Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics

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Law & Economics Working Papers


In Cimino v. Raymark, a court resolved 2,298 asbestos cases with 160 trials by grouping cases, trying a random sample of each group, and awarding all members of each group the average verdict. I propose an improved "I cut, you choose" version of the procedure designed to correctly allocate damages among plaintiffs. The plaintiffs' attorney presents a claim for what each plaintiff should get. The defense selects cases for trial. The average ratio of award to claim for tried cases is calculated. Each untried case receives that ratio times its claim. The plaintiffs' attorney will set claims proportional to expected awards in order to prevent the defense from selecting overclaimed cases for trial and thus driving down the award for untried cases. Potential problems are examined through a formal model. Modifications are suggested to adapt the procedure to situations involving a very large number of small cases.



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