The results of a study of 2,054 California civil cases that went to trial from 2002 to 2005, indicates that most litigants who forgo a settlement offer end up with less money by going to trial. According to Randall L. Kiser, a co-author of the study published in a Cornell law journal, plaintiffs made a bad decision 61 percent of cases and defendants in 24 percent of cases. In just 15 percent of cases, both sides were right to go to trial (i.e., the defendant paid less than the plaintiff had wanted but the plaintiff got more than the defendant had offered). (Journal of Empirical Legal Studies; NY Times.)
The statistics continue to reinforce the conventional wisdom that alternative dispute resolution is a rational decision for stakeholders. This fact points to continued growth for the Organizational Ombuds profession.