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Markets, Morals, and the Law$
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Jules L. Coleman

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253609.001.0001

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Justice in settlements

Justice in settlements

(p.202) 9. Justice in settlements
Markets, Morals, and the Law

Jules L. Coleman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the practice of settling disputes instead of fully litigating them. Since settlements often depart from the requirements of individual desert, the practice of encouraging settlements requires a defense. The chapter also points out that further questions of justice can arise after disputes settle, especially in certain categories of cases. The most important of these categories, the class action, is examined, specifically, whether compensatory or corrective justice demands that monies paid in settlement of class actions be distributed among class members, as the law currently requires. The chapter argues that in certain class actions called paradigm class actions, justice does not require this result. Instead, the principle that people should be compensated for wrongfully inflicted losses leaves open the possibility that monies paid in settlement of paradigm class actions could be used in other ways, including ways that deprive class members of benefits entirely.

Keywords:   justice, settlements, litigation, paradigm class actions, compensation, unfair bargaining, third party, public goods, legal rights

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