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Optimal litigation strategies with observable case preparation

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  • Choné, Philippe
  • Linnemer, Laurent

Abstract

This paper investigates the strategic effects of case preparation in litigation. Specifically, it shows how the pretrial efforts incurred by one party may alter its adversary's incentives to settle. We build a sequential game with one-sided asymmetric information where the informed party first decides to invest in case preparation, and the uninformed party then makes a settlement offer. Overinvestment, or bluff, always prevails in equilibrium: with positive probability, plaintiffs with weak cases take a chance on investing, and regret it in case of trial. Furthermore, due to the endogenous investment decision, the probability of trial may (locally) decrease with case strength. Overinvestment generates inefficient preparation costs, but may trigger more settlements, thereby reducing trial costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Choné, Philippe & Linnemer, Laurent, 2010. "Optimal litigation strategies with observable case preparation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 271-288, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:70:y:2010:i:2:p:271-288
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Goldlücke, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2014. "Investments as signals of outside options," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 683-708.
    2. Amy Farmer & Paul Pecorino, 2013. "Discovery and Disclosure with Asymmetric Information and Endogenous Expenditure at Trial," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 223-247.
    3. Ohlendorf, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick, 2009. "Signaling an Outside Option," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 281, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    4. Andrew F. Daughety & Reinganum F. Reinganum, 2014. "Settlement and Trial: Selected Analyses of the Bargaining Environment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 14-00005, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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