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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, And Bad For Business, Theodore Eisenberg Dec 2009

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Liability Survey: Inaccurate, Unfair, And Bad For Business, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce uses its Survey of State Liability to criticize judiciaries and seek legal change but no detailed evaluation of the survey’s quality exists. This article presents evidence that the survey is substantively inaccurate and methodologically flawed. It incorrectly characterizes state law; respondents provide less than 10 percent correct answers for objectively verifiable responses. It is internally inconsistent; a state threatened with judicial hellhole status ranked first in the survey while venues not on the list ranked lower. The absence of correlation between survey rankings and observable activity suggests that other factors drive the rankings. Two factors …


Statistics In The Jury Box: How Jurors Respond To Mitochondrial Dna Match Probabilities, David H. Kaye, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson Dec 2007

Statistics In The Jury Box: How Jurors Respond To Mitochondrial Dna Match Probabilities, David H. Kaye, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article describes parts of an unusually realistic experiment on the comprehension of expert testimony on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing in a criminal trial for robbery. Specifically, we examine how jurors who responded to summonses for jury duty evaluated portions of videotaped testimony involving probabilities and statistics. Although some jurors showed susceptibility to classic fallacies in interpreting conditional probabilities, the jurors as a whole were not overwhelmed by a 99.98% exclusion probability that the prosecution presented. Cognitive errors favoring the defense were more prevalent than ones favoring the prosecution. These findings lend scant support to the legal argument that mtDNA …


Do Juries Add Value? Evidence From An Empirical Study Of Jury Trial Waiver Clauses In Large Corporate Contracts, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Nov 2007

Do Juries Add Value? Evidence From An Empirical Study Of Jury Trial Waiver Clauses In Large Corporate Contracts, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

We study jury trial waivers in a data set of 2,816 contracts contained as exhibits in Form 8-K filings by reporting corporations during 2002. Because these contracts are associated with events deemed material to the financial condition of SEC-reporting firms, they likely are carefully negotiated by sophisticated, well-informed parties and thus provide presumptive evidence about the value associated with the availability of jury trials. A minority of contracts, about 20 percent, waived jury trials. An additional 9 percent of contracts had arbitration clauses that effectively preclude jury trials though the reason for arbitration clauses need not specifically relate to juries. …


Foreigners' Fate In America's Courts: Empirical Legal Research, Kevin M. Clermont, Theodore Eisenberg Mar 2007

Foreigners' Fate In America's Courts: Empirical Legal Research, Kevin M. Clermont, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article revisits the controversy regarding how foreigners fare in U.S. courts. The available data, if taken in a sufficiently big sample from numerous case categories and a range of years, indicate that foreigners have fared better in the federal courts than their domestic counterparts have fared. Thus, the data offer no support for the existence of xenophobic bias in U.S. courts. Nor do they establish xenophilia, of course. What the data do show is that case selection drives the outcomes for foreigners. Foreigners’ aversion to U.S. forums can elevate the foreigners’ success rates, when measured as a percentage of …


The Flight From Arbitration: An Empirical Study Of Ex Ante Arbitration Clauses In The Contracts Of Publicly Held Companies, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Jan 2007

The Flight From Arbitration: An Empirical Study Of Ex Ante Arbitration Clauses In The Contracts Of Publicly Held Companies, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Informed parties bargaining for their mutual advantage will tend to agree to provisions that maximize the social surplus. Such bargaining includes provisions regarding the resolution of disputes that might arise under the contract. Thus, if a form of alternative dispute resolution, such as binding arbitration, provides greater social benefits than litigation, the dynamics of the process should tend to induce the parties to include a clause submitting future disputes to arbitration. This Article studies the actual contracting practices of large, sophisticated actors with respect to arbitration clauses. We examined over 2800 contracts, filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in …


Ex Ante Choices Of Law And Forum: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Merger Agreements, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Nov 2006

Ex Ante Choices Of Law And Forum: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Merger Agreements, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Legal scholars have focused much attention on the incorporation puzzle—why business corporations so heavily favor Delaware as the site of incorporation. This paper suggests that the focus on the incorporation decision overlooks a broader but intimately related set of questions. The choice of Delaware as a situs of incorporation is, effectively, a choice of law decision. A company electing to charter in Delaware selects Delaware law (and authorizes Delaware courts to adjudicate legal disputes) regarding the allocation of governance authority within the firm. In this sense, the incorporation decision is fundamentally similar to any setting in which a company selects …


Incentive Awards To Class Action Plaintiffs: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Aug 2006

Incentive Awards To Class Action Plaintiffs: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Incentive awards to representative plaintiffs in class actions have been the focus of recent law reform efforts and have generated inconsistent case law. But little is known about such awards. This study of 374 opinions from 1993 to 2002 finds that awards were granted in about 28 percent of settled class actions. The rate of awards varied by case category as follows: consumer credit actions 59 percent, employment discrimination cases 46 percent, antitrust cases 35 percent, securities cases 24 percent (before the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 limited awards), and corporate and mass tort actions less than 10 …


Significant Association Between Punitive And Compensatory Damages In Blockbuster Cases: A Methodological Primer, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells Mar 2006

Significant Association Between Punitive And Compensatory Damages In Blockbuster Cases: A Methodological Primer, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article assesses the relation between punitive and compensatory damages in a data set, gathered by Hersch and Viscusi (H-V), consisting of all known punitive damages awards in excess of $100 million from 1985 through 2003. It shows that a strong, statistically significant relation exists between punitive and compensatory awards, a relation that replicates similar findings in nearly all other analyses of punitive and compensatory damages. H-V's claim that no significant relation exists between punitive and compensatory awards in these data appears to be an artifact of questionable regression methodology.


Assessing The Ssrn-Based Law School Rankings, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2006

Assessing The Ssrn-Based Law School Rankings, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

One noteworthy feature of the SSRN-based rankings is the high correlation between them and other rankings. Black and Caron report correlation coefficients between their two Social Science Research Network (SSRN) school rankings (one based on downloads from SSRN and one based on the number of papers posted on SSRN) and six other published rankings. The correlations provide a useful and creative measure of consistency across studies. If ranking studies are highly correlated, then the least expensive and most efficient study to conduct can be used without incurring the expense and delay of the more labor-intensive ranking methods. SSRN has a …


An Empirical Analysis Of Ceo Employment Contracts: What Do Top Executives Bargain For?, Stewart J. Schwab, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2006

An Empirical Analysis Of Ceo Employment Contracts: What Do Top Executives Bargain For?, Stewart J. Schwab, Randall S. Thomas

Cornell Law Faculty Publications


Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg Dec 2005

Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia (1972), held that the death penalty is constitutional only when applied on an individualized basis. The resultant changes in the laws in death penalty states fostered the involvement of psychiatric and psychologic expert witnesses at the sentencing phase of the trial, to testify on two major issues: (1) the mitigating factor of a defendant’s abnormal mental state and (2) the aggravating factor of a defendant’s potential for future violence. This study was an exploration of the responses of capital jurors to psychiatric/psychologic expert testimony during capital sentencing. The Capital Jury Project is …


Why Are So Many People Challenging Board Of Immigration Appeals Decisions In Federal Court? An Empirical Analysis Of The Recent Surge In Petitions For Review, John R.B. Palmer, Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, Elizabeth Cronin Oct 2005

Why Are So Many People Challenging Board Of Immigration Appeals Decisions In Federal Court? An Empirical Analysis Of The Recent Surge In Petitions For Review, John R.B. Palmer, Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, Elizabeth Cronin

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Judge-Jury Agreement In Criminal Cases: A Partial Replication Of Kalven And Zeisel's The American Jury, Theodore Eisenberg, Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, Nicole L. Waters, G. Thomas Munsterman, Stewart J. Schwab, Martin T. Wells Mar 2005

Judge-Jury Agreement In Criminal Cases: A Partial Replication Of Kalven And Zeisel's The American Jury, Theodore Eisenberg, Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, Nicole L. Waters, G. Thomas Munsterman, Stewart J. Schwab, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This study uses a new criminal case data set to partially replicate Kalven and Zeisel's classic study of judge-jury agreement. The data show essentially the same rate of judge-jury agreement as did Kalven and Zeisel for cases tried almost 50 years ago. This study also explores judge-jury agreement as a function of evidentiary strength (as reported by both judges and juries), evidentiary complexity (as reported by both judges and juries), legal complexity (as reported by judges), and locale. Regardless of which adjudicator's view of evidentiary strength is used, judges tend to convict more than juries in cases of "middle" evidentiary …


The Fate Of Firms: Explaining Mergers And Bankruptcies, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren, Martin T. Wells Mar 2005

The Fate Of Firms: Explaining Mergers And Bankruptcies, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Using a uniquely complete data set of more than 50,000 observations of approximately 16,000 corporations, we test theories that seek to explain which firms become merger targets and which firms go bankrupt. We find that merger activity is much greater during prosperous periods than during recessions. In bad economic times, firms in industries with high bankruptcy rates are less likely to file for bankruptcy than they are in better years, supporting the market illiquidity arguments made by Shleifer and Vishny (1992). At the firm level, we find that, among poorly performing firms, the likelihood of merger increases with poorer performance, …


Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2005

Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia (1972), held that the death penalty is constitutional only when applied on an individualized basis. The resultant changes in the laws in death penalty states fostered the involvement of psychiatric and psychologic expert witnesses at the sentencing phase of the trial, to testify on two major issues: (1) the mitigating factor of a defendant’s abnormal mental state and (2) the aggravating factor of a defendant’s potential for future violence. This study was an exploration of the responses of capital jurors to psychiatric/psychologic expert testimony during capital sentencing. The Capital Jury Project is …


Death Sentence Rates And County Demographics: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2005

Death Sentence Rates And County Demographics: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The number of murders in a state largely determines the size of a state's death row. The more murders, the larger the death row. This fundamental relation yields surprising results, including the newsworthy finding that Texas's death sentencing rate is not unusually high. Recent state-level research also underscores the importance of race in the demography of death row. Death penalty research has long emphasized race's role, and with good reason--a racial hierarchy exists in death sentence rates. Black defendants who murder white victims receive death sentences at the highest rate; white defendants who murder white victims receive death sentences at …


On The Design Of Efficient Priority Rules For Secured Creditors: Empirical Evidence From A Change In Law, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren Dec 2004

On The Design Of Efficient Priority Rules For Secured Creditors: Empirical Evidence From A Change In Law, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article assesses the effect of a reduction in secured creditor priority on distributions and administrative costs in liquidating bankruptcy cases by reporting the first empirical study of the effect of a priority change. Priority reform had redistributive effects in liquidating bankruptcy. As expected, average payments to general unsecured creditors were significantly higher after the reform than before the reform and payments to secured creditors decreased. Reform did not increase the size of the pie to be distributed in bankruptcy. Nor did it increase the direct costs of bankruptcy.


Appeal Rates And Outcomes In Tried And Nontried Cases: Further Exploration Of Anti-Plaintiff Appellate Outcomes, Theodore Eisenberg Nov 2004

Appeal Rates And Outcomes In Tried And Nontried Cases: Further Exploration Of Anti-Plaintiff Appellate Outcomes, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Federal data sets covering district court and appellate court civil cases for cases terminating in fiscal years 1988 through 2000 are analyzed. Appeals are filed in 10.9 percent of filed cases, and 21.0 percent of cases if one limits the sample to cases with a definitive judgment for plaintiff or defendant. The appeal rate is 39.6 percent in tried cases compared to 10.0 percent of nontried cases. For cases with definitive judgments, the appeal filing rate is 19.0 percent in nontried cases and 40.9 percent in tried cases. Tried cases with definitive judgments are appealed to a conclusion on the …


The Merciful Capital Juror, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen P. Garvey Oct 2004

The Merciful Capital Juror, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen P. Garvey

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

We examine the role of mercy in capital sentencing along three dimensions. We first explain why mercy is a philosophically problematic virtue, and second, why it presently holds an ambiguous status within constitutional doctrine. Finally, we draw on interviews with jurors who served on capital cases in order better to understand how the behavior of merciful jurors compares to the behavior of their less merciful counterparts. Among other things, we find that merciful jurors tend to be better educated and to attend religious services regularly. We also find that merciful jurors are, as one might reasonably expect, more apt to …


Implicit Racial Attitudes Of Death Penalty Lawyers, Theodore Eisenberg, Sheri Lynn Johnson Jul 2004

Implicit Racial Attitudes Of Death Penalty Lawyers, Theodore Eisenberg, Sheri Lynn Johnson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Defense attorneys commonly suspect that the defendant's race plays a role in prosecutors' decisions to seek the death penalty, especially when the victim of the crime was white. When the defendant is convicted of the crime and sentenced to death, it is equally common for such attorneys to question the racial attitudes of the jury. These suspicions are not merely partisan conjectures; ample historical, statistical, and anecdotal evidence supports the inference that race matters in capital cases. Even the General Accounting Office of the United States concludes as much. Despite McCleskey v. Kemp, in which the United States Supreme Court …


Explaining Death Row's Population And Racial Composition, John H. Blume, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells Mar 2004

Explaining Death Row's Population And Racial Composition, John H. Blume, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Twenty-three years of murder and death sentence data show how murder demographics help explain death row populations. Nevada and Oklahoma are the most death-prone states; Texas's death sentence rate is below the national mean. Accounting for the race of murderers establishes that black representation on death row is lower than black representation in the population of murder offenders. This disproportion results from reluctance to seek or impose death in black defendant-black victim cases, which more than offsets eagerness to seek and impose death in black defendant-white victim cases. Death sentence rates in black defendant-white victim cases far exceed those in …


Attorney Fees In Class Action Settlements: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Mar 2004

Attorney Fees In Class Action Settlements: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Study of two comprehensive class action case data sets covering 1993-2002 shows that the amount of client recovery is overwhelmingly the most important determinant of the attorney fee award. Even in cases in which the courts engage in the lodestar calculation (the product of reasonable hours and a reasonable hourly rate), the client's recovery generally explains the pattern of awards better than the lodestar. Thus, the time and expense of a lodestar calculation may be wasteful. We also find no robust evidence that either recoveries for plaintiffs or fees of their attorneys increased overtime. The mean fee award in common …


Arbitration And Litigation Of Employment Claims: An Empirical Comparison, Theodore Eisenberg, Elizabeth Hill Jan 2004

Arbitration And Litigation Of Employment Claims: An Empirical Comparison, Theodore Eisenberg, Elizabeth Hill

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The authors conducted empirical research comparing court case and arbitrated outcomes for employment disputes. In cases not involving civil rights claims, they found little evidence that arbitrated outcomes materially differed from trial outcomes where the claimant was a higher-paid employee. Moreover, they found no statistically significant differences between employee win rates or in the median or mean awards in arbitration and litigation. They also reported evidence indicating that arbitrated disputes conclude more quickly than litigated disputes.


What Is A Reasonable Attorney Fee? An Empirical Study Of Class Action Settlements, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Jul 2003

What Is A Reasonable Attorney Fee? An Empirical Study Of Class Action Settlements, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Determining an appropriate fee is a difficult task facing trial court judges in class action litigation. But courts rarely rely on empirical research to assess a fee’s reasonableness, due, at least in part, to the relative paucity of available information. Existing empirical studies of attorney fees in class action cases are limited in scope, and generally do not control for important variables. To help fill this gap, we analyzed data from all state and federal class actions with reported fee decisions from 1993 to 2002 in which the fee and class recovery could be determined with reasonable confidence.

We find …


Virginia's Capital Jurors, Stephen P. Garvey, Paul Marcus Apr 2003

Virginia's Capital Jurors, Stephen P. Garvey, Paul Marcus

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Next to Texas, no state has executed more capital defendants than Virginia. Moreover, the likelihood of a death sentence actually being carried out is greater in Virginia than it is elsewhere, while the length of time between the imposition of a death sentence and its actual execution is shorter. Virginia has thus earned a reputation among members of the defense bar as being among the worst of the death penalty states. Yet insofar as these facts about Virginia's death penalty relate primarily to the behavior of state and federal appellate courts, they suggest that what makes Virginia's death penalty unique …


The Government As Litigant: Further Tests Of The Case Selection Model, Theodore Eisenberg, Henry Farber Apr 2003

The Government As Litigant: Further Tests Of The Case Selection Model, Theodore Eisenberg, Henry Farber

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

We develop a model of the plaintiff's decision to file a lawsuit that has implications for how differences between the federal government and private litigants translate into differences in trial rates and plaintiff win rates at trial. Our case selection model generates a set of predictions for relative trial rates and plaintiff win rates, depending on the type of case and whether the government is defendant or plaintiff. To test the model, we use data on about 474,000 cases filed in federal district court between 1979 and 1994 in the areas of personal injury and job discrimination, in which the …


Nullification At Work? A Glimpse From The National Center For State Courts Study Of Hung Juries, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans Jan 2003

Nullification At Work? A Glimpse From The National Center For State Courts Study Of Hung Juries, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In recent years, the criminal justice community has become increasingly concerned about the possibility that jury nullification is the underlying motivation for increasing numbers of acquittals and mistrials due to jury deadlock in felony jury trials. In this Article, the authors discuss the inherent difficulty in defining jury nullification and identifying its occurrence in actual trials. They review the evolution in public and legal opinion about the legitimacy of jury nullification and contemporary judicial responses to perceived instances of jury nullification. Finally, the authors examine the possible presence of jury nullification through empirical analysis of data collected from 372 felony …


Victim Characteristics And Victim Impact Evidence In South Carolina Capital Cases, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen P. Garvey, Martin T. Wells Jan 2003

Victim Characteristics And Victim Impact Evidence In South Carolina Capital Cases, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen P. Garvey, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article is available at:

http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/facpub/290/.

The use of victim impact evidence (VIE) has been a standard feature of capital trials since 1991, when the Supreme Court lifted the previously existing constitutional bar to such evidence. Legal scholars have almost universally condemned the use of VIE, criticizing it on a variety of grounds.

Yet little empirical analysis exists that examines how VIE influences the course and outcome of capital trials. Moreover, the handful of empirical analyses that do exist rely on data gathered in simulation studies. Although valuable contributions have emerged from these experimental studies, such studies have often-rehearsed …


Victim Characteristics And Victim Impact Evidence In South Carolina Capital Cases, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen P. Garvey, Martin T. Wells Jan 2003

Victim Characteristics And Victim Impact Evidence In South Carolina Capital Cases, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen P. Garvey, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The use of victim impact evidence (VIE) has been a standard feature of capital trials since 1991, when the Supreme Court lifted the previously existing constitutional bar to such evidence. Legal scholars have almost universally condemned the use of VIE, criticizing it on a variety of grounds. Yet little empirical analysis exists that examines how VIE influences the course and outcome of capital trials. We analyze the influence of VIE based on interviews with over two-hundred jurors who sat on capital trials in South Carolina between 1985 and 2001.

First, we describe the VIE introduced at sentencing trials, using a …


How Employment-Discrimination Plaintiffs Fare In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Kevin M. Clermont, Theodore Eisenberg, Stewart J. Schwab Jan 2003

How Employment-Discrimination Plaintiffs Fare In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Kevin M. Clermont, Theodore Eisenberg, Stewart J. Schwab

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Employment-discrimination plaintiffs swim against the tide. Compared to the typical plaintiff, they win a lower proportion of cases during pretrial and after trial. Then, many of their successful cases are appealed. On appeal, they have a harder time in upholding their successes, as well in reversing adverse outcome.

This tough story does not describe some tiny corner of the litigation world. Employment-discrimination cases constitute an increasing fraction of the federal civil docket, now reigning as the largest single category of cases at nearly 10 percent.

In this article, we use official government data to describe the appellate phase of this …