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Exploiting Plaintiffs Through Settlement: Divide and Conquer

  • Che, Yeon-Koo
  • Spier, Kathryn

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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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/6104/1/MPRA_paper_6104.pdf
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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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  1. repec:att:wimass:9120 is not listed on IDEAS
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  4. 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.
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  13. Spier, Kathryn E. & Sykes, Alan O., 1998. "Capital structure, priority rules, and the settlement of civil claims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 187-200, June.
  14. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2002. "Informational Externalities in Settlement Bargaining: Confidentiality and Correlated Culpability," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 587-604, Winter.
  15. 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.
  16. Chang, Howard F & Sigman, Hilary, 2000. "Incentives to Settle under Joint and Several Liability: An Empirical Analysis of Superfund Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 205-36, January.
  17. Che, Yeon-Koo, 1996. "Equilibrium formation of class action suits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 339-361, November.
  18. Sanford J. Grossman & Oliver D. Hart, 1987. "One Share/One Vote and the Market for Corporate Control," NBER Working Papers 2347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.
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  23. Xinyu Hua & Kathryn E. Spier, 2005. "Information and Externalities in Sequential Litigation," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(2), pages 215-, June.
  24. 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.
  25. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  26. 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.
  27. Michael D. Whinston & Ilya R. Segal, 2000. "Naked Exclusion: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 296-309, March.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "Robust Predictions for Bilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 757-791, 05.
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