Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 33

Full-Text Articles in Law

A Remedy For The Least Well Off: The Case For Preliminary Damages, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein Feb 2021

A Remedy For The Least Well Off: The Case For Preliminary Damages, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Historically, the law helped impecunious plaintiffs overcome their inherent disadvantage in civil litigation. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case: modern law has largely abandoned the mission of assisting the least well off. In this Essay, we propose a new remedy that can dramatically improve the fortunes of poor plaintiffs and thereby change the errant path of the law: preliminary damages. The unavailability of preliminary damages has dire implications for poor plaintiffs, especially those wronged by affluent individuals and corporations. Resource constrained plaintiffs cannot afford prolonged litigation on account of their limited financial means. Consequently, they are forced to either ...


Publicly Funded Objectors, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch Jan 2018

Publicly Funded Objectors, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

Scholarly Works

On paper, class actions run like clockwork. But practice suggests the need for tune-ups: sometimes judges still approve settlements rife with red flags, and professional objectors may be more concerned with shaking down class counsel than with improving class members’ outcomes. The lack of data on the number of opt-outs, objectors, and claims rates fuels debates on both sides, for little is known about how well or poorly class members actually fare. This reveals a ubiquitous problem — information barriers confront judges, objectors, and even reformers. Rule 23’s answer is to empower objectors. At best, objectors are a partial fix ...


Piling On? An Empirical Study Of Parallel Derivative Suits, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, Adam C. Pritchard Nov 2017

Piling On? An Empirical Study Of Parallel Derivative Suits, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

Using a sample of all companies named as defendants in securities class actions between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2008, we study parallel suits relying on state corporate law arising out of the same allegations as the securities class actions. We test several ways that parallel suits may add value to a securities class action. Most parallel suits target cases involving obvious indicia of wrongdoing. Moreover, we find that although a modest percentage of parallel suits are filed first, over 80 percent are filed after a securities class action (termed “follow-on” parallel suits). We find that parallel suits and ...


Toward A Theory Of Motion Practice And Settlement: Comment, Adam C. Pritchard Mar 2017

Toward A Theory Of Motion Practice And Settlement: Comment, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

"Scott Baker (2017) has provided a thought-provoking contribution to this symposium volume, helping us to better understand the strategic game of litigation. In terms of both resources and actual disputes resolved, pretrial practice is vastly more important than actual trials. Trials are a rarity in the American civil justice system, as the overwhelming majority of disputes are resolved via settlement. Indeed, rational-choice scholars have struggled to explain why all disputes are not resolved via settlement, as settlement avoids the expense of a trial, which is a dead-weight loss to both sides of the dispute. The parties’ mutual incentive toward settlement ...


Repeat Players In Multidistrict Litigation: The Social Network, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams Jan 2017

Repeat Players In Multidistrict Litigation: The Social Network, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Margaret S. Williams

Scholarly Works

As class certification wanes, plaintiffs’ lawyers resolve hundreds of thousands of individual lawsuits through aggregate settlements in multidistrict litigation. But without class actions, formal rules are scarce and judges rarely scrutinize the private agreements that result. Meanwhile, the same principal-agent concerns that plagued class-action attorneys linger. These circumstances are ripe for exploitation: few rules, little oversight, multi-million dollar common-benefit fees, and a push for settlement can tempt a cadre of repeat players to fill in the gaps in ways that further their own self-interest.

Although multidistrict litigation now comprises 36 percent of the entire federal civil caseload, legal scholars have ...


A Comprehensive Theory Of Civil Settlement, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier Apr 2016

A Comprehensive Theory Of Civil Settlement, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier

Articles

A settlement is an agreement between parties to a dispute. In everyday parlance and in academic scholarship, settlement is juxtaposed with trial or some other method of dispute resolution in which a third-party factfinder ultimately picks a winner and announces a score. The “trial versus settlement” trope, however, represents a false choice; viewing settlement solely as a dispute-ending alternative to a costly trial leads to a narrow understanding of how dispute resolution should and often does work. In this Article, we describe and defend a much richer concept of settlement, amounting in effect to a continuum of possible agreements between ...


Class Action Myopia, Maureen Carroll Feb 2016

Class Action Myopia, Maureen Carroll

Articles

Over the past two decades, courts and commentators have often treated the class action as though it were a monolith, limiting their analysis to the particular class form that joins together a large number of claims for monetary relief This Article argues that the myopic focus on the aggregated-damages class action has led to undertheorization of the other class-action subtypes, which serve far different purposes and have far different effects, and has allowed the ongoing backlash against the aggregated-damages class action to affect the other subtypes in an undifferentiated manner. The failure to confine this backlash to its intended target ...


Everything’S Bigger In Texas: Except The Medmal Settlements, Tom Baker, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Jan 2016

Everything’S Bigger In Texas: Except The Medmal Settlements, Tom Baker, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent work using Texas closed claim data finds that physicians are rarely required to use personal assets in medical malpractice settlements even when plaintiffs secure judgments above the physician's insurance limits. In equilibrium, this should lead physicians to purchase less insurance. Qualitative research on the behavior of plaintiffs suggests that there is a norm under which plaintiffs agree not to pursue personal assets as long as defendants are not grossly underinsured. This norm operates as a soft constraint on physicians. All other things equal, while physicians want to lower their coverage, they do not want to violate the norm ...


Prisoners' Rights Lawyers' Strategies For Preserving The Role Of The Courts, Margo Schlanger Apr 2015

Prisoners' Rights Lawyers' Strategies For Preserving The Role Of The Courts, Margo Schlanger

Articles

This Article is part of the University of Miami Law Review’s Leading from Below Symposium. It canvasses prisoners’ lawyers’ strategies prompted by the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). The strategies comply with the statute’s limits yet also allow U.S. district courts to remain a forum for the vindication of the constitutional rights of at least some of the nation’s millions of prisoners. After Part I’s introduction, Part II summarizes in several charts the PLRA’s sharp impact on the prevalence and outcomes of prison litigation, but demonstrates that there are still many cases and ...


Trial And Settlement: A Study Of High-Low Agreements, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier, Albert Yoon Aug 2014

Trial And Settlement: A Study Of High-Low Agreements, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier, Albert Yoon

Articles

This article presents the first systematic theoretical and empirical study of highlow agreements in civil litigation. A high-low agreement is a private contract that, if signed by litigants before trial, constrains any plaintiff’s recovery to a specified range. In our theoretical model, trial is both costly and risky. When litigants have divergent subjective beliefs and are mutually optimistic about their trial prospects, cases may fail to settle. In these cases, high-low agreements can be in litigants’ mutual interest because they limit the risk of outlier awards while still allowing mutually beneficial speculation. Using claims data from a national insurance ...


Claim Funders And Commercial Claim Holders: A Common Interest Or A Common Problem?, Michele M. Destefano Jan 2014

Claim Funders And Commercial Claim Holders: A Common Interest Or A Common Problem?, Michele M. Destefano

Articles

Commercial claim funding, where funders invest in business disputes in exchange for a percentage of any eventual settlement or judgment, is a growing industry in the United States. Funders may request confidential information about the claim and litigation strategy both before deciding to invest (to analyze the strength of the claim) and during the course of the financial relationship (to manage the investment). Further, these funders may work and communicate with claim holders and lawyers about the claim. However, there has been little caselaw and little in-depth analysis on whether--and in what circumstances-the attorney--client privilege and work-product doctrine can be ...


Check Please: Using Legal Liability To Inform Food Safety Regulation, Alexia Brunet Marks Jan 2013

Check Please: Using Legal Liability To Inform Food Safety Regulation, Alexia Brunet Marks

Articles

Food safety is a hotly debated issue. While food nourishes, sustains, and enriches our lives, it can also kill us. At any given meal, our menu comes from a dozen different sources. Without proper incentives to encourage food safety, microbial pathogens can, and do enter the food source--so much so that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year roughly one in six Americans (or forty-eight million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. What is the optimal way to prevent unsafe foods from entering the marketplace?

Safety in ...


Merger Settlement And Enforcement Policy For Optimal Deterrence And Maximum Welfare, Steven C. Salop Jan 2013

Merger Settlement And Enforcement Policy For Optimal Deterrence And Maximum Welfare, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Merger enforcement today relies on settlements more than litigation to resolve anti-competitive concerns. The impact of settlement policy on welfare and the proper goals of settlement policy are highly controversial. Some argue that gun-shy agencies settle for too little while others argue that agencies use their power to delay to extract over-reaching settlement terms, even when mergers are not welfare-reducing. This article uses decision theory to throw light on this controversy. The goal of this article is to formulate and analyze agency merger enforcement and settlement commitment policies in the face of imperfect information, litigation costs, and delay risks by ...


Judges! Stop Deferring To Class-Action Lawyers, Brian Wolfman Jan 2013

Judges! Stop Deferring To Class-Action Lawyers, Brian Wolfman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The idea for this article came from the author's representation of a national non-profit consumer rights organization in a federal appeal challenging a district court’s approval of a class-action settlement. The organization's appellate briefs argued that the district court committed a reversible legal error when it deferred to the class-action lawyers’ recommendation to approve the settlement because, in those lawyers’ views, the settlement was "fair, reasonable, and adequate" (which is the standard for class-action settlement approval under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e)). The district court also deferred to the lawyers' reputations as talented and honest ...


The Criminal Class Action, Adam S. Zimmerman, David Jaros Apr 2011

The Criminal Class Action, Adam S. Zimmerman, David Jaros

All Faculty Scholarship

Over the past ten years, in a variety of high-profile corporate scandals, prosecutors have sought billions of dollars in restitution for crimes ranging from environmental dumping and consumer scams to financial fraud. In what we call “criminal class action” settlements, prosecutors distribute that money to groups of victims as in a civil class action while continuing to pursue the traditional criminal justice goals of retribution and deterrence.

Unlike civil class actions, however, the emerging criminal class action lacks critical safeguards for victims entitled to compensation. While prosecutors are encouraged, and even required by statute, to seek victim restitution, they lack ...


Slides: Groundwater Law And Administration: From Conflict To Reform, Michael A. Gheleta Jun 2009

Slides: Groundwater Law And Administration: From Conflict To Reform, Michael A. Gheleta

Western Water Law, Policy and Management: Ripples, Currents, and New Channels for Inquiry (Martz Summer Conference, June 3-5)

Presenter: Michael A. Gheleta, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Denver, CO

14 slides


What Is The Settlement Rate And Why Should We Care?, Theodore Eisenberg, Charlotte Lanvers Mar 2009

What Is The Settlement Rate And Why Should We Care?, Theodore Eisenberg, Charlotte Lanvers

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

After establishing the importance of knowledge of settlement rates, this article first shows that different research questions can yield different settlement rates. Using data gathered from about 3,300 federal cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (EDPA) and the Northern District of Georgia (NDGA), differing measures of settlement emerge depending on whether one is interested in (1) settlement as a proxy for plaintiffs’ litigation success, or (2) settlement as a measure of litigated disputes resolved without final adjudication. Using settlement as a proxy for plaintiff success, we estimate the aggregate settlement rate across case categories in the two districts ...


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 ...


Preventing The Subversion Of Devlin V. Scardelletti, Brian Wolfman Jun 2005

Preventing The Subversion Of Devlin V. Scardelletti, Brian Wolfman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Devlin v. Scardelletti that objecting class members could appeal a federal district court’s approval of a class settlement without first intervening in the litigation. Public interest lawyer Brian Wolfman says the ruling was a victory for both objectors and the integrity of class action procedure: Objectors, he argues, help keep fairness hearings fair.

But a number of courts are now ruling that Devlin only applies to non-opt-out class actions, rather than the much more numerous ones that give class members opt-out rights. In this article, Wolfman details the exact wording ...


Do Institutions Matter? The Impact Of The Lead Plaintiff Provision Of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, Adam C. Pritchard, Stephen J. Choi, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2005

Do Institutions Matter? The Impact Of The Lead Plaintiff Provision Of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, Adam C. Pritchard, Stephen J. Choi, Jill E. Fisch

Articles

When Congress enacted the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act in 1995 ("PSLRA"), the Act's "lead plaintiff' provision was the centerpiece of its efforts to increase investor control over securities fraud class actions. The lead plaintiff provision alters the balance of power between investors and class counsel by creating a presumption that the investor with the largest financial stake in the case will serve as lead plaintiff. The lead plaintiff then chooses class counsel and, at least in theory, negotiates the terms of counsel's compensation. Congress's stated purpose in enacting the lead plaintiff provision was to encourage institutional ...


Clear Sailing Agreements: A Special Form Of Collusion In Class Action Settlements, William D. Henderson Jan 2003

Clear Sailing Agreements: A Special Form Of Collusion In Class Action Settlements, William D. Henderson

Articles by Maurer Faculty

A clear sailing agreement (or clause) is a compromise in which a class action defendant agrees not to contest the class lawyer's petition for attorneys' fees. This Article argues that clear sailing provisions often facilitate collusive settlements in cases involving non-pecuniary relief or claims-made common funds that return all unclaimed monies to the defendant. Because these types of settlements present difficult valuation problems, trial courts lack a clear benchmark for calculating attorneys' fees. Defendants and class can exploit this uncertainty by presenting an inflated settlement value to the court (to justify higher attorneys' fees) while simultaneously reducing the true ...


A Taxing Settlement, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White Jan 2003

A Taxing Settlement, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White

Articles

The following essay is based on the talk "Government, Citizens, and Injurious Industries: A Case Study of the Tobacco Litigation," delivered by Hanoch Dagan last May to the Detroit Chapter of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and on the article "Governments, Citizens, and Injurious Industries," by Dagan and James J. White, '62, which appeared in 75.2 New York University Law Review 254-428 (May 2000). The authors hold conflicting view on the underlying issue of this topic: tobacco company product liability. Professor Dagan holds the position that tobacco companies are liable for harm done by their products ...


Litigation Realities, Kevin M. Clermont, Theodore Eisenberg Nov 2002

Litigation Realities, Kevin M. Clermont, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

After both summarizing recent empirical work and presenting new observations on each of the six phases of a civil lawsuit (forum, pretrial, settlement, trial, judgment, and appeal), the authors draw a series of lessons for understanding and using empirical methods in the study of the legal system's operation. In so doing, they generate implications for current and projected policy debates concerning litigation, while identifying areas that demand further empirical work.


Governments, Citizens, And Injurious Industries, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White Jan 2000

Governments, Citizens, And Injurious Industries, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White

Articles

In this Article, Professors Hanoch Dagan and James White study the most recent challenge raised by mass torts litigation: the interference of governments with the bilateral relationship between citizens and injurious industries. Using the tobacco settlement as their case study, Dagan and White explore the important benefits and the grave dangers of recognizing governments' entitlement to reimbursement for costs they have incurred in preventing or ameliorating their citizens' injuries. They further demonstrate that the current law can help capture these benefits and guard against the entailing risks, showing how subrogation law can serve as the legal foundation of the governments ...


Shareholder Derivative Litigation And Corporate Governance, Mark J. Loewenstein Jan 1999

Shareholder Derivative Litigation And Corporate Governance, Mark J. Loewenstein

Articles

In approving settlements of derivative actions that include fees for plaintiff's attorney, courts typically announce that attorney's fees are approved if a substantial benefit is obtained. In fact, courts, particularly Delaware courts, approve settlements in shareholder derivative actions that included substantial fees for plaintiff's attorney, despite the absence of a corresponding benefit to the corporation. Frequently, the "benefit" obtained is a reform in corporate governance, which is of dubious value to the corporation. To deter frivolous litigation, courts should resist the temptation to approve these settlements just to dispose of the litigation. The paper concludes that fees ...


Precedent Lost: Why Encourage Settlement, And Why Permit Non-Party Involvement In Settlements?, Leandra Lederman Jan 1999

Precedent Lost: Why Encourage Settlement, And Why Permit Non-Party Involvement In Settlements?, Leandra Lederman

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Which Cases Go To Trial?: An Empirical Study Of Predictors Of Failure To Settle, Leandra Lederman Jan 1999

Which Cases Go To Trial?: An Empirical Study Of Predictors Of Failure To Settle, Leandra Lederman

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Why Civil Cases Go To Trial: Strategic Bargaining And The Desire For Vindication, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud Jan 1997

Why Civil Cases Go To Trial: Strategic Bargaining And The Desire For Vindication, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud

Articles

When negotiations break down and a dispute cannot be settled, attorneys commonly blame their adversaries, often questioning their ethics or their judgment. After interviewing many attorneys, we have come to believe much of the criticism is directed at strategic moves in negotiation. But strategic ploys are not the only reason dispute resolution fails. Rather, our research also suggest that a genuine desire for vindication through trial or other formal process may be very significant in some types of cases where bargaining breaks down.


Going To Trial: A Rare Throw Of The Die, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud Jan 1997

Going To Trial: A Rare Throw Of The Die, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud

Articles

If it is true, as we often hear, that we are one of the most litigious societies on earth, it is because of our propensity to sue, not our affinity for trials. Of the hundreds of thousands of civil lawsuits that are filed each year in America, the great majority are settled; of those that are not settled, most are ultimately dismissed by the plaintiffs or by the courts; only a few percent are tried to a jury or a judge. This is no accident. We prefer settlements and have designed a system of civil justice that embodies and expresses ...


Don't Try: Civil Jury Verdicts In A System Geared To Settlement, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud Jan 1996

Don't Try: Civil Jury Verdicts In A System Geared To Settlement, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud

Articles

If it is true, as we often hear, that we are one of the most litigious societies on earth, it is because of our propensity to sue, not our affinity for trials. Of the hundreds of thousands of civil lawsuits that are filed each year in America, the great majority are settled; of those that are not settled, most are ultimately dismissed by the plaintiffs or by the courts; only a few percent are tried to a jury or a judge. This is no accident. We prefer settlements and have designed a system of civil justice that embodies and expresses ...