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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Public Law and Legal Theory

Courts

2017

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Empowering Individual Plaintiffs, Alex Stein, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2017

Empowering Individual Plaintiffs, Alex Stein, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The individual plaintiff plays a critical—yet, underappreciated—role in our legal system. Only lawsuits that are brought by individual plaintiffs allow the law to achieve the twin goals of efficiency and fairness. The ability of individual plaintiffs to seek justice against those who wronged them deters wrongdoing, ex ante, and in those cases in which a wrong has been committed nevertheless, it guarantees the payment of compensation, ex post. No other form of litigation, including class actions and criminal prosecutions, or even compensation funds, can accomplish the same result. Yet, as we show in this Essay, in many key ...