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The Litigious Plaintiff Hypothesis: Case Selection and Resolution

Author

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  • Theodore Eisenberg

    (Cornell University)

  • Henry S. Farber

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

A central feature of the litigation process that affects case outcomes is the selection of cases for litigation. In this study, we present a theoretical framework for understanding the operation of this suit selection process and its relationship to the underlying distribution of potential claims and claimants. We implement the model empirically by assuming that individuals vary more in their litigiousness (inverse costs of litigation) than do corporations. This assumption, coupled with the case selection process we present, yields clear predictions on trial rates as a function of whether the plaintiff and defendant were individuals or corporations. The model also yields a prediction on the plaintiff 's win rate in lawsuits as a function of the plaintiff's identity. Our empirical analysis, using data on over 200,000 federal civil litigations, yields results that are generally consistent with the theory. Lawsuits where the plaintiff is an individual are found to have higher trial rates and lower plaintiff win rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore Eisenberg & Henry S. Farber, 1996. "The Litigious Plaintiff Hypothesis: Case Selection and Resolution," Working Papers 743, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:364
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kathryn E. Spier, 1992. "The Dynamics of Pretrial Negotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 93-108.
    2. Farber, Henry S & White, Michelle J, 1994. "A Comparison of Formal and Informal Dispute Resolution in Medical Malpractice," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 777-806, June.
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    5. Eisenberg, Theodore, 1990. "Testing the Selection Effect: A New Theoretical Framework with Empirical Tests," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 337-358, June.
    6. Henry S. Farber & Michelle J. White, 1991. "Medical Malpractice: An Empirical Examination of the Litigation Process," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 199-217, Summer.
    7. Daughety, Adnrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1993. "Endogenous Sequencing in Models of Settlement and Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 314-348, October.
    8. Hylton, Keith N, 1993. "Asymmetric Information and the Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 187-210, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chopard, Bertrand & Cortade, Thomas & Langlais, Eric, 2010. "Trial and settlement negotiations between asymmetrically skilled parties," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 18-27, March.
    2. Marco, Alan C., 2005. "Learning by Suing: Structural Estimates of Court Errors in Patent Litigation," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 68, Vassar College Department of Economics.
    3. Anthony Niblett & Richard A. Posner & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 325-358.
    4. Davis S. Kaplan & Joyce Sadka & Jorge Luis Silva-Mendez, 2006. "Litigation and Settlement: New Evidence from Labor Courts in Mexico," Working Papers 0606, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    5. Daniel P. Kessler & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2004. "Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System," NBER Working Papers 10825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Peter Grajzl & Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl & Katarina Zajc, 2016. "Inside post-socialist courts: the determinants of adjudicatory outcomes in Slovenian commercial disputes," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 85-115, February.
    7. Howard F. Chang & Hilary Sigman, 1999. "Incentives to Settle Under Joint and Several Liability," NBER Working Papers 7096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kaplan, David S. & Sadka, Joyce, 2008. "Enforceability of labor law : evidence from a labor court in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4483, The World Bank.
    9. Zhou, J., 2007. "In Litigation : How Far do the "Haves" Come Out Ahead?," Discussion Paper 2007-002, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    10. Zhou, J., 2010. "Access to justice : An economic approach," Other publications TiSEM 9d70f451-35c4-4878-92bf-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:44:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10657-016-9540-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Berger, Helge & Neugart, Michael, 2011. "Labor courts, nomination bias, and unemployment in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 659-673.
    13. Alan Marco & Gordon Rausser, 2011. "Complementarities and spillovers in mergers: an empirical investigation using patent data," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 207-231.
    14. Gonzalo Ruiz, 2014. "Understanding the Pro-plaintiff Bias in Consumer Protection Legal Processes," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 113-141, March.
    15. Peter Grajzl & Katarina Zajc, 2017. "Litigation and the timing of settlement: evidence from commercial disputes," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 287-319, October.
    16. Eric Helland & Jonathan Klick & Alexander Tabarrok, 2005. "Data Watch: Tort-uring the Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 207-220, Spring.
    17. Fainshmidt, Stav & White, George O. & Cangioni, Carole, 2014. "Legal Distance, Cognitive Distance, and Conflict Resolution in International Business Intellectual Property Disputes," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 188-200.
    18. Keith N. Hylton & Haizhen Lin, 2009. "Trial Selection Theory: A Unified Model," Working Papers 2009-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    19. Zhou, Jun, 2010. "Jackpot Justice: The Value of Inefficient Litigation," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 346, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    litigation; case selection; trials;

    JEL classification:

    • E19 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Other

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