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Found Money? Split-Award Statutes and Settlement of Punitive Damages Cases

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  • Andrew F. Daughety
  • Jennifer F. Reinganum

Abstract

We examine the effect of "split-award" statutes (wherein the state shares a punitive damages award) on equilibrium settlements and the incentives to go to trial. Splitaward statutes lower settlement amounts and the likelihood of trial, as both parties act to cut out the state. We analyze the revenue that split-award statutes generate; the revenue-maximizing share is robust to variations in economic parameters and to whether the state's share is gross or net of the plaintiff's attorney's fee. Moreover, these statutes need not deter filings, and their use can encourage plaintiffs' attorneys to pursue weaker cases than would otherwise be brought. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2003. "Found Money? Split-Award Statutes and Settlement of Punitive Damages Cases," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 134-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:5:y:2003:i:1:p:134-164
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1133-1150, September.
    2. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1997. "Are Punitive Damages Really Insignificant, Predictable, and Rational? A Comment on Eisenberg et al," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 663-677, June.
    3. Sanchirico, Chris William, 2000. "Taxes versus Legal Rules as Instruments for Equity: A More Equitable View," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 797-820, June.
    4. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Why the Legal System Is Less Efficient Than the Income Tax in Redistributing Income," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 667-681, June.
    5. Moller, Erik K & Pace, Nicholas M & Carroll, Stephen J, 1999. "Punitive Damages in Financial Injury Jury Verdicts," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 283-339, June.
    6. Doughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1997. "Everybody Out of the Pool: Products Liability, Punitive Damages, and Competition," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 410-432, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilbert, Richard J. & Katz, Michael L., 2011. "Efficient division of profits from complementary innovations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, pages 443-454.
    2. Roland Kirstein & Neil Rickman, 2004. ""Third Party Contingency" Contracts in Settlement and Litigation," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, pages 555-555.
    3. Doornik, Katherine, 2014. "A rationale for mediation and its optimal use," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-10.
    4. Landeo, Claudia M., 2009. "Cognitive coherence and tort reform," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 898-912, December.
    5. Landeo, Claudia M. & Nikitin, Maxim & Babcock, Linda, 2007. "Split-awards and disputes: An experimental study of a strategic model of litigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 553-572, July.
    6. Claudia M. Landeo & Maxim Nikitin, 2006. "Split-Award Tort Reform, Firm's Level of Care, and Litigation Outcomes," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(4), pages 571-600, December.
    7. Chu, C.Y. Cyrus & Chien, Hung-Ken, 2007. "Asymmetric information, pretrial negotiation and optimal decoupling," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 312-329, September.
    8. Philippe Choné & Saïd Souam & Arnold Vialfont, 2012. "Commitments in Antitrust," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-9, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    9. Landeo, Claudia M., 2009. "Tort Reform, Disputes and Belief Formation," MPRA Paper 13453, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process

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