Are People Who Behave Irrationally in Litigation Irrational?

Are People Who Behave Irrationally in Litigation Irrational?

Thomas Stilp, JD, MBA/MM, LLM, MSC

All litigation is premised on the implicit assumption that potential litigants (that is, people in lawsuits) will act rationally and responsibly when calibrating the costs of litigation activities with the potential value of the outcome.  This assumption is often inaccurate.

We often see that people are willing to threaten or actually engage in litigious behavior that is financially irrational in light of the likely benefit.  But are these people irrational?

People use litigation to settle emotional scores, obtain social vindication, or harm other parties by simply delaying the outcome.

Less transparent, the use of litigation arises from the inherent uncertainties of litigation. These people recognize the value-redistributing effect of litigation, moving time, effort and money from one party to the other.

An experienced attorney will know how to minimize gameplaying and maximize value for the client.

photo cred: