Litigation Rises Amid Economic Downturn

U.S. companies are seeing a litigation wave that corporate counsel expect to swell next year, according to the Sixth Annual Litigation Trends Survey from international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski. As predicted last year some 42 percent of in-house counsel at U.S. firms expect an increase in the number of legal disputes their companies will face in the next 12 months, up from 34 percent of last year’s respondents, while 83 percent report that lawsuits have already commenced against their companies. Fulbright reports that large-cap companies have the highest expectation of litigation, with 52 percent forecasting an increase in legal disputes, while 47 percent of public company respondents foresee a jump in disputes. The economy was cited as the key reason for the rising litigation. Regulatory investigations and whistleblower allegations are expected to eat up litigation resources in the year ahead. Looking to 2010, 16 percent of all respondents (and 23 percent of large-caps) say they expect the number of internal investigations involving their company to increase. Industry-wise, approximately 20 percent each of financial services, insurance and technology companies expect internal investigations to rise in the coming year. This tracks expected increases in whistleblower cases with 24 percent of all respondents (and 31 percent of large-caps) expecting an increase in claims brought by whistleblowers. Check out a recent I.I.I. paper on The Tort Threat.

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