Settle Sokaitis v. Bakaysa Jackpot Suit

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1 Response

  1. Dave says:

    This is really interesting. It reminds me of the famous dispute over Barry Bonds’ 73d home run ball, which raised age-old questions of property law, resulted in massive litigation (including a bench trial replete with witnesses), and was eventually sold by forced auction at a price that didn’t even cover attorney’s fees.

    One point about this case and the Bonds matter that I don’t agree with is the assertion that the subject matter is trivial (“What is at stake but trivial dollars?”). In each of these cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake (the Bonds HR ball was supposed to be worth nearly a million dollars by early estimates, though it didn’t auction for nearly that amount), and while that may be a trivial amount to some, it certainly doesn’t seem trivial to me. That could help send a kid to college or pay off a mortgage–life-changing effects. I can see why people would want to litigate over something like this.

    That said, I share the instinct that settling is probably the right outcome. It’s somewhat puzzling that the sisters don’t just do this, especially when the litigation costs they face could erase judgment they stand to win. Why make this irrational choice? I suspect it’s a combination of path-dependency (having come down the road this far, it’s hard to turn back), sunk costs (and the temptation to throw good money after bad), and pride (neither party wants to be seen to throw in the towel).