Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Sunday, January 12, 2003

How Big Judgments, Even Though Often Reversed, Impact Litigation

Walter K. Olson is a frequent writer on the excesses of litigation. You can check out his website, Overwlawyered, where I picked up this link. Reason: Courting Stupidity: Why smart lawyers pick dumb jurors Here is his money quote, explaining why big verdicts, even though frequently reversed, still have a powerful impact on litigation:
But the mere possibility that an extreme outcome will emerge from the process, and perhaps survive review and appeal, gets factored into negotiations in the majority of cases that are settled before a final verdict. With breast implants, asbestos, and many other mass tort episodes, a rash of arrestingly high verdicts helped educate recalcitrant defendants about the need to pony up substantial settlements.

If you've ever participated in settlement negotiations, you know it is true.

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