Lawsuit Ecosystem II: New Trends, Targets and Players

December 04, 2014

What are the latest trends in American litigation? Where are opportunistic plaintiffs’ lawyers prospecting for lawsuit gold? How are some state attorneys general delegating unprecedented powers to private lawyers who are driven by profit, not the public interest? Are targeted businesses pushing back? These key questions, and more, are examined in The Lawsuit Ecosystem II: New Trends, Targets, and Players.

Big-ticket litigation is a highly lucrative business, and creative plaintiffs’ lawyers are continually developing new theories and identifying new targets to increase their profits.

This report, authored by a distinguished group of practitioners, explores the evolving lawsuit “ecosystem.” It considers how plaintiffs’ lawyers generate litigation and significant developments that will spur more lawsuits or rein in excessive liability.

  • Litigation trends highlighted in this report include:
  • The creation of mass tort litigation through extensive and complex business models;
  • The expansion of product liability lawsuits;
  • The plaintiff-initiated discovery disputes aimed at discrediting defendants and initiating court sanctions for loss of electronic data;
  • The debate over what does and does not constitute a certifiable class action;
  • The evolution of asbestos litigation;
  • The unabated continuation of securities litigation and its subsequent harm to investors;
  • The filing of class action lawsuits within weeks of every merger and acquisition announcement;
  • The near record filings of federal False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits, or qui tam actions;
  • The abusive litigation practices used by patent trolls;
  • The targeting of employer social media use as fertile ground for labor and employment lawsuits;
  • The rise of litigation against energy producers;
  • The exploitation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA); and
  • The delegation of government power by state attorneys general to private lawyers through contingency fee arrangements.

Rather than simply treating baseless lawsuits as a cost of doing business, however, companies are fighting back, through civil RICO actions against plaintiffs’ lawyers, challenges to the constitutionality of contingency fee arrangements between state AGs and private lawyers, and appeals to the public to protect their brand and address meritless lawsuits.