The Effects of Seeking Punitive Damages on the Processing of Tort Claims

Posted: 14 Nov 2004

See all articles by Thomas A. Eaton

Thomas A. Eaton

University of Georgia Law School

David B. Mustard

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Georgia Law School

Susette M. Talarico

University of Georgia - Department of Political Science

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Abstract

Punitive damages are controversial aspects of tort litigation and have been the subject of numerous theoretical, empirical, and experimental studies. Critics have argued that the uncertainty and unpredictability that punitive damage claims inject into a case may increase the rate and amount of settlements and carry systemic consequences for the general processing of tort claims. This paper represents the first empirical examination of this hypothesis.

With one of the most comprehensive data sets of tort litigation we analyze cases that are likely to have caps on punitive damage awards and cases that are likely to be uncapped. We examine the effect of the decision to seek punitive damages on several major decision points in the tort litigation process in a series of logit regression models. With extensive control variables we find that seeking punitive damages has no statistically significant effect on most phases of the tort litigation process.

JEL Classification: K13, K41

Suggested Citation

Eaton, Thomas A. and Mustard, David B. and Talarico, Susette M., The Effects of Seeking Punitive Damages on the Processing of Tort Claims. Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=618241

Thomas A. Eaton (Contact Author)

University of Georgia Law School ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-5177 (Phone)
706-542-5556 (Fax)

David B. Mustard

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States
706-542-3624 (Phone)
706-542-3376 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.terry.uga.edu/~dmustard/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Georgia Law School

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

Susette M. Talarico

University of Georgia - Department of Political Science ( email )

104 Baldwin Hall
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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