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Reforming The Securities Class Action: An Essay On Deterrence And Its Implementation, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2006

Reforming The Securities Class Action: An Essay On Deterrence And Its Implementation, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

The securities class action cannot be justified in terms of compensation, but only in terms of deterrence. Currently, the damages recovered through private enforcement dwarf the financial penalties levied by public enforcement. Yet, the evidence is clear that corporate officers and insiders rarely contribute to securities class action settlements, with the settlement funds coming instead from the corporation and its insurers. As a result, the cost of such actions in the aggregate falls on largely diversified shareholders. Such a system is akin to punishing the victims of burglary for their negligence in suffering a burglary and does little to deter ...


Innovation Through Intimidation: An Empirical Account Of Defamation Litigation In China, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 2006

Innovation Through Intimidation: An Empirical Account Of Defamation Litigation In China, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

Consider two recent defamation cases in Chinese courts. In 2004, Zhang Xide, a former county-level Communist Party boss, sued the authors of a best selling book, An Investigation into China's Peasants. The book exposed official malfeasance on Zhang's watch and the resultant peasant hardships. Zhang demanded an apology from the book's authors and publisher, excision of the offending chapter, 200,000 yuan (approximately U.S.$25,000) for emotional damages, and a share of profits from sales of the book. Zhang sued in a local court on which, not coincidentally, his son sat as a judge.

In ...


Optimal Liability For Terrorism, Darius N. Lakdawalla, Eric L. Talley Jan 2006

Optimal Liability For Terrorism, Darius N. Lakdawalla, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyzes the normative role for civil liability in aligning terrorism precaution incentives, when the perpetrators of terrorism are unreachable by courts or regulators. We consider the strategic interaction among targets, subsidiary victims, and terrorists within a sequential, game-theoretic model. The model reveals that, while an "optimal" liability regime indeed exists, its features appear at odds with conventional legal templates. For example, it frequently prescribes damages payments from seemingly unlikely defendants, directing them to seemingly unlikely plaintiffs. The challenge of introducing such a regime using existing tort law doctrines, therefore, is likely to be prohibitive. Instead, we argue, efficient ...


Reforming The Securities Class Action: On Deterrence And Its Implementation, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2006

Reforming The Securities Class Action: On Deterrence And Its Implementation, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Securities class actions impose enormous penalties, but they achieve little compensation and only limited deterrence. This is because of a basic circularity underlying the securities class action: When damages are imposed on the corporation, they essentially fall on diversified shareholders, thereby producing mainly pocket-shifting wealth transfers among shareholders. The current equilibrium benefits corporate insiders, insurers, and plaintiffs' attorneys, but not investors. The appropriate answer to this problem is not to abandon securities litigation, but to shift the incidence of its penalties so that, in the secondary market context, they fall less on the corporation and more on those actors who ...