Quality, Not Quantity: An Analysis of Confidential Settlements and Litigants' Economic Incentives

  title={Quality, Not Quantity: An Analysis of Confidential Settlements and Litigants' Economic Incentives},
  author={Alison Lothes},
  journal={University of Pennsylvania Law Review},
  • Alison Lothes
  • Published 2005
  • Economics
  • University of Pennsylvania Law Review
The recent rise of “sunshine” legislation, which prohibits or reduces secret settlements of civil lawsuits, highlights public unease with confidential settlements. Recurring, highly publicized, dangerous events expose the costs of confidentiality: the Bridgestone/Firestone tire scandal and the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal are the most recent. Litigation regarding the Dalkon Shield, the Ford Pinto, and 
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(describing a situation where an insurer cancelled a doctor's policy due to "claim and suit frequency and severity"). See generally David M. Studdert et al., Medical Malpractice, 350 NEW ENG
  • J. MED
  • 2004
New Jersey Health Care Consumer Information Act
  • N.J. STAT. ANN. §
  • 2004
discussing the significance of Massachusetts' physician profile database, which provides an "unprecedented amount of information" to consumers). See generally CAL
  • BUS. & PROF. CODE §
  • 2000
) (providing malpractice and settlement history to users who select a search item, choose a profile, and scroll to malpractice and settlement history)
    44 (noting that society has to resort to nonmarket institutions to guarantee physician care quality when patients are unable to adequately judge medical service quality)
    ?id=118082 (noting Massachusetts' influence on Rhode Island's adoption of, and content of
    • MED. ECON
    About the Health Care Profile" link) (last visited
      Different insurers treat medical malpractice claims differently
        It should be noted that post-verdict awards are generally much higher than out-of-court settlements. DANZON, supra note 38
          Leg., 107th Reg. Sess. (Fla. 2005) (vetoed 2005) (providing for disclosure in Florida of physician information); see also H.B. 1739, at lns