Semester: 2007 Fall
Project Type: Dispute System Design
Students: Tenley Laserson
Develop a dispute system to address major injury claims
Covenant Transport is one of the top ten trucking companies in the United States. Typically, such trucking companies face extremely costly and time-consuming legal claims seeking millions of dollars for personal injury or death resulting from unavoidable traffic accidents. In addition, the prolonged process of discovery and settlement negotiation does little to relieve the distress of the damaged individuals and their families. Gamesmanship and posturing on both sides greatly diminish chances of reaching early and reasonable settlements. Covenant Transportation approached HNMCP to develop a strategy for arriving at early and more equitable settlements in such cases. The challenge of this project was to design a dispute system for major claims that favors interest-based solutions while still fitting with the usual framework of mass tort claims and the particular culture of the defense bar.
Design a new approach to injury claims
Step 1: Conduct interviews of key actors in the negotiation of catastrophic accident claims.
Step 2: Conduct phone meetings with the General Counsel of Convenant Transport to discuss possible strategy formulations and the feasibility of their implementation.
Final Product: A draft of the “Covenant Model” of interest-based liability claims resolution, presented as a handbook on how Covenant will pursue claims in a way that maximizes the likelihood of early resolution, and corresponds with the overall ethos of the company, namely to “do the right thing.”