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Negative Expected Value Suits

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  • Lucian Arye Bebchuk

Abstract

When the cost of a suit exceeds the expected judgment, will a potential plaintiff be able to extract any amount in settlement from the defendant? If so, what is the source of the plaintiff's ability to extract a settlement? This essay discusses existing theories as to why (and when) plaintiffs with negative-expected-value (NEV) suits can extract a settlement amount from the defendant. Among the theories discussed are ones that focus on informational issues and ones that focus on the way in which the parties' litigation costs are expected to be distributed over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1998. "Negative Expected Value Suits," NBER Working Papers 6474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6474
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    1. 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.
    2. Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 1998. "A reputation for being a nuisance: frivolous lawsuits and fee shifting in a repeated play game," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 147-157, June.
    3. William M. Landes, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 164-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Rosenberg, D. & Shavell, S., 1985. "A model in which suits are brought for their nuisance value," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-13, June.
    5. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 1988. "Suing Solely to Extract a Settlement Offer," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 437-450, June.
    6. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    7. Miceli, Thomas J., 1993. "Optimal deterrence of nuisance suits by repeat defendants," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 135-144, June.
    8. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 1996. "A New Theory Concerning the Credibility and Success of Threats to Sue," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 1-25, January.
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