Confidentiality, Transparency, and the U.S. Civil Justice System

Hardcover | April 12, 2012

byJoseph W. Doherty, Robert T. Reville, Laura Zakaras

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The lawsuit is the cornerstone of the civil justice system in America, and an open court the foundation of American jurisprudence. In a public setting, we resolve disputes, determine liability, and compensate injuries. In recent decades, however, more civil disputes have been resolved out ofcourt and the outcomes have been kept secret. Fewer than 5 percent of the tens of millions of injury claims annually are actually resolved through a public trial with a jury, and the vast majority are settled out of court or through private forums, such as mediation or arbitration, with undisclosedterms. Some argue that the confidentiality of the system keeps it working efficiently and fairly; others argue that the public is being denied information about hazards that may cause harm and that a public system with no data lacks oversight.This collection of essays by leading legal scholars is the first book to approach the issue in a multidisciplinary, nonpartisan, and empirical manner. The essays provide empirical analyses and case studies of the impact of greater disclosure on various aspects of the system, ranging from settlementvalues to fraud, and propose several novel prescriptions for reform. With special attention to the emergence of modern mass litigation, the authors identify a number of benefits to increasing access to information, including decreased fraud, improved public understanding and confidence in thesystem, and lower transactions costs. The authors make policy recommendations - such as expanding access to existing databases and using technology to create new databases - that increase transparency while protecting the need for privacy.

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The lawsuit is the cornerstone of the civil justice system in America, and an open court the foundation of American jurisprudence. In a public setting, we resolve disputes, determine liability, and compensate injuries. In recent decades, however, more civil disputes have been resolved out ofcourt and the outcomes have been kept secret....

Joseph W. Doherty is the Director of the Empirical Research Group (ERG) at the UCLA School of Law and the co-Director of the UCLA-RAND Center for Law and Public Policy. He teaches Empirical Legal Studies at UCLA Law. He has co-authored research on bankruptcy with Lynn LoPucki, on the living wage with Richard Sander, on negotiation s...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:April 12, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199914338

ISBN - 13:9780199914333

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPART I. STUDIES USING EXISTING DATABASES OR NOVEL DATA COLLECTION1. Eric Helland and Gia Lee: Secrecy, Settlements and Medical Malpractice Litigation2. Nicholas M. Pace and William Rubenstein: Shedding Light on Outcomes in Class Actions3. Stephen Carroll and Joseph W. Doherty: Expectations, Outcomes and Fairness: Lessons from the Civil Justice Reform Act EvaluationPART II: CASE STUDIES4. Jeremiah Goulka and Robert Reville: Transparency in the Victim Compensation Fund5. James Anderson: Understanding Mass Tort Defendant Incentives for Confidential Settlements: Lessons from Bayer's Cerivastatin Litigation Strategy6. Lloyd Dixon and Stephen Carroll: Transparency and Expert Evidence in Mass Torts: Insight from Silica LitigationPART III: REFORM PROPOSALS7. Stephen Yeazell: Transparency for Civil Settlements: NASDAQ for Lawsuits?8. Lynn M. LoPucki: The Future of Court System Transparency9. Tom Baker: Transparency Through Insurance: Mandates Dominate DiscretionReferences