Repeat Player vs. One-Shotter: Is Victory all that Obvious
This study tests Marc Galanter's theory in his work entitled Why the 'Haves' Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change. In his article, Galanter argues that classes of litigants with the greatest resources and the lowest relative risk in litigation have the highest rates of success in court. Galanter explains his theory by categorizing litigants as either repeat players or oneshotters. Repeat players consist of litigants who generally have the most resources and the lowest relative risk, and one-shotters consist of litigants who generally have the least resources and the greatest relative risk. To test his theory, this study measured Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s rate of success in court since the 1960s. According to Galanter, the results should indicate that during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, when Wal-Mart was a one-shotter, the company had a low rate of success in court. Conversely, the results should indicate that during the 1990s and 2000s, when Wal-Mart transformed into a repeat player, it had a high rate of success in court. A simple random sample of 226 labor and employment law cases from the 1960s to the 2000s supports Galanter's theory.