70% exceed $1 million: Manufacturers face more lawsuits than others surveyed

Austin, TX—The U.S. Litigation Trends Survey from Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. found that 91% of manufacturing companies faced at least one new lawsuit last year, with more than half (56%) facing more than 20 new suits in the past year, more than any industry surveyed.
By Control Engineering Staff November 27, 2007

Austin, TX —The

U.S. Litigation Trends Survey

from

Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P

. found that 91% of manufacturing companies faced at least one new lawsuit last year, with more than half (56%) facing more than 20 new suits in the past year, more than any industry surveyed. Labor, product liability, and environment were among key issues.

The survey, based on interviews with in-house counsel at 250 major U.S. corporations, takes a macro look at the landscape for business disputes in the U.S. and U.K.

Forty-two percent of the American manufacturing companies surveyed reported facing at least one $20 million action. 70% spent more than $1 million per year on business disputes, again, the most of any industry surveyed .

Key manufacturing industry findings showed that manufacturing companies’ in-house law departments reported labor / employment matters (68%) were their biggest concern, followed by product liability (53%), and environmental/toxic torts (44% each). More than a quarter (26%) of manufacturing firms expect their case load to increase next year.

• 60% have class actions pending against them; 18% have over six actions pending;
• 74% of manufacturing companies filed at least one suit acting as plaintiff last year. 27% of companies filed at least one suit seeking more than $20 million;
• 29% of manufacturing companies have considered an internal investigation into stock options backdating issues;
• 9% of manufacturing companies have waived the attorney-client privilege in hopes of avoiding more severe action by authorities;
• 58% of manufacturing companies have been forced to institute an internal investigation requiring the assistance of outside counsel within the last year, slightly above the 54% average for all industries. 3% face six or more internal investigations; and
• 38% of manufacturing companies report an increase in external regulatory inquiries and investigations, while 23% expect the number of inquiries to increase in the future.

This is the fourth year that Fulbright & Jaworski has undertaken a broad overview of the litigation climate in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

In separate but related news,

Control Engineering has a regular column based on engineering and the law, called “Legalities

,” including “

Auditing legal health

.”

Control Engineering News Desk
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