Newtalk.Org, a discussion/debate site operated by Common Good, is uncommonly good today, taking on the question of loser-pays rules. The always interesting Marie Gryphon (with whom I once had the pleasure of working, briefly) takes a look at the case of Florida:
The Florida rule was in many ways a misunderstood success, though it took a couple of good economists several years to figure this out. Edward A. Snyder and James W. Hughes analyzed a large database of Florida malpractice cases before, during, and after the loser pays period. They concluded that loser pays caused plaintiffs with weak claims to drop their suits far more often, leaving courts to focus on more meritorious claims. While spending per litigated case went up, so did the average stakes per litigated case—the average stakes were higher under loser pays because the really weak cases had already been weeded out.
Others involved in the discussion today include Samuel Issacharoff and Walter Olson. It’s worth the time, and about eleven times better than anything you’ll see on your daily newspaper’s op-ed page.