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

Law Commons

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

Articles 1 - 18 of 18

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Saving Charitable Settlements, Christine P. Bartholomew May 2015

Saving Charitable Settlements, Christine P. Bartholomew

Journal Articles

This Article defies the conventional wisdom that all charitable distributions from a class action settlement fund are types of cy pres. Instead, it proposes a radical delineation between “cy pres remainders” (meaning settlement funds left over after individual monetary distributions) and “charitable settlements” (meaning money initially distributed to charities as part of class action settlements). While both have cy pres roots, these two settlement structures have been conflated, jeopardizing the potential utility of charitable settlements. After articulating more precise nomenclature for these distinct distribution methods, this Article justifies why we must preserve charitable settlements. This defense is particularly timely, as ...


Auctioning Class Settlements, Jay Tidmarsh Oct 2014

Auctioning Class Settlements, Jay Tidmarsh

William & Mary Law Review

Although class actions promise better deterrence at a lower cost, they are infected with problems that can keep them from delivering on this promise. One of these problems occurs when the agents for the class—the class representative and class counsel—advance their own interests at the expense of the class. Controlling agency cost, which often manifests itself at the time of settlement, has been the impetus behind a number of class action reform proposals.

This Article develops a proposal that, in conjunction with reforms in fee structure and opt-out rights, controls agency costs at the time of settlement. The ...


Morphing Case Boundaries In Multidistrict Litigation Settlements, Margaret Thomas Dec 2013

Morphing Case Boundaries In Multidistrict Litigation Settlements, Margaret Thomas

Margaret S. Thomas

The boundaries of federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) are blurring, as district courts seek innovative ways to facilitate global settlements to resolve multijurisdictional, multidimensional, national mass torts. The techniques emerging from the district courts have mostly evaded appellate review and received little scholarly attention, but they raise important challenges to traditional understandings of the nature of MDL and complex litigation. This Article argues that factually similar cases proceeding in multiple court systems in mass tort disputes create a “federalism problem” for global settlements: global settlements typically benefit from oversight by a single judge, but often there is no single judge who ...


Judges! Stop Deferring To Class-Action Lawyers, Brian Wolfman Jan 2012

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

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

I represent a national non-profit consumer rights organization, as an amicus, in a federal appeal challenging a district court’s approval of a class-action settlement of claims under the federal Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA). My client maintains that the district court erred in finding that the settlement was “fair, reasonable, and adequate,” which is the standard for class-action settlement approval under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In particular, we argue 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’ view, it was ...


Law In The Shadow Of Bargaining: The Feedback Effect Of Civil Settlements, Ben Depoorter Dec 2009

Law In The Shadow Of Bargaining: The Feedback Effect Of Civil Settlements, Ben Depoorter

Ben Depoorter

Lawmakers, courts, and legal scholars often express concern that settlement agreements withhold important information from the public. This Essay identifies, to the contrary, problematic issues involving the availability of information on non-representative settlements. The theoretical and empirical evidence presented in this Essay demonstrates that, despite the widespread use of nondisclosure agreements, information on settlements is distributed both inside and outside legal communities, reaching actors through various channels including the oral culture in legal communities, specialized reporters, professional interest organizations, and media coverage. Moreover, information on private settlement agreements circulates more widely if the agreed compensation in a given settlement exceeds ...


What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Mass Torts?, Anthony J. Sebok Apr 2008

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Mass Torts?, Anthony J. Sebok

Michigan Law Review

Twenty years ago, Deborah Hensler and a team of scholars at the RAND Corporation's Institute for Civil Justice issued a report entitled Trends in Tort Litigation: The Story Behind the Statistics. Pressure had been mounting both in the business community and the Republican Party to "reform" tort law throughout the 1980s. There was concern that Americans "egged on by avaricious lawyers, sue[d] too readily, and irresponsible juries and activist judges wayla[id] blameless businesses at enormous cost to social and economic well-being." The RAND report argued that the real risk of a torts "explosion" came from the world ...


Apology Within A Moral Dialectic: A Reply To Professor Robbennolt, Lee Taft Jan 2005

Apology Within A Moral Dialectic: A Reply To Professor Robbennolt, Lee Taft

Michigan Law Review

Over the last several years, much has been written about the role of apology in facilitating the resolution of legal disputes. Within this body of work a debate has developed among legal scholars, practitioners, and legislators. Under traditional rules of evidence an apology which acknowledged fault would enter evidence as an admission against interest. Now there is a movement to legislatively "protect" apologies from the effects of the traditional rule in order to facilitate apology without evidentiary encumbrance. Scholars who have argued in favor of the relaxation of the traditional rule have largely relied on anecdotal evidence to support their ...


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 ...


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.


The Theory Of Fee Regulation In Class Action Settlements , Bruce L. Hay Jun 1997

The Theory Of Fee Regulation In Class Action Settlements , Bruce L. Hay

American University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Erasing The Law: The Implications Of Settlements Conditioned Upon Vacatur Or Reversal Of Judgments, Michael W. Loudenslager Jun 1993

Erasing The Law: The Implications Of Settlements Conditioned Upon Vacatur Or Reversal Of Judgments, Michael W. Loudenslager

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Proposals To Amend Rule 68- Time To Abandon Ship, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 1986

Proposals To Amend Rule 68- Time To Abandon Ship, Stephen B. Burbank

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

It is no surprise that, having included "facilitating the settlement of the case" as one of the objectives of pretrial conferences in the 1983 amendments to Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Advisory Committee has turned its attention to Rule 68. The Rule was intended to provide an incentive to settle by requiring that a prevailing claimant who has declined a more favorable offer of judgment pay post-offer "costs." But, in the Advisory Committee's view, Rule 68 has proved ineffective. The concern, apparently, is not that too few civil cases filed in federal court are ...


Abuse In Plaintiff Class Action Settlements: The Need For A Guardian During Pretrial Settlement Negotiations, Sylvia R. Lazos Nov 1985

Abuse In Plaintiff Class Action Settlements: The Need For A Guardian During Pretrial Settlement Negotiations, Sylvia R. Lazos

Michigan Law Review

This Note explores the problem of abuse of the class action device during the pretrial settlement process. Part I analyzes the underlying sources of potential abuse in pretrial settlement negotiations. Part II assesses the adequacy of the standards currently used by courts to detect collusive class action settlements. Part III concludes that the appointment of a neutral third-party guardian to oversee the pretrial negotiation process furthers the judicial policy of encouraging settlements while protecting the interests of the absentee class.


The Applicability Of The Antitrust Procedures And Penalties Act Of 1974 To Voluntary Dismissals, Jon B. Jacobs Oct 1985

The Applicability Of The Antitrust Procedures And Penalties Act Of 1974 To Voluntary Dismissals, Jon B. Jacobs

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note argues that Congress should amend the APPA to require a judicial public interest determination prior to the entry of a voluntary dismissal in government-initiated civil antitrust actions. Part I of this Note briefly describes the APPA and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). Part II asserts that APPA procedures do not currently apply to voluntary dismissals under Rule 41(a)(1). Part III concludes that the purposes underlying the APPA and general policy considerations support the legislative extension of the Act to dismissals. Part IV responds to objections to this proposal. Finally, Part V presents a ...


The Judge's Role In Fostering Voluntary Settlements, Thomas D. Lambros Jan 1983

The Judge's Role In Fostering Voluntary Settlements, Thomas D. Lambros

Villanova Law Review

No abstract provided.