A Great Game: The Dynamics of State Competition and Litigation

Matthew D. Cain, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Steven Davidoff Solomon, Berkeley Law


We theorize a multi-dimensional picture of jurisdictional competition for corporate litigation. We test this theory by examining merger litigation in a hand-collected sample of I 117 takeovers from 2005 to 20I I. We find evidence of state competition for merger litigation. Entrepreneurial plaintiffs' attorneys drive this competition by bringing suits in jurisdictions which have previously awarded more favorable judgments and higher fees and by avoiding unfavorable jurisdictions. States with an apparent interest in attracting corporate litigation respond in-kind by adjustingjudgments and awards tore-attract litigation. These states award higher attorneys' fees and dismiss fewer cases when attorneys have been migrating to other jurisdictions. Our findings illuminate the dynamics and existence of jurisdictional competition for corporate litigation.