On September 28, 2017 Professor Kish Parella presented her working draft, “Public Relations Litigation,” at a workshop exploring the intersection of formal and informal governance sponsored by the Center for Private Law at Yale Law School. Her draft explores the reputational repair functions of business litigation, especially for plaintiffs implicated in a broader corporate crisis. Public relations litigation is part of a broader phenomenon within current business litigation where corporations bring lawsuits to gain reputational benefits among key stakeholder groups, such as consumers, employees, and investors. In this article, Parella explores the unique advantages of courts as information mechanisms that can help rehabilitate corporate reputations following a scandal. In the draft, Parella explores three main questions:
(a) what are the characteristics of this form of public relations litigation, including the relationship between the parties, nature of the dispute, and type of corporate scandal,
(b) why do firms invest in this form of public relations communication via litigation when they could accomplish similar objectives through other methods, and
(c) is public relations litigation a problem that courts should discourage and, if so, on what basis?