Report: U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Can Help Businesses Defend Against Lawsuit 'Forum Shopping'

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June 04, 2018

Report: U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Can Help Businesses Defend Against Lawsuit ‘Forum Shopping’


U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform Research Outlines the Value for Defendants in the BMS Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) urges businesses to more aggressively assert the U.S. Supreme Court’s reasoning in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court (BMS) to defend themselves when plaintiffs’ lawyers “forum shop” for favorable courts in which to sue. ILR released the paper as part of a panel discussion at the National Press Club Building in Washington, D.C., held nearly one year after the BMS ruling.

The report, BMS Battlegrounds: Practical Advice for Litigating Personal Jurisdiction After Bristol-Myersoutlines how the decision brought greater clarity to where defendants can be sued and urges them to use the case and guard against plaintiffs’ lawyers manufacturing a connection between a lawsuit and a particular court venue.

“A near-unanimous U.S. Supreme Court said ‘enough is enough’ to plaintiffs’ lawyers suing in plaintiff-friendly courts with no real-world connection at all to any party in a lawsuit,” said ILR Executive Vice President Harold Kim. 

But the BMS decision does not mean that courts won’t be exploited by the plaintiffs’ bar for tactical advantages.

“The business community must continue to work against enterprising lawyers seeking to exploit any perceived ambiguity in the ruling, particularly where they enjoy a ‘home field’ advantage,” Kim said. 

To ward off lawsuits in improper venues, the BMS Battlegrounds report urges defendants to insist that judges demand a connection between a defendant’s actions and the forum in question. It also points out that defendants ought to advocate for this same standard in national class actions. 

Further, the report recommends that defense counsel should promptly challenge improper venue claims in cases that pre-date BMS, even if they did not originally file such challenges. 

 

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.