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Uncertainty dogs efforts to describe litigation in terms of wins and losses

Often it is difficult to say whether, and to what extent, a company has truly won or lost litigation. If the plaintiff withdraws the complaint, that clearly counts as a success although it might happen only after considerable effort and expense. Has the corporation won if the suit was baseless? If the verdict is for the defense but at a cost of millions, how – unless the potential liability could be known with some certainty – can a triumph be declared?

Much litigation closes with a result that is not easily characterized as binary: win/lose. If resolved by settlement, no one can say for sure whether the amount paid, let alone the propriety of settling at all or at that time, constituted success or stumble. If the settlement of a matter involves anything other than cash payment, how can the company even put a monetary value on the resolution?

Benchmark studies often make use of litigation outcomes, but their problematic quality needs to be kept close in mind.

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