causes of action before the 1930s,2 the federal civil docket prior to enactment of the Rules consisted primarily of diversity jurisdiction common law cases, labor injunctions and receiverships, and miscellaneous cases brought by the United States, including Prohibition-era "liquor cases" as well as internal revenue and food and drug enforcement. 3 Occasional exceptions notwithstanding, pre-New Deal federal courts hearing private claims functioned primarily as forums for the resolution of ...


A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: Examining The Admissibility Of Experts' Prior Malpractice Under The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Neil Henson Apr 2018

A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: Examining The Admissibility Of Experts' Prior Malpractice Under The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Neil Henson

Vanderbilt Law Review

Medical malpractice litigation is challenging for both plaintiffs and defendants. The intersection of legal issues with complex medical theories creates a dispute focused on expert witnesses, which leads to greater litigation expenses and cumbersome legal proceedings.' As one scholar observed, "medical malpractice has proven to be ... an unpleasant quagmire of unending skirmishes and full-scale engagements spread across a shifting battlefield." That analogy is fitting considering the stakes of a medical malpractice case-the injured patient's emotional, physical, and financial well-being may be contingent on a successful outcome, while the doctor may perceive even the threat of litigation as detrimental to ...


Evaluating Market Reactions To Non-Practicing Entity Litigation, Emiliano Giudici, Justin Blount Jan 2017

Evaluating Market Reactions To Non-Practicing Entity Litigation, Emiliano Giudici, Justin Blount

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

An ongoing debate in patent law involves the role "non-practicing entities," sometimes called "patent trolls," serve in the patent system. Some argue they serve as valuable market intermediaries, while others contend they are a drain on innovation and an impediment to a well-functioning patent system. This Article adds to the data available in this debate by conducting an event study that analyzes the market reaction to patent litigation filed by large "mass aggregator" non-practicing entities against large publicly traded companies. This study advances the literature by attempting to reproduce the results of previous event studies done in this area with ...


Monopolies In Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Jan 2017

Monopolies In Multidistrict Litigation, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

Vanderbilt Law Review

When transferee judges receive a multidistrict proceeding, they select a few lead plaintiffs' lawyers to efficiently manage litigation and settlement negotiations. That decision gives those attorneys total control over all consolidated plaintiffs' claims and rewards them richly in common-benefit fees. It's no surprise then that these are coveted positions, yet empirical evidence confirms that the same attorneys occupy them time and again.

Anytime repeat players exist and exercise both oligopolistic leadership control across multidistrict proceedings and monopolistic power within a single proceeding, there is concern that they will use their dominance to enshrine practices and norms that benefit themselves ...


The Litigation Budget, Jay Tidmarsch Apr 2015

The Litigation Budget, Jay Tidmarsch

Vanderbilt Law Review

Because of fears that litigation is too costly, reduction of litigation expenses has been the touchstone of procedural reform for the past thirty years. In certain circumstances, however, the parties have incentives-both rational and irrational-to spend more on a lawsuit than the social benefits that the case provides. Present and proposed reform efforts do not adequately address these incentives, and, in some instances, exacerbate the parties' incentives to overspend. The best way to ensure that the cost of a lawsuit does not exceed the benefits that it provides to the parties and society is to control spending directly: to require ...


The End Of Class Actions?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2015

The End Of Class Actions?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In this Article, I give a status report on the life expectancy of class action litigation following the Supreme Court's decisions in Concepcion and American Express. These decisions permitted corporations to opt out of class action liability through the use of arbitration clauses, and many commentators, myself included, predicted that they would eventually lead us down a road where class actions against businesses would be all but eliminated. Enough time has now passed to make an assessment of whether these predictions are coming to fruition. I find that, although there is not yet solid evidence that businesses have flocked ...


Screening Legal Claims Based On Third-Party Litigation Finance Agreements And Other Signals Of Quality, Michael Abramowicz, Omer Alper Nov 2013

Screening Legal Claims Based On Third-Party Litigation Finance Agreements And Other Signals Of Quality, Michael Abramowicz, Omer Alper

Vanderbilt Law Review

The advent of third-party litigation finance introduces a new gatekeeper to the legal process. Before deciding to lend money to a plaintiff, a litigation finance company will conduct at least some review and make an assessment of the quality of the case.' Since litigation finance loans are generally nonrecourse, a litigation finance company is likely to refuse to loan money to plaintiffs with the weakest cases. Such voluntary claim screening may improve social welfare by reducing the incidence of frivolous claims. But the volume of frivolous claims may still be higher than it would be in a world without third-party ...


How Much Is That Lawsuit In The Window? Pricing Legal Claims, Maya Steinitz Nov 2013

How Much Is That Lawsuit In The Window? Pricing Legal Claims, Maya Steinitz

Vanderbilt Law Review

Assessing the value of legal claims is the sixty-four thousand dollar question (no pun intended) of civil litigation. Clients, as every litigator knows, often come into their attorneys' offices with a belief that they know how much their claim is worth. The attorney is then asked to validate that number. Alternately, clients can come to their attorneys with a grievance-I have been injured, a counter-party breached its contract with me, I have been fired, our rainforest has been devastated by a mining company-and ask the attorney for an assessment of how much their grievance might be worth. Contingency lawyers, who ...


Litigating Bp's Contribution Claims In Publicly Subsidized Courts: Should Contracting Parties Pay Their Own Way?, Bruce L. Hay, Christopher Rendall-Jackson, David Rosenberg Nov 2011

Litigating Bp's Contribution Claims In Publicly Subsidized Courts: Should Contracting Parties Pay Their Own Way?, Bruce L. Hay, Christopher Rendall-Jackson, David Rosenberg

Vanderbilt Law Review

In this Article, we focus on an important problem involving mass-accident cases that was highlighted by the Deepwater Horizon litigation: overuse of courts to enforce contribution claims. These claims seek to shift incurred or expected liability and damages between the business and governmental entities that participated in the activity that gave rise to the mass-accident risk. Participants in such ventures generally have the option to determine by contract beforehand whether to subject themselves to contribution claims and, if so, whether such claims will be resolved by a publicly funded court or by a privately funded process, such as arbitration. Because ...


Intraportfolio Litigation, Amanda Rose, Richard Squire Jan 2011

Intraportfolio Litigation, Amanda Rose, Richard Squire

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The modern trend is for investors to diversify. Shareholders who own one S&P 500 firm tend to own many of the others as well. This trend casts doubt on the traditional compensation and deterrence rationales for legal rules that hold corporations liable for the acts of their agents. Today, when A Corp sues B Corp (for breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, or any other legal wrong), many of the same shareholders own both the plaintiff and the defendant. For these shareholders, damages just shift money from one pocket to another, minus of course lawyer fees. We offer ...


Taking Great Cases: Lessons From The "Rosenberg" Case, Brad Snyder May 2010

Taking Great Cases: Lessons From The "Rosenberg" Case, Brad Snyder

Vanderbilt Law Review

The most watched case of the 1952 Supreme Court Term was not Brown v. Board of Education, but the case of convicted atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Sentenced to death in April 1951 for passing atomic secrets to the Soviets, the Rosenbergs dominated the news and divided the country. Their case came at the height of Cold War America's obsession with Communism. Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee were exposing alleged Communists in the federal government and Hollywood, and the U.S. military was fighting the Korean War to try to stop the spread of ...


The Quasi-Class Action Method Of Managing Multi-District Litigations: Problems And A Proposal, Charles Silver, Geoffrey P. Miller Jan 2010

The Quasi-Class Action Method Of Managing Multi-District Litigations: Problems And A Proposal, Charles Silver, Geoffrey P. Miller

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article uses three recent multi-district litigations ("MDLs") that produced massive settlements-Guidant ($240 million), Vioxx ($4.85 billion), and Zyprexa ($700 million)-to study the emerging quasi-class action approach to MDL management. This approach has four components: (1) judicial selection of lead attorneys, (2) judicial control of lead attorneys' compensation, (3) forced fee transfers from non-lead lawyers to cover lead attorneys' fees, and (4) judicial reduction of non-lead lawyers' fees to save claimants money. These procedures have serious downsides. They make lawyers financially dependent on judges and, therefore, loyal to judges rather than clients. They compromise judges' independence by involving ...


The End Of Objector Blackmail?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick Jan 2009

The End Of Objector Blackmail?, Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Courts and commentators have long been concerned with holdout problems in the law. This Article focuses on a holdout problem in class action litigation known as objector “blackmail.” Objector blackmail occurs when individual class members delay the final resolution of class action settlements by filing meritless appeals in the hope of inducing class counsel to pay them a side settlement to drop their appeals. It is thought that class counsel pay these side settlements because they cannot receive their fee awards until all appeals from the settlement are resolved. Although several solutions to the blackmail problem have been proposed, both ...


Aggregate Litigation Across The Atlantic And The Future Of American Exceptionalism, Richard A. Nagareda Jan 2009

Aggregate Litigation Across The Atlantic And The Future Of American Exceptionalism, Richard A. Nagareda

Vanderbilt Law Review

In long-running debates over civil justice reform, two points remain broadly shared: the legal regime for civil litigation in this country is exceptional by comparison to European systems as a positive matter, and the United States is much the worse for it in normative terms. The positive dimension of this account pinpoints several exceptional features of the U.S. civil justice system: class actions, primarily on an opt-out basis; contingency-fee financing of litigation; rejection of Euro-style "loser-pays" rules that link responsibility for the fees of both sides to the outcome of the litigation; extensive reliance on juries as fact finders ...


Small Claim Mass Fraud Actions: A Proposal For Aggregate Litigation Under Rico, Leah Bressack Mar 2008

Small Claim Mass Fraud Actions: A Proposal For Aggregate Litigation Under Rico, Leah Bressack

Vanderbilt Law Review

Assume that, tomorrow, a large company advertises a "miracle pill" that it claims will cure all forms of cancer. The company uses a sophisticated national marketing campaign to convey a strong health assurance message, which it tailors to specific audiences: women with breast cancer, men with prostate cancer, older adults with intestinal cancer, and children with leukemia. In response to the national campaign, consumers across the country purchase the pill, which costs $10. Only then do consumers discover that the pill is worthless and that the company intentionally defrauded them.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") statute provides a ...


Insurers, Illusions Of Judgment & Litigation, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski Nov 2006

Insurers, Illusions Of Judgment & Litigation, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Vanderbilt Law Review

Insurers play a critical role in the civil justice system. By providing liability insurance to parties who would otherwise be untenable as defendants, insurers make litigation possible. Once litigation materializes, insurers provide representation, pay legal fees, and often play a central role in resolving disputes through settlement or adjudication. In this paper, we explore empirically how these key litigation players make important decisions in the litigation process, like evaluating a case, deciding whether to settle, and if so, on what terms. We find that insurers, though not entirely immune to the effects of cognitive illusions that have been shown to ...


Medical Malpractice Litigation And Tort Reform: It's The Incentives, Stupid, David A. Hyman, Charles Silver May 2006

Medical Malpractice Litigation And Tort Reform: It's The Incentives, Stupid, David A. Hyman, Charles Silver

Vanderbilt Law Review

Health care providers and tort reformers invariably claim that the medical malpractice litigation system is rife with behaviors that are irrational, unpredictable, and counter-productive. They attack civil juries, asserting that verdicts are skyrocketing without reason, are highly variable, and bear little or no relation to the merits of plaintiffs' claims. They complain about patients, arguing that the few with valid claims sue rarely, while the many who receive non- negligent treatment sue all the time. They attack greedy lawyers, alleging that they rake in obscene profits by routinely filing frivolous complaints. They complain that compensation flows almost randomly, winding up ...


Insurers, Illusions Of Judgment & Litigation, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski Jan 2006

Insurers, Illusions Of Judgment & Litigation, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Insurers play a critical role in the civil justice system. By providing liability insurance to parties who would otherwise be untenable as defendants, insurers make litigation possible. Once litigation materializes, insurers provide representation, pay legal fees, and often play a central role in resolving disputes through settlement or adjudication. In this paper, we explore empirically how these key litigation players make important decisions in the litigation process, like evaluating a case, deciding whether to settle, and if so, on what terms. We find that insurers, though not entirely immune to the effects of cognitive illusions that have been shown to ...


Pretext, Transparency And Motive In Mass Restitution Litigation, Anthony J. Sebok Nov 2004

Pretext, Transparency And Motive In Mass Restitution Litigation, Anthony J. Sebok

Vanderbilt Law Review

On February 23, 1993 The Washington Post published an article entitled, "Tobacco's Last Gasp? Towards a Smoke-Free Society." The article tested the hypothesis that in the near future no one would smoke in the United States. Its focus was on means: how would America reach a point when virtually no one smoked? The predictions ran the usual gamut of policy devices. Although their order of appearance may be random, the list was as follows: legal prohibitions on smoking in public, taxes, social pressure, increased health insurance costs to smokers, and (finally) litigation.

The Washington Post article noted that just ...


Doing Good, Doing Well, Howard M. Erichson Nov 2004

Doing Good, Doing Well, Howard M. Erichson

Vanderbilt Law Review

On the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education,' it is fitting that we should take account not only of what has become of school desegregation but also of the heroic public interest lawyer figure embodied by Thurgood Marshall. For his role as "the chief litigator for the civil rights movement," Marshall is widely regarded as a preeminent role model for public interest lawyers. Descriptions of Marshall's career as a public interest advocate emphasize not only his ability to "use the legal system as a tool for social change," but also his personal sacrifice as a lawyer who ...


Taking Adequacy Seriously: The Inadequate Assessment Of Adequacy In Litigation And Settlement Classes, Linda S. Mullenix Oct 2004

Taking Adequacy Seriously: The Inadequate Assessment Of Adequacy In Litigation And Settlement Classes, Linda S. Mullenix

Vanderbilt Law Review

In the past decade, the debate over settlement classes has moved considerably beyond the "sturm und drang" inspired by the epic settlement classes in Amchem Products, Incorporated. v. Windsor' and Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corporation. Whereas Amchem asked whether and on what terms federal courts were authorized to approve settlement classes, and Ortiz asked whether a mandatory, limited- fund global asbestos settlement was sustainable, the settlement class issue du jour focuses on the ability of litigants to collaterally attack settlements in remote forums and at remote times.

Because the collateral attack problem is so vital to the sanctity of settlement classes ...


The Public And Private Faces Of Derivative Lawsuits, Robert B. Thompson, Randall S. Thomas Oct 2004

The Public And Private Faces Of Derivative Lawsuits, Robert B. Thompson, Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt Law Review

Are shareholder derivative suits at death's door? Once described as "the most important procedure the law has yet developed to police the internal affairs of corporations,"' derivative suits are today regularly portrayed as nuisance suits whose "principal beneficiaries ... are attorneys." Even if these critics are wrong, there may now be less need for derivative suits, as other forms of representative suits have grown up that do much of their work. Federal securities fraud class actions increasingly address legal claims that raise issues about management care, and fiduciary duty class actions under state law are the principal litigation vehicle to ...