Negative Expected Value Suits

10 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2000 Last revised: 9 Oct 2010

See all articles by Lucian A. Bebchuk

Lucian A. Bebchuk

Harvard Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: March 1998


When the cost of a suit exceeds the expected judgment, will a potential plaintiff be able to extract any amount in settlement from the defendant? If so, what is the source of the plaintiff's ability to extract a settlement? This essay discusses existing theories as to why (and when) plaintiffs with negative-expected-value (NEV) suits can extract a settlement amount from the defendant. Among the theories discussed are ones that focus on informational issues and ones that focus on the way in which the parties' litigation costs are expected to be distributed over time.

Suggested Citation

Bebchuk, Lucian A., Negative Expected Value Suits (March 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6474, Available at SSRN:

Lucian A. Bebchuk (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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