March 8, 2009
The Economist has an article, Model Behaviour, about the use of increasingly sophisticated computer technology to model the interaction of large numbers of individuals. While the technology has been used for graphics in movies like Lord of the Rings, it's also being used to predict complex behaviors such as the way people react in public when someone collapses; other uses include the movements of people during a fire and ships in a crowded harbor.
Can't help wondering whether such computer modeling might someday help mass tort attorneys predict the litigation movements of masses of plaintiffs: how many will sign up for representation? based on what stimuli? how many will want to press to trial rather than settle? how will thousands of claimants react to a proposed group or class settlement? how many will see class notice? how many will opt out of class actions altogether? Seems like a model could be created based on a database of past interactions of mass tort plaintiffs in similar situations. And I'm sure defense counsel would enjoy thinking of themselves as fighting against the hordes of plaintiff orcs coming over the mountains.
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