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Class Action Countermeasures Discussions of the Strategic Considerations Involved In Class Action Defense

Negotiation Studies – Pirates!

Posted in Settlement

As one might expect from a holiday week, last week produced few class action opinions.  On the other hand, the Economist had an excellent article on the peculiarities of bargaining with Somali pirates.  Based on two working papers in the past year, it examines "how two parties bargain when neither has good information available."  The money quote:

They found that Somali pirates pretend to be more sophisticated than they are, whereas shipowners pretend to be poorer. Nowadays both sides have an interest in a speedy resolution, since a prolonged negotiation incurs costs. For the shipowner, the cargo spoils and the ship goes unused. For the pirates, the captured crew must be fed and the ship guarded. And pirates cannot last long without a resupply of qat, which is to them as rum is to Captain Jack Sparrow. Settle too quickly, though, and one side or other is likely to get a poor deal.

(Emphases added.)  The first insight, that one side pretends to more sophistication and the other to fewer funds, may ring familiar to those involved in class action litigation.  The second doesn’t translate quite as easily to the class-action context, but it does illustrate the difficulties in negotiating over longer periods of time.  Both papers (and the Economist’s summary) are well worth a look.