Several reasons why settlement data rarely appears as benchmarks

For several reasons surveys don’t collect data on settlements paid by corporations. Often those amounts are kept confidential, and few within the defendant company know them. Other times settlement funds come from business units, sometimes more than one, and it may be difficult for the law department to assemble those scattered and embedded amounts.

At times, a settlement might be paid in more than one chunk. Most fundamentally, general counsel are loath to disclose to anyone the amounts, frequency or patterns of their settlements of litigation. Even aggregated numbers worry them. Disclosed, that sensitive knowledge they fear could give plaintiffs’ lawyers an advantage. Hence, practical, judicial and prudential obstacles thwart those who would like to produce settlement benchmarks.

PS. A scrupulous surveyor would ask not for gross settlements paid but net settlements paid.

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