How far will lawyers go? : Page 2 of 2

is it that the plaintiff's bar has become so successful in their litigation of cases against corporations?

A. First, the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) is a very well organized group of plaintiff's attorneys with a central repository of corporate documents and strategies to exploit weaknesses of companies that have been the subject of litigation. Secondly, some jurisdictions favor plaintiffs, particularly those where the judiciary is elected with the generous funding of plaintiff-oriented counsel. Out-of-state corporate defendants often appear to be short-shrifted in those legal environments.

Q. What can our company do to fight tactics of what many consider to be unscrupulous or over-zealous plaintiff's attorneys?

A. When you hire legal counsel, instruct them to take a fair, but very firm, position with the plaintiff's counsel and to vigorously resist any unfair, unethical or questionable tactics during any stage of the proceeding. A good source of relief is the Board of Bar Overseers for any particular state, since that organization is designed to reign in, reprimand, or even disbar unethical attorneys. Your counsel should not be reticent to report inappropriate conduct.

Q. Are there any other cures to overcome such situations?

A. You may wish to consider adopting the English System, where the loser pays all of the costs, including legal fees. This can be a very substantial penalty. It certainly provides a practical deterrent to groundless or speculative litigation. At any rate, this measure could prove to be a partial answer to the problem.

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