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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Role Of Opt-Outs And Objectors In Class Action Litigation: Theoretical And Empirical Issues, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller Oct 2004

The Role Of Opt-Outs And Objectors In Class Action Litigation: Theoretical And Empirical Issues, Theodore Eisenberg, Geoffrey P. Miller

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


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 …


Too Young For The Death Penalty: An Empirical Examination Of Community Conscience And The Juvenile Death Penalty From The Perspective Of Capital Jurors, William J. Bowers, Benjamin Fleury-Steiner, Valerie P. Hans, Michael E. Antonio Jun 2004

Too Young For The Death Penalty: An Empirical Examination Of Community Conscience And The Juvenile Death Penalty From The Perspective Of Capital Jurors, William J. Bowers, Benjamin Fleury-Steiner, Valerie P. Hans, Michael E. Antonio

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

As our analysis of jury decisionmaking in juvenile capital trials was nearing completion, the Missouri Supreme Court declared the juvenile death penalty unconstitutional in Simmons v. Roper. The court held that the execution of persons younger than eighteen years of age at the time of their crime violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. This decision patently rejected the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Stanford v. Kentucky, which permitted the execution of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds. In deciding Simmons, the Missouri Supreme Court applied the U.S. Supreme Court's reasoning in Atkins v. Virginia to …


The Employment Consequences Of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, Or None At All?, David H. Autor, John J. Donahue Iii, Stewart J. Schwab May 2004

The Employment Consequences Of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, Or None At All?, David H. Autor, John J. Donahue Iii, Stewart J. Schwab

Cornell Law Faculty Publications



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 …


Was Arthur Andersen Different? An Empirical Examination Of Major Accounting Firm Audits Of Large Clients, Theodore Eisenberg, Jonathan R. Macey Jan 2004

Was Arthur Andersen Different? An Empirical Examination Of Major Accounting Firm Audits Of Large Clients, Theodore Eisenberg, Jonathan R. Macey

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Enron and other corporate financial scandals focused attention on the accounting industry in general and on Arthur Andersen in particular. Part of the policy response to Enron, the criminal prosecution of Andersen eliminated one of the few major audit firms capable of auditing many large public corporations. This article explores whether Andersen's performance, as measured by frequency of financial restatements, measurably differed from that of other large auditors. Financial restatements trigger significant negative market reactions and their frequency can be viewed as a measure of accounting performance. We analyze the financial restatement activity of approximately 1,000 large public firms from …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


Trial Outcomes And Demographics: Is There A Bronx Effect?, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells Jun 2002

Trial Outcomes And Demographics: Is There A Bronx Effect?, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Minorities favor injured plaintiffs and give them inflated awards. This folk wisdom in the legal community influences choice of trial locale and the screening of jurors. A Los Angeles court is said to be known by local lawyers as "the bank" because of the frequency and size of its anti-corporate awards. A newspaper article summarizing court results suggests, somewhat jokingly, that the "Bronx County Courthouse should post a warning: People who get sued here run an increased risk of suffering staggering losses." Beliefs about the influence of factors other than race, such as income and urbanization, also are common.

This …


Reconciling Experimental Incoherence With Real-World Coherence In Punitive Damages, Theodore Eisenberg, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Martin T. Wells Jun 2002

Reconciling Experimental Incoherence With Real-World Coherence In Punitive Damages, Theodore Eisenberg, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Experimental evidence generated in controlled laboratory studies suggests that the legal system in general, and punitive damages awards in particular, should display an incoherent pattern. According to the prediction, inexperienced decisionmakers, such as juries, should fail to convert their qualitative judgments of defendants' conduct into consistent, meaningful dollar amounts. This Article tests this prediction and finds modest support for the thesis that experience across different types of cases will lead to greater consistency in awards. Despite this support, numerous studies of damage awards in real cases detect a generally sensible pattern of damage awards. This Article tries to reconcile the …


Secured Debt And The Likelihood Of Reorganization, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren May 2002

Secured Debt And The Likelihood Of Reorganization, Clas Bergström, Theodore Eisenberg, Stefan Sundgren

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Theory suggests that secured creditors may increasingly oppose a debtor’s reorganization as the value of their collateral approaches the amount of their claims. If reorganization occurs and the value of the firm appreciates, the secured creditor receives only part of the gain. But if the firm’s value depreciates, the secured creditor bears all of the cost. Secured claimants, thus, often have more to lose than to gain in reorganizations. This study of Finnish reorganizations filed in districts that account for most of the country’s reorganizations finds that creditor groups most likely to be well-secured are most likely to oppose reorganization. …


"Speaking Rights": Evaluating Juror Discussions During Civil Trials, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, G. Thomas Munsterman Apr 2002

"Speaking Rights": Evaluating Juror Discussions During Civil Trials, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, G. Thomas Munsterman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Permitting jurors to discuss evidence during civil trials may facilitate understanding and provide an outlet for their thoughts and questions, and does not appear to lead to prejudgment or prejudice.


Juries, Judges, And Punitive Damages: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, Neil Lafountain, Brian Ostrom, David Rottman, Martin T. Wells Mar 2002

Juries, Judges, And Punitive Damages: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, Neil Lafountain, Brian Ostrom, David Rottman, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This Article, the first broad-based analysis of punitive damages in judge-tried cases, compares judge and jury performance in awarding punitive damages and in setting their levels. Data covering one year of judge and jury trial outcomes from forty-five of the nation's largest counties yield no substantial evidence that judges and juries differ in the rate at which they award punitive damages or in the central relation between the size of punitive awards and compensatory awards. The relation between punitive and compensatory awards in jury trials is strikingly similar to the relation in judge trials. For a given level of compensatory …


Quiet Rebellion Ii: An Empirical Analysis Of Declining Federal Drug Sentences Including Data From The District Level, Frank O. Bowman, Michael Heise Jan 2002

Quiet Rebellion Ii: An Empirical Analysis Of Declining Federal Drug Sentences Including Data From The District Level, Frank O. Bowman, Michael Heise

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This is the second of two articles in which we seek an explanation for the hitherto unexamined fact that the average length of prison sentences imposed in federal court for narcotics violations declined by more than 15% between 1991-92 and 2000.

Our first article, Quiet Rebellion? Explaining Nearly a Decade of Declining Federal Drug Sentences, 86 Iowa Law Review 1043 (May 2001) ( "Rebellion I" ), examined national sentencing data in an effort to determine whether the decline in federal drug sentences is real (rather than a statistical anomaly), and to identify and analyze possible causes of the decline. We …


Mixed Signals: Rational-Choice Theories Of Social Norms And The Pragmatics Of Explanation, W. Bradley Wendel Jan 2002

Mixed Signals: Rational-Choice Theories Of Social Norms And The Pragmatics Of Explanation, W. Bradley Wendel

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The question of how societies secure cooperation and order in the absence of state enforced sanctions has long vexed law and economics scholars. Recently the concept of social norms--informally enforced rules of behavior--has occupied the attention of a large number of these theorists, who are concerned with understanding why economically rational actors would bother to follow rules whose costs seem to outweigh their benefits. Because of the prestige (or at least trendiness) of law and economics, it seems that now everyone in the legal academy is talking about social norms. This burgeoning scholarship is closely related to a wider concern …


Damage Awards In Perspective: Behind The Headline-Grabbing Awards In Exxon Valdez And Engle, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2001

Damage Awards In Perspective: Behind The Headline-Grabbing Awards In Exxon Valdez And Engle, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Large punitive damages awards in tobacco litigation, the Exxon Valdez oil spill case, and other cases dominate the public perceptions about damages. These large awards and the mass of compensatory awards can be best understood in relation to other awards. In fact, total awards in tried contract cases have risen faster than tort awards. In the highly visible world of large punitive damages awards, the Exxon Valdez award fits well within the traditional pattern of punitive awards. The largest punitive award, that against the tobacco industry in Engle, is best understood against the background of the tobacco industry's national …


Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire V. Carmichael, Neil Vidmar, Richard O. Lempert, Shari Seidman Diamond, Valerie P. Hans, Stephan Landsman, Robert Maccoun, Joseph Sanders, Harmon M. Hosch, Saul Kassin, Marc Galanter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen Daniels, Edith Greene, Joanne Martin, Steven Penrod, James Richardson, Larry Heuer, Irwin Horowitz Aug 2000

Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire V. Carmichael, Neil Vidmar, Richard O. Lempert, Shari Seidman Diamond, Valerie P. Hans, Stephan Landsman, Robert Maccoun, Joseph Sanders, Harmon M. Hosch, Saul Kassin, Marc Galanter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen Daniels, Edith Greene, Joanne Martin, Steven Penrod, James Richardson, Larry Heuer, Irwin Horowitz

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This brief addresses the issue of jury performance and jury responses to expert testimony. It reviews and summaries a substantial body of research evidence about jury behavior that has been produced over the past quarter century. The great weight of that evidence challenges the view that jurors abdicate their responsibilities as fact finders when faced with expert evidence or that they are pro-plaintiff, anti-defendant, and anti-business.

The Petitioners and amici on behalf of petitioners make a number of overlapping, but empirically unsupported, assertions about jury behavior in response to expert testimony, namely that juries are frequently incapable of critically evaluation …


Permitting Jury Discussions During Trial: Impact Of The Arizona Reform, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, G. Thomas Munsterman Jun 2000

Permitting Jury Discussions During Trial: Impact Of The Arizona Reform, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, G. Thomas Munsterman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

A field experiment tested the effect of an Arizona civil jury reform that allows jurors to discuss evidence among themselves during the trial. Judges, jurors, attorneys, and litigants completed questionnaires in trials randomly assigned to either a Trial Discussions condition, in which jurors were permitted to discuss the evidence during trial, or a No Discussions condition, in which jurors were prohibited from discussing evidence during trial according to traditional admonitions. Judicial agreement with jury verdicts did not differ between conditions. Permitting jurors to discuss the evidence did affect the degree of certainty that jurors reported about their preferences at the …


The Timing Of Opinion Formation By Jurors In Civil Cases: An Empirical Examination, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, Nicole L. Mott, G. Thomas Munsterman Apr 2000

The Timing Of Opinion Formation By Jurors In Civil Cases: An Empirical Examination, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, Nicole L. Mott, G. Thomas Munsterman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The question of when and how jurors form opinions about evidence presented at trial has been the focus of seemingly endless speculation. For lawyers, the question is how to capture the attention and approval of the jury at the earliest possible point in the trial. Their goal is to maximize the persuasiveness of their arguments--or at least to minimize the persuasiveness of those of the opposing side. Judges, in contrast, are more concerned about prejudgment. They regularly admonish jurors to suspend judgment until after all the evidence has been presented and after the jurors have been instructed on the law. …


Employment Discrimination, Stewart J. Schwab Jan 2000

Employment Discrimination, Stewart J. Schwab

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article first parses the multiple overlapping definitions of discrimination, including distinctions between group and individual discrimination and between segregation and discrimination in pay. The article then summarizes the major economic models of discrimination, particularly Becker’s taste-for-discrimination model and statistical-discrimination models, as well as sorting the status-production models. The discussion focuses on the conditions under which markets will tend to eliminate discrimination, noting that this occurs in a more limited range of situations than commonly recognized. The article next surveys the economic role of anti-discrimination laws, evaluating arguments that the law speeds the journey to a non-discriminatory equilibrium and that …


Inbreeding In Law School Hiring: Assessing The Performance Of Faculty Hired From Within, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells Jan 2000

Inbreeding In Law School Hiring: Assessing The Performance Of Faculty Hired From Within, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This study compares the scholarly impact of inbred entry-level law school faculty members with the scholarly impact of noninbred entry-level law school faculty members. The sample includes 32 law schools and approximately 700 entry-level faculty members. By our measure of performance, scholarly impact as measured by citation frequency, inbred entry-level law school faculty members do not perform as well as noninbred entry-level faculty members.


How Much Justice Hangs In The Balance? A New Look At Hung Jury Rates, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, G. Thomas Munsterman Oct 1999

How Much Justice Hangs In The Balance? A New Look At Hung Jury Rates, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans, G. Thomas Munsterman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Reports of apparent increases in the number of hung juries in some jurisdictions have caused concern among policy makers. A 1995 report by the California District Attorneys Association cited hung jury rates in 1994 that exceeded 15 percent in some jurisdictions (the rates varied from 3 to 23 percent across the nine counties for which data were available). In 1996, the District of Columbia Superior Court reported a higher-than-expected hung jury rate of 11 percent. Why juries hang at these rates isn't clear, but some commentators have claimed that hung juries are the product of eccentric or nullifying holdout jurors …


Shopping For Judges: An Empirical Analysis Of Venue Choice In Large Chapter 11 Reorganizations, Theodore Eisenberg, Lynn M. Lopucki May 1999

Shopping For Judges: An Empirical Analysis Of Venue Choice In Large Chapter 11 Reorganizations, Theodore Eisenberg, Lynn M. Lopucki

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

For almost two decades, an embarrassing pattern of forum shopping has been developing in the highly visible world of big-case bankruptcy reorganization. Forum shopping--defined here as the act of filing in a court that does not serve the geographical area of the debtor's corporate headquarters--now occurs in more than half of all big-case bankruptcies. Two jurisdictions have attracted most of the forum shoppers. During the 1980s, when a large portion of the shopping was to New York, the lawyers involved asserted that New York was a natural venue because of its role as the country's financial capital and because so …


Judicial Decisionmaking In Federal Products Liability Cases, 1978-1997, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 1999

Judicial Decisionmaking In Federal Products Liability Cases, 1978-1997, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In 1992, Professor James Henderson and I wrote that, throughout the 1980s, a quiet, pro-defendant revolution in products liability had occurred. That revolution was likely largely the product of a "widespread, independent shift in judicial attitudes." It was not discernable in cases tried before juries. The federal data used in that study were available through 1989. Also in 1992, using the same database, Professor Kevin Clermont and I wrote about the surprising relation between plaintiff win rates in judge and jury trials in products liability cases. Plaintiffs prevailed at a higher rate before judges than they did before juries. Comparable …


The Predictability Of Punitive Damages Awards In Published Opinions, The Impact Of Bmw V. Gore On Punitive Damages Awards, And Forecasting Which Punitive Awards Will Be Reduced, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells Jan 1999

The Predictability Of Punitive Damages Awards In Published Opinions, The Impact Of Bmw V. Gore On Punitive Damages Awards, And Forecasting Which Punitive Awards Will Be Reduced, Theodore Eisenberg, Martin T. Wells

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article assesses the relation between compensatory damages and punitive damages in cases leading to published opinions and BMW v. Gore's impact on the patterns of punitive damages awards in these opinions. We find that punitive damages awards are considerably higher in cases leading to published opinions than in trial level cases. But the correlation between compensatory and punitive awards found in trial level data persists in published opinions and is all but indistinguishable from the correlation in trial level data. We find no significant difference in the pattern of awards before and after BMW and no significant difference …