Chapter 11 is a possible option, In my opinion

Wriston, Walter B.


Chapter 11 is a possible option, In my opinion by Walter B. Wriston for The New York Times

Chapter 11 is a possible option, In my opinion by Walter B. Wriston for The New York Times


The options are those Texaco is taking. The only thing you can do is appeal, while at the same time pursuing a parallel track toward a negotiated settlement.

I don't have preconceived ideas of what a settlement should include, but while one is being pursued, Texaco should press the legal battle, not only for its own sake, but from the point of view of the whole business community. From a general business point of view, I'd do everything I could to get it overturned legally.

I also think that the business community should organize a national campaign to stop the litigation explosion, which is showing signs of inhibiting the productive growth of our society. One simple way to stop these frivolous suits would be to adopt the British system in which the loser of the suit would have to pay the expenses of the other party.

The Business Roundtable, the National League of Cities, the American Hospital Association - everybody should participate in this campaign because the business community is under attack. If I were McKinley and somebody came to me with the proposal to establish such a campaign, I would have a very keen interest in seeing it go forward.

One way for Texaco to possibly avoid having to post a bond while it fights to reverse the $11 billion judgment would be to try to accelerate the appeal process. It's conceivable to me that the legal system watching this bizarre situation would say, 'Let's accelerate this process and have the appeal tomorrow, the same way that major cases like the Pentagon Papers were accelerated.'

If Texaco goes to the very end of the line and its appeal is lost and the amount of the judgment is not reduced, then Texaco would have to decide what is in the best interests of the shareholders. Chapter 11 is a possible option, in my opinion. If Texaco were forced into Chapter 11, such a dramatic step would certainly be an extraordinarily strong reason to get moving on building a national consensus to confine the litigation explosion.

  • This document was created from the article, "Chapter 11 is a possible option, In my opinion" by Walter B. Wriston for the December 15, 1985 edition of "The New York Times." The original article is located in MS134.003.026.00023.
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