■ getting settled
With Unpredictable Juries And “Outrageous
Verdicts,” Opting To Settle Is Often Best Strategy
By caroline mcdonald
JACK MCCALMON, president of The McCalmon Group Inc. in Tulsa, Okla. and partner at Titus Hillis Law Firm
in Tulsa, advises risk managers to get
involved early and often with their company’s litigation—and to lobby for settlements as the best cost-control strategy.
“Typically, if you’re managing for cost—
which is wise because you should never bet
on litigation—then you’re looking to settle
as early as you can,” he advises.
The economics of the legal field, he explains, mean that a plaintiff attorney who
has taken a case on a contingency fee also
has a vested interest in settling.
“[For plaintiff attorneys] investing
time into a case—knowing there is a
strong chance they won’t get their money
back—there is a value proposition to set-
tling early to get as much money as they
can before they invest too much into it.”
McCalmon points out, however, that
some trial attorneys won’t settle and are
ready and willing to go to court because
they have the means to do so. Those attor-
neys will “win three out of five, but those
three are really big. But those attorneys
are kind of rare. You have to have a lot of
resources and be able to take the losses.”
From a defense perspective, too, it’s
always valuable to try to get a settlement
as early as possible, he notes.
tHe insUrer’s side &
Meanwhile, the insurer’s position is to
keep costs down and settle early, which
“creates a rub, because sometimes the client doesn’t want to do that,” McCalmon
says. The client may want to show they
can’t be sued by everybody and “that they
have a backbone, but the carrier is say-
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