Between the Ceiling and the Floor: Making the Case for Required Disclosure of High-Low Agreements to Juries

Parties are increasingly using high-low agreements to limit the risks of litigation. High-low agreements are contracts in which defendants agree to pay plaintiffs a minimum recovery in return for plaintiffs’ agreement not to execute on a jury award above a maximum amount. Currently no jurisdiction requires high-low agreements to be disclosed to the jury. This Note argues that disclosure should be required. It contends that non-disclosed high-low agreements are a type of procedural contract modifying the jury’s core adjudicative function. Drawing on theories of procedural justice, it suggests that by usurping the jury’s role these agreements undermine the legitimacy of the judicial system. It contends that requiring disclosure would remedy these negative effects and that any unintended consequences attendant to disclosure could be mitigated by the court or by the parties.