Guide Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain, Executive Summary

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Regulation has been of more questionable effectiveness than has strict liability in inducing better design practices. Argues that federal product liability legislation will have marginal effect, despite the current variation in state law on the matter. Discusses the factors that influence the effectiveness of corporate product safety units and suggests that combining product safety with quality assurance may be the optimal strategy for a firm.

Punitive damages : empirical findings by Mark A Peterson Book 5 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide Based on cases that reached jury verdict in Cook County, Illinois, and San Francisco, California, from to , this report presents analytically derived answers to questions surrounding the award of punitive damages: 1 how frequently punitive damages are awarded in civil suits, 2 what types of cases and defendants are most subject to such awards, and 3 what proportion of the monies awarded in punitive damages is actually paid out.

The findings confirm trends for which there had only been anecdotal evidence: The incidence of punitive damage awards measured by proportion of cases in which such awards are made and the amount of money measured in constant dollars awarded for punitive purposes have increased substantially over the years. Corporate defendants are in fact more likely than individuals or public agencies to be the target of such awards.

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Many damage awards are significantly reduced and only about half of the dollars awarded are ultimately paid subsequent to award at the trial court level. Costs and compensation paid in tort litigation by James S Kakalik Book 3 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This study was undertaken to answer the following questions: What was the total expenditure nationwide for tort litigation terminated in state and federal courts of general jurisdiction in ?

How much of the total was spent for the various costs of the tort litigation system: plaintiffs' and defendants' legal fees and other litigation expenses, the value of litigants' time spent on the lawsuits, the value of time spent by insurance personnel, and the costs of operating the courts? How much of the total was net compensation to plaintiffs?

How do litigation costs and compensation paid differ for torts involving motor vehicles and for all other torts? How fast is the tort system growing? The costs of litigation consumed the other half. Trends in civil jury verdicts since by Erik Moller Book 3 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This report describes all civil jury verdicts reached from to in the state courts of general jurisdiction in 15 jurisdictions across the nation and identifies trends in these verdicts.

Several descriptive measures are used, including number of verdicts, number of verdicts within different case types, percentage of cases in which the plaintiff is successful, award amounts typical, maximum, and expected awards , variation in awards, and the occurrence and size of punitive damage awards.

Crash and Burn: How Trial Lawyers are Destroying the Market for Aftermarket Parts

The study finds that trial rates are generally flat or decreasing; case mix has not changed significantly in the past ten years; award amounts are generally increasing; and punitive damage awards are rare, but their amounts increased dramatically between and Jury verdicts can provide valuable information about the signals that attorneys and potential claimants receive from the civil justice system, but it is cautioned that they reveal little about the underlying dynamics of jury behavior.

Asbestos in the courts : the challenge of mass toxic torts by Rand Corporation Book 2 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This report presents the results of a study of how the civil justice system has dealt with the challenges presented by asbestos litigation. Its sections describe 1 the characteristics of asbestos litigation, both at the individual case level and at the aggregate level; 2 the way in which the court system has approached the three critical tasks of litigation--substantive decisionmaking, preparing cases for trial, and disposing of cases; and 3 the implications of the findings.

Based on their observations of the asbestos litigation process, the authors review the strengths and weaknesses of the tort system as a mechanism for resolving mass toxic torts, consider changes that might strengthen the system, and suggest a mechanism for formulating new policies. Evaluating agency alternative dispute resolution programs : a users' guide to data collection and use by Elizabeth S Rolph Book 2 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide The Administrative Conference of the United States asked the Institute for Civil Justice to prepare a manual and develop prototype data collection instruments to assist those with responsibility for evaluating federal agency alternative dispute resolution programs.

The manual discusses issues in designing evaluations, lays out approaches to data collection, provides sample data analysis plans, and includes a number of prototype data collection instruments. Court efforts to reduce pretrial delay ; a national inventory by Patricia A Ebener Book 5 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "This report The Report includes observations by court officials on how much the measures adopted have really changed the prior situation, and what problems, if any, have arisen. Audience Level. Related Identities. Associated Subjects.

Rand Law, Busines, and Regulation. Institute for Civil Justice.

Deborah R Hensler Nicholas M Pace Bonita Dombey Moore Beth Giddens Jennifer Gross

English Originator , Other. The ongoing discussion concerning the quality of non-OEM parts is a healthy sign of competition that can ultimately yield lower prices and better quality. As consumers become more informed about aftermarket crash parts, there is a greater incentive to produce a broader range of quality parts. As the studies about quality fly between the sparring partners, consumers are becoming better informed and producers are making better products.

Quality, safety, and consumer harm. The market is a powerful process that allows producers and consumers to coordinate their plans in a way that provides consumers with the product that most accurately satisfies their demand. Competition in the market for crash parts has provided consumers with more choices about collision repair.

In the debate over the use of aftermarket parts, both sides of the debate have produced studies about the quality of their respective products, and both sides can respond to these findings in ways that drive producers to make better products for consumers. At the same time, consumers become more informed, allowing them to make better choices, much the same way they decide whether or not to use an OEM or non-OEM brake pad or shock absorber.

Already, the market for automobile insurance has responded to the crash parts lawsuits, with some companies offering special premiums for customers who want exclusively OEM repair parts. Much of the debate surrounding the use of aftermarket parts focuses on the quality of the parts produced by non-OEM manufacturers.

Car manufacturers assert that OEM parts are superior in terms of both safety and quality, and there are those in the collision repair industry who agree. To ensure the quality of the non-OEM parts they use, the insurance industry established the Certified Automotive Parts Association CAPA in as a non-profit organization that would serve as the Underwriters Lab for aftermarket parts. The insurance industry still provides roughly 40 percent of the funding for the organization.


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Today, there are over 2, certified parts available and more than 7 million certified parts have been sold. To certify a part, a manufacturer must allow an independent testing laboratory to assess its factory and manufacturing processes. Once the facility is approved, the manufacturer submits parts to CAPA for certification. Parts are evaluated on the basis of such criteria as the durability of welds and screws, resistance to chipping and erosion, and so forth. Moreover, car manufacturers assert that the use of non-OEM parts may pose a safety threat.

Proponents of the use of aftermarket parts contend that safety is not an issue, because the parts are cosmetic in nature.

Deborah R. Hensler (Author of Class Action Dilemmas)

While the use of CAPA parts for collision repair has increased, the level of complaints about such parts has remained low. In , CAPA received only complaints on the 2. There are some in the industry who remain concerned about the fit and performance of non-OEM parts, but their use is becoming more common.


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CAPA has responded to such concerns by adopting new standards to develop a better fit, while implementing even tighter quality control standards on certified parts. The fact is that non-OEM crash parts are a growing part of the market. One survey found, that in , To date, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that regulates auto safety, has not deemed it necessary to issue regulations on the use of aftermarket parts. The technical nature and complexities of the debate suggest that a twelve-person jury with a limited ability to assess and evaluate any data they are presented may not be the appropriate mechanism for resolving this dispute.

Class action lawsuits are not a replacement for state regulation. One of the most disconcerting issues in the State Farm lawsuit is the scope of the class certified by the judge and the principles upon which the certification is based. The suit, initially filed on July 28, , was certified as a class action covering roughly five million policyholders in 48 states. Upon being summoned with the class action lawsuit, State Farm immediately sought to decertify the class because other courts had previously addressed the issue and refused to certify a nationwide class action.

More specifically, under Illinois law, there are certain requirements that must be met before a class can be certified. Because State Farm is based in Bloomington, the judge may have viewed Illinois as the appropriate state to adjudicate a class action lawsuit against the insurance company.

But there are a number of conditions beyond locale that must be met prior to certifying a class. Pursuant to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Sections through , the following elements must be present before a class action may move forward:. Numerosity: The class must have so many members that joinder is impracticable; 2.

Common questions of law or fact that predominate over questions affecting any individual; 3. The representative party will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class; and, 4. The class action is an appropriate not necessarily superior method for the fair and efficient adjudication of controversy. Despite the fact that the class represented policyholders in different states subject to different insurance regulations that were governed by different insurance commissions, the court found that the contractual obligation for collision repair was uniform throughout the country.

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A broad and simplistic contractual obligation allowed the class to be certified. The members are numerous, the questions of law have been defined as common, the broad contractual obligation is applicable to any member, and it is therefore appropriate and efficient to address the issue through a class action. In effect, the decision to move forward with class certification minimized or dismissed the importance of state level insurance regulation.