Pretrial Settlement: Is It a Good Idea?

Often, clients want to know how an Irvine business attorney determines when settling a case is in the employer’s best interest. Many factors weigh in the decision, including potential costs of litigation and a jury’s likely response to the plaintiff’s claims.

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Timing is also important, and experienced attorneys think about settlement after they complete their investigations. If your company’s liability is evident, it may be advisable to settle early; otherwise, the plaintiff cements his or her position. Early settlement may be tempting for the plaintiff because it allows him or her to avoid the stress and costs of delay and litigation. The longer you wait to settle, the less attractive the settlement may be for the plaintiff, as he or she invests more money and emotional capital in the case. (Also keep in mind that plaintiff’s counsel may have a contingency fee arrangement.)

Motion Phases

The next stage of litigation may be a pretrial motion, such as a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. Another opportunity to settle comes just after a motion is filed. Since neither party knows the outcome, the certainty of a settlement may be more attractive than the possibility of an unfavorable outcome. Just after the defense files a motion, the plaintiff has yet to incur the costs of opposing that motion. That makes settlement at this point enticing. However, if the plaintiff waits and the motion is denied, this may boost confidence in the strength of his or her case. So settling right after filing a motion may work for both sides.

Overall considerations regarding settlement also include case law, the facts of the investigation, the strength of the plaintiff’s claims, and the employer’s case. Other factors include possible alternatives to paying damages in cash, such as a new job or position, or disciplinary action against the alleged actor (in the case of harassment for instance), or other outcome.

Contact Us

Many variables impact the likelihood and desirability of settling for both sides. Find out what’s right for your case by consulting an experienced Irvine business attorney. Call Daily Aljian LLP at 949-861-2524.