Canadian Underwriter

Global forum shopping target of new group

March 29, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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A group of U.S. businesses are joining together under the mantle of the Chamber of Commerce to fight against global forum shopping.
The practice, whereby plaintiffs seek to find any possible link to allow a case to be tried in a “plaintiff friendly” jurisdiction, is leading to foreign cases being tried in U.S. courts, says the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). The ILR recently released its ranking of U.S. states in terms of tort fairness.
“The U.S. is increasingly becoming the jurisdiction of choice for opportunistic foreign plaintiffs looking to take advantage of our class action system and liberal discovery rules,” says Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the Chamber. “If this trend is not halted, a flood of litigation could be unleashed.”
The “Coalition to Curb Global Forum Shopping” will try to sway U.S. courts to “show self-restraint” in interpreting laws relevant to cross-border suits, it says. The group also wants to see an international agreement on jurisdiction in place.
The coalition has filed amicus briefs in three relevant cases before the U.S. Supreme Court Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain; Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices Inc.; and F. Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd., et al. v. Empargran S.A.
“There is no end to the court cases that could be launched and possibly interfere with international investment flows and international relations,” says ILR president Lisa Rickard. “Without restraint or reform of these practices, global investors will be discouraged from doing business with American firms or establishing a presence here in the U.S.”

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