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Plaintiffs exploiting Plaintiffs

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  • Alexander Stremitzer

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Abstract

We consider a model of a single defendant and N plaintiffs where the total cost of litigation is fixed on the part of the plaintiffs and shared among the members of a suing coalition. By settling and dropping out of the coalition, a plaintiff therefore creates a negative externality on the other plaintiffs. It was shown in Che and Spier (2007) that failure to internalize this externality can often be exploited by the defendant. However, if plaintiffs make sequential take-it-or-leave-it settlement offers, we can show that they will actually be exploited by one of their fellow plaintiffs rather than by the defendant. Moreover, if litigation is a public good as is the case in shareholder derivative suits, parties may fail to reach a settlement even having complete information. This may explain why we observe derivative suits in the US but not in Europe.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse2_2008.

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Length: 13
Date of creation: 12 Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse2_2008

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Related research

Keywords: litigation; settlement; bargaining; contracting with externalities; derivative suits; public goods;

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References

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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, 04.
  2. Spier, Kathryn E, 1992. "The Dynamics of Pretrial Negotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 93-108, January.
  3. Romano, Roberta, 1991. "The Shareholder Suit: Litigation without Foundation?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 55-87, Spring.
  4. Yeon-Koo Che & Kathryn E. Spier, 2008. "Exploiting Plaintiffs through Settlement: Divide and Conquer," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(1), pages 4-23, March.
  5. Jennifer F. Reinganum & Louise L. Wilde, 1986. "Settlement, Litigation, and the Allocation of Litigation Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 557-566, Winter.
  6. Segal, Ilya, 2003. "Coordination and discrimination in contracting with externalities: divide and conquer?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 147-181, December.
  7. Oren Bar-Gill, 2006. "The Evolution and Persistence of Optimism in Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 490-507, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Ehud Guttel & Shmuel Leshem, 2011. "Buying the Right to Harm: The Economics of Buyouts," CAE Working Papers 93, Aix-Marseille Université, CERGAM.
  2. Grechenig, Kristoffel & Sekyra, Michael, 2011. "No derivative shareholder suits in Europe: A model of percentage limits and collusion," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 16-20, March.

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