Similarly, Kuran and Sunstein (1999) explain how “availability cascades” can cause the public to overestimate a particular risk. These
occur when people estimate the plausibility of a risk based on how
readily they can call an occurrence to highly publicized, people will tend to
If even a small risk
jury is more
likely to find
is of for
the plaintiff if they have heard of the both of these ways, mass torts can have even large corporate defendants to fear
danger occurring elsewhere. a “snowball” effect and lead them.
UNDERSTANDING WHY LIMITED TRANSPARENCY WAS IN BAYER’S INTEREST
At first, it appeared as though cerivastatin would follow the
plaintiff-friendly in Texas were being recruited by newspaper,
billboard, television, and website. capitalization, Bayer’s stock price
Despite was down
its huge market appreciably -- apparently
a result of the
uncertainty and the large expected losses. for Bayer, plaintiffs’ counsel were willing
According to settle
the stronger rhabdomyolysis cases only if Bayer would also settle the much weaker non-rhabdomyolysis cases where cerivastatin was alleged to
have caused other injuries.
Instead of seeking a global settlement, Bayer announced to plaintiffs’ counsel the creation of a schedule of damages for rhabdomyolysis cases and the fact that it was not generally seeking
confidential settlement agreements. (including some involving plaintiffs that Bayer won, the vast majority of
After a handful of trials that suffered from rhabdomyolysis) plaintiffs accepted the scheduled
a m o u n t s . 2 5 W h y ?
24 25 ____________ Interview with George Lykos (2007). Interview with Gary McConnell (2007).
See also Langley (2004).