Resolving Libel Cases Out of Court: How Attorneys View the Libel Dispute Resolution Program
Judicature, Vol. 75, p. 329, 1992
5 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2010 Last revised: 25 Dec 2010
Date Written: 1992
The present article describes an empirical study that examined factors that affected parties’ willingness to consider an experimental alternative to litigation in media libel disputes. Parties’ interest in using the ADR program was influenced by their lawyers’ recommendations regarding the program, which were affected by the lawyers’ familiarity with and attitudes toward ADR. Parties’ motives and objectives for the litigation also affected their willingness to use the program. The stage of litigation also affected parties’ interest in the ADR program. Plaintiffs were most interested before they had filed suit; their interest declined as time passed after filing. Media organizations, however, were more interested after some discovery or other pretrial activity had occurred. Lawyers and parties in the few cases that used the alternative program had favorable assessments of the process and its efficiency. Lawyers felt that their discussions about the ADR program facilitated communication about the parties’ real interests. The authors conclude that if media organizations are interested in averting libel suits or in resolving them quickly and inexpensively, they need to take the initiative to propose the use of ADR early in the dispute.
Keywords: libel, alternative dispute resolution, empirical research
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