Intangible factors affecting case value

After evaluating your potential damages (economic damages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees), you should next consider whether your case will involve any intangible factors that may increase or decrease your actual potential damages. Examples of intangible factors to consider include:

1. Severely distressed plaintiff. If you have been so damaged by the discrimination that you will be unlikely to make it to deposition (much less a trial), your attorney should probably calculate this inability into the damages calculation. This will reduce your potential damages. However, this could also cut both ways: your severe emotional difficulties could also increase damages because it clearly shows the jury exactly how much injury you have suffered.

2. Unlikeable employer. If the defendant-employer is unlikeable (for example, if the defendant is an insurance company or a company that has received negative publicity for violating regulations), your attorney could increase your potential damages.

3. Media-sensitive employer. Similarly, if the defendant-employer is particularly media-sensitive and prefers to stay out of the media spotlight, the defendant-employer is likely to pay a premium in order to avoid a public lawsuit.

4. Privately-held employer. If the defendant-employer is a large, privately-held company, it is likely to pay more money to avoid the disclosure of any sensitive financial information.

5. Opposing counsel. If you have a weak case and the attorneys representing the defendant-employers are from a large law firm with an established employment law department and corporate clients, you should anticipate obtaining less money than if you went up against a defense represented by a small law firm. This is because the large law firm will recognize that your case is weak and move for summary judgment (which is highly likely to succeed).

On the other hand, if you have a strong case, anticipate obtaining more money when opposing counsel is a large law firm than when opposing counsel is a small law firm. This is because the large law firm will fear alienating its corporate client by litigating a losing case, whereas a small law firm is more vulnerable to economic demand and is thus less likely to recommend settlement.

6. Effect of other claims. Your attorney should also consider whether any other supplemental claims (such as defamation) would potentially increase your damages should you prevail.