Annual Report FY 2004 - Research at Cornell

08. Class-Action Court

Theodore Eisenberg, Law, and New York University colleague Geoffrey P. Miller found that class-action court settlements are not escalating as commonly believed. For the past 10 years, the average price of settlements and the average attorney fees have been steady. The researchers analyzed data on state and federal class actions ranging from antitrust to consumer to securities law violations. The study also showed that the percentage of the recovery fee that attorneys receive decreases as the size of the recovery increases and that fees are usually higher in federal than in state court cases. The study is the first to provide empirical data on class-action settlements, and it highlights the need for better data about the U.S. legal system to help policymakers.

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