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Exploiting Plaintiffs Through Settlement: Divide and Conquer

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  • Che, Yeon-Koo
  • Spier, Kathryn

Abstract

This paper considers settlement negotiations between a single defendant and $N$ plaintiffs when there are fixed costs of litigation. When making simultaneous take-it-or-leave-it offers to the plaintiffs, the defendant adopts a divide and conquer strategy. Plaintiffs settle their claims for less than they are jointly worth. The problem is worse when $N$ is larger, the offers are sequential, and the plaintiffs make offers instead. Although divide and conquer strategies dilute the defendant's incentives, they increase the settlement rate and reduce litigation spending. Plaintiffs can raise their joint payoff through transfer payments, voting rules, and covenants not to accept discriminatory offers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 6104.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6104

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References

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  1. Che, Yeon-Koo, 1996. "Equilibrium formation of class action suits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 339-361, November.
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  3. Klerman, Daniel, 1996. "Settling Multidefendant Lawsuits: The Advantage of Conditional Setoff Rules," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 445-62, June.
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  7. 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.
  8. Spier, Kathryn E, 2003. " The Use of "Most-Favored-Nation" Clauses in Settlement of Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 78-95, Spring.
  9. Alexander Stremitzer, 2008. "Exploiting Plaintiffs through Settlement: Divide and Conquer. Comment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(1), pages 27-30, March.
  10. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1988. "The deterrent effects of settlements and trials," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 109-116, June.
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  16. Spier, Kathryn E, 1994. "A Note on Joint and Several Liability: Insolvency, Settlement, and Incentives," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 559-68, January.
  17. Michael D. Whinston & Ilya R. Segal, 2000. "Naked Exclusion: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 296-309, March.
  18. Kornhauser, Lewis A & Revesz, Richard L, 1994. "Multidefendant Settlements under Joint and Several Liability: The Problem of Insolvency," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 517-42, January.
  19. Meurer, Michael J, 1992. "The Gains from Faith in an Unfaithful Agent: Settlement Conflict between Defendants and Liability Insurers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 502-22, October.
  20. Kornhauser, Lewis A & Revesz, Richard L, 1994. "Multidefendant Settlements: The Impact of Joint and Several Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 41-76, January.
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  22. Che, Yeon-Koo & Yi, Jong Goo, 1993. "The Role of Precedents in Repeated Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 399-424, October.
  23. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "Robust Predictions for Bilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 757-791, 05.
  24. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2005. "Economic Theories of Settlement Bargaining," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0508, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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  26. Kathryn E. Spier, 2003. "“Tied to the Mast”: Most-Favored-Nation Clauses in Settlement Contracts," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 91-120, 01.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Claudia M. Landeo & Kathryn E. Spier, 2009. "Naked Exclusion: An Experimental Study of Contracts with Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1850-77, December.
  2. Stremitzer, Alexander, 2008. "Plaintiffs exploiting Plaintiffs," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 224, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Guttel, Ehud & Leshem, Shmuel, 2013. "Bargaining around cost–benefit standards," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 55-67.

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