October 23, 2013

The New Lawsuit Ecosystem: Trends, Targets and Players

The New Lawsuit Ecosystem: Trends, Targets and Players, a first-of-its-kind analysis of America’s multi-billion dollar lawsuit industry, brings together leading practitioners from a wide range of fields to closely analyze emerging litigation trends and also includes a review of the growing alliance between state attorneys general and plaintiffs’ lawyers.  In addition, the report identifies industries most frequently targeted by the plaintiffs’ bar, those eyed as future targets, and, for the first time, identifies the individual plaintiffs’ lawyers and law firms driving this industry.

This research examines trends and offers insights into the six core areas of litigation: class actions, mass torts, asbestos, securities and mergers and acquisitions, False Claims Act, and wage and hour litigation.  Among its findings is an explosion of abusive M&A litigation with multiple extortionate lawsuits filed within days of any major corporate announcement, a near doubling of False Claim Act qui tam litigation over just four years, and a questionable surge of lawsuits claiming that asbestos exposure resulted in workers developing lung cancer.

Areas of law where entrepreneurial plaintiffs’ lawyers are prospecting for new liability are explored, including class actions against food makers, data privacy lawsuits, claims against brand-name drug manufacturers for injuries allegedly stemming solely from generic products, “patent troll” litigation, and attempts to bring claims on behalf of people who have experienced no injury.  For example, the reports finds that a small group of plaintiffs’ lawyers filed nearly 150 class actions against food makers since 2011, with more than half filed in California courts.  Some law firms reuse the same people over and over as plaintiffs, attack advertising that the plaintiff never saw or relied on, and even challenge the marketing of products that the plaintiff never bought.  The report also examines the evolution of medical monitoring claims at the state and federals levels.

The report identifies another troubling trend: state attorneys general growing alliance with private plaintiffs’ lawyers.  Private plaintiffs’ lawyers often develop the theories for the lawsuit and “pitch” it to state officials as a money-making enterprise.  The report finds that such lucrative litigation, which began with the multi-state litigation against the tobacco industry in the 1990s, has expanded to virtually every industry.  Prime targets currently include pharmaceutical makers, financial institutions, and energy firms.  A recent proposal by plaintiffs’ lawyers to state AG’s to sue “big food” – exposed by the report – exemplifies how plaintiffs’ lawyers continue their attempts to use the tobacco model to attack other American businesses. 

Although courts have taken little action to address the ethical and due process concerns arising when profit-motivated lawyers enforce state law, the report shows that state legislatures are responding by adopting safeguards on the hiring, oversight, and payment of private attorneys by state officials.

View PDF
Fall 2021 | ILR Research Review | Volume 8, Issue 2 Class Action Litigation, Data Privacy, Mass Tort Multidistrict Litigation, Municipality Litigation, Third Party Litigation Funding (TPLF) ILR Briefly: A Bad Match: Illinois and the Biometric Information Privacy Act Data Privacy ILR Briefly: Courting Confusion: Federal Securities Class Actions Don't Belong in State Courts Class Action Litigation, Securities Litigation Reform ILR Briefly: Municipality Litigation: A Continuing Threat Municipality Litigation, State Attorneys General Litigation vs. Restoration: Addressing Louisiana's Coastal Land Loss Municipality Litigation, State Attorneys General
We Use Cookies to Make your Experience Better

What do we use cookies for?

We use cookies and similar technologies to recognize your repeat visits and preferences, as well as to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and analyze traffic. To learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, view our Cookie Policy. By clicking "I Accept" or "X" on this banner, or using our site, you consent to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.