Asbestos Litigation: Procedural Innovations and Forum Shopping
Michelle J. White
This paper examines how forum shopping and procedural innovations affect the outcomes of asbestos trials using a new data set of all asbestos trials from 1987 to 2003. When lawsuits are filed in six particularly favorable jurisdictions, plaintiffs’ expected returns from trial are found to increase by $800,000 to nearly $4 million. The procedural innovations are bifurcated trials, bouquet trials, and consolidation of multiple plaintiffs’ claims for trial. Bifurcated and bouquet trials are found to increase plaintiffs’ expected returns from trial by $650,000 and $1.2 million, respectively. Small consolidations are found to increase plaintiffs’ probabilities of winning and receiving punitive damages, but larger consolidations are associated with lower damage awards.
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