(sorry about the camelCaseTitle, I ran out of characters)

Have there been any lawsuits where the losing party is known to have intentionally lost, because they wanted the opposite precedent of what would benefit them in that particular case? For example, suppose XYZ Entertainment Inc. publishes a movie, then ABC Studios LLC uses part of it in their own movie in a way that is possibly fair use. XYZ then sues ABC. If ABC won, however, the precedent would do them more harm than good long-term; they don't want other companies to be able to copy their work in that way, and they are willing to pay damages to XYZ to avoid that. In the scenario described in my question, ABC would try to lose the lawsuit, because the damages they will pay by losing are less than the long-term loss they would suffer due to the precedent set by them winning. Has something like this ever happened? (This isn't limited to copyright; that was just an example.)

Would it be ethical for a lawyer to "represent" ABC and try to lose the lawsuit for them if they specifically wanted this?

I'm interested in answers for any jurisdiction, but especially the US.

1 Answer 1


There are some cases in which it is ethical to lose a suit on purpose, called Friendly Suits. They're not real controversies, as both parties already agree on the outcome desired, but judicial recognition of that outcome is still desired. Your example doesn't sound like that to me. It seems like it would be easier for ABC to just settle with XYZ before it made it to trial and risked setting precedent.

  • I wasn't aware of friendly suits; thank you for that link! In this case, ABC would prefer for there to be precedent: that that type of copying is not fair use.
    – Someone
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 5:01

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