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Anticompetitive Litigation and Antitrust Liability

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  • Christopher C. Klein
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    Abstract

    The U.S. Supreme Court held that litigation for anticompetitive ends (“sham litigation”) must be “baseless” in order to face antitrust liability. The filing of such suits continues apace, as does the legal commentators’ debate, but economic analysis has lagged. Here, a game theoretic model is constructed in which plaintiffs file suit to achieve collateral gains and defendants may countersue for damages under the Sherman Act. In equilibrium, settlement fails and all suits are litigated, but the threat of countersuit deters low-expected-value plaintiffs. As the legal standard for sham litigation approaches “baselessness,” this deterrence effect is weakened and litigation may increase.

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    File URL: http://capone.mtsu.edu/berc/working/SHAM07WP.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 200713.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200713

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    Web page: http://www.mtsu.edu/~berc/working/Economics_Working_Papers.html
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    Keywords: antitrust; sham litigation; countersuit;

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    1. Hugh C. Briggs III & Kathleen D. Huryn & Mark E. McBride, 1996. "Treble Damages and the Incentive to Sue and Settle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 770-786, Winter.
    2. Daughety, Adnrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1993. "Endogenous Sequencing in Models of Settlement and Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 314-48, October.
    3. Kathryn E. Spier, 2002. "Settlement with Multiple Plaintiffs: The Role of Insolvency," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 295-323, October.
    4. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    5. Wang, Gyu Ho & Kim, Jeong-Yoo & Yi, Jong-Goo, 1994. "Litigation and Pretrial Negotiation under Incomplete Information," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 187-200, April.
    6. Klein, Christopher C., 1990. "Predation in the courts: Legal versus economic analysis in sham litigation cases," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 29-40, May.
    7. Snyder, Edward A & Hughes, James W, 1990. "The English Rule for Allocating Legal Costs: Evidence Confronts Theory," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 345-80, Fall.
    8. Steven Shavell, 1989. "Sharing of Information Prior to Settlement or Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 183-195, Summer.
    9. Katz, Avery, 1990. "The effect of frivolous lawsuits on the settlement of litigation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 3-27, May.
    10. Hughes, James W & Snyder, Edward A, 1995. "Litigation and Settlement under the English and American Rules: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 225-50, April.
    11. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 2000. "On the Economics of Trials: Adversarial Process, Evidence, and Equilibrium Bias," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 365-94, October.
    12. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1993. "Optimal Awards and Penalties when the Probability of Prevailing Varies Among Plaintiffs," NBER Working Papers 4507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-97, September.
    14. Michael J. Meurer, 1989. "The Settlement of Patent Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 77-91, Spring.
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