Victim Civil Litigation and the Elusive Goal of Corporate Accountability

22 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2023

Date Written: February 27, 2023

Abstract

This article, written for the Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Public Policy, examines the challenges of using victim civil litigation to hold corporations accountable for serious wrongdoing. First, it offers thoughts on defining the terms of victim civil litigation, corporate wrongdoing, and corporate accountability. Next, taking seriously the distinction between accountability grounded in punishing the wrongdoer and accountability grounded in providing redress to victims, it considers four major hurdles and how they interfere with each kind of accountability. It calls these hurdles the information asymmetry problem, the collective action problem, the Whac-a-Mole problem, and the agency problem. Using the Wells Fargo story as an illustration, it offers a view into treating victim civil litigation as one tool—important but insufficient on its own—for holding corporations accountable for serious wrongdoing.

Suggested Citation

Erichson, Howard M., Victim Civil Litigation and the Elusive Goal of Corporate Accountability (February 27, 2023). DePaul Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4371508

Howard M. Erichson (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
646-312-8233 (Phone)

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