If you’re a Longhorns football fan, it was a tough weekend with an insurmountable Hill to climb. While the Horns need to put the T back in tackle (and touchdowns), we turn to the T in top 5 tips for minimizing class action litigation, courtesy of the global law firm Sheppard Mullin.
- Include an arbitration clause with a class action waiver in consumer contracts, website terms and conditions and product literature.
- Settle risky individual lawsuits. During discovery, be aware what is being produced by outside counsel and consider whether fighting the individual claim is worth the class action risk. Pay particular attention to cases brought by counsel whose firms are also known to pursue class actions.
- Implement a system to flag unusual customer requests or complaints. All too often, companies send customers extra copies of documents already provided, reply to complaints with detailed written responses or offer other information that is not legally required. Such requests can indicate lawsuit preparation. Counsel should be informed when these requests arise so that the company can consider whether or how to respond
- Direct counsel to monitor class actions pending against others in the industry. Many companies within the same industry share similar business practices. Plaintiff class action lawyers frequently test a theory of liability against one company and, if effective, later sue others in the industry. If necessary, make process changes before they reach your company.
- Monitor cases being defended by others under an indemnity, joint defense agreement or insurance policy. Counsel handling such cases may not have class action risk in mind. If you do not agree with the strategy, consider your contractual options.
This Saturday, the Horns will face the Bruins at Jerry World in Arlington. Perfect timing as later this week we’ll review the Jones Day order, which sanctioned the law firm for “pestering and unnecessary discovery tactics.”