DAVOS, Switzerland – United States Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue announced the business organization would lead the effort to end the growing problem of global forum shopping by foreign plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking friendly courts.
“The business community must create awareness among public and private decision-makers of the serious problems global forum shopping is causing,” said Donohue, during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum. “The Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform will establish the Coalition to Curb Global Forum Shopping at a kickoff event this spring.”
Trial lawyers seeking friendly jurisdictions often look to the U.S. court system, according to the Chamber, to take advantage of the most permissive features of the American judicial system – including class actions and liberal discovery rules. The process is so expensive and time consuming that many defendants settle their cases just to avoid it. In addition, the U.S. jury system has a penchant for punitive damages and outlandish awards, Donohue added.
“The U.S. tort system drains $233 billion out of our productive economy every year,” said Donohue. “Before we have every lawyer in the world camped on our courthouse doorstep, we must put an end to global forum shopping.”
The coalition will work to convince U.S. courts to show self-restraint in interpreting laws with cross-border issues and it will push for adoption of an international agreement on jurisdiction.
Since 1997, the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform has been working vigorously to urge state and federal action to end lawsuit abuse. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.