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Asbestos Litigation: Procedural Innovations and Forum Shopping

  • Michelle J. White
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    This paper examines how forum shopping and procedural innovations affect the outcomes of asbestos trials using a new data set of all asbestos trials from 1987 to 2003. When lawsuits are filed in six particularly favorable jurisdictions, plaintiffs’ expected returns from trial are found to increase by $800,000 to nearly $4 million. The procedural innovations are bifurcated trials, bouquet trials, and consolidation of multiple plaintiffs’ claims for trial. Bifurcated and bouquet trials are found to increase plaintiffs’ expected returns from trial by $650,000 and $1.2 million, respectively. Small consolidations are found to increase plaintiffs’ probabilities of winning and receiving punitive damages, but larger consolidations are associated with lower damage awards.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/501096
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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (06)
    Pages: 365-398

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:35:y:2006:p:365-398
    DOI: 10.1086/501096
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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    1. 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.
    2. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2001. "Do Exposure Suits Produce a 'Race to File'? An Economic Analysis of a Tort for Risk," Working papers 2002-42, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2004.
    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. Wittman, Donald, 1986. "The Price of Negligence under Differing Liability Rules," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 151-63, April.
    5. Eisenberg, Theodore, et al, 1997. "The Predictability of Punitive Damages," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 623-61, June.
    6. Landes, William M, 1993. "Sequential versus Unitary Trials: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 99-134, January.
    7. Michelle J. White, 1989. "An Empirical Test of the Comparative and Contributory Negligence Rules in Accident Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 308-330, Autumn.
    8. Priest, George L, 1997. "Procedural versus Substantive Controls of Mass Tort Class Actions," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 521-73, June.
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