The Law and Economics of Class Actions in Europe
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The Law and Economics of Class Actions in Europe

Lessons from America

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus, Alberto Cassone and Giovanni B. Ramello

This well-documented book discusses the power and limitations of class actions with insights and analysis from a panel of distinguished scholars. It pays special attention to the introduction and the applicability of such a legal device in European civil law countries. The book offers a broad legal and economic investigation, drawing insights from US judicial experience and giving a rigorous discussion of both the philosophical and constitutional aspects and the economic mechanisms and incentives set up by class actions.
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Chapter 2: Class Actions in the US Experience: The Legal Perspective

Guido Calabresi


JOBNAME: Ramello PAGE: 1 SESS: 4 OUTPUT: Tue Feb 28 11:47:52 2012 2. Class actions in the U.S. experience: the legal perspective Hon. Guido Calabresi A couple of days ago, literally as I was about to leave for this conference, I received two cheques in the mail, one for sixty dollars and ninety-eight cents and the other for six dollars and twelve cents. They were my shares of a class action suit brought against my insurance agent. This was originally a local agent who had bought insurance for me on most all I have – from my house to my car to everything else. The insurance agent many years earlier had been bought by a national company. I hardly knew any of this, but someone had brought a class action suit against the national company, claiming, apparently correctly, that these agents (who are supposed to be my agents) instead of presenting me with the various available insurances at the lowest prices were simply signing up me – and people all over the United States – with those who gave the agents the greatest profit margins. The suit successfully led the national company to settle very quickly. I was a bit aware of the existence of this suit; I sort of knew of it, but barely. Until the suit, I had not known of these practices of the agent. And, to this day, I have no idea what proportion sixty dollars and ninety-eight cents, for one thing, and six dollars and twelve...

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