• Kirk Hartley

Big Law Now Marketing Defense of Global Tort Litigation, and Adopting the Insurance Industry Tactic

Big law now sees global tort litigation as a big deal. For example, Gibson Dunn just issued a press release touting its global tort work for Dole and Enron. In a similar vein, Shook Hardy has been working and marketing in that space for some time by leveraging its US-based tobacco defense work into global work defendant tobacco litigation. Orrick likewise is marketing its global mass tort defense skills. Hat tip to Law.com for the this article highlighting Gibson Dunn’s press release.

Gibson Dunn’s press release is set out below, and is notable for its effort to create an impression of widespread fraud in claiming. This approach mirrors the insurance industry’s efforts to create an impression that fraud dominates claiming. Certainly there has been fraud in claiming, and it should be blocked. But, focusing on fraud also is part of a macro insurance industry effort to avoid paying meritorious claims, and to reduce claim payment amounts, as is detailed in a great book, Delay, Deny, Defend. And, now, the Gibson Dunn press release highlights some repeat defendants adopting a similar macro strategy of creating an impression of widespread fraud.

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of the global litigation industry.

Gibson Dunn Launches Transnational Litigation and Foreign Judgments Practice Group

December 15, 2010

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is pleased to announce the formation of its new Transnational Litigation and Foreign Judgments Practice Group, which focuses on defending multinational corporations against torts and other related claims originating from or involving non-U.S. jurisdictions. The multidisciplinary group will draw upon Gibson Dunn’s extensive experience in foreign judgment recognition and enforcement, toxic tort, appellate, media, and international arbitration. The Transnational Litigation and Foreign Judgments Practice Group will be led by Los Angeles partner Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., Century City partner Scott Edelman, Orange County partner Andrea Neuman and Los Angeles partner William Thomson. The practice group includes 27 lawyers located in offices throughout the firm.

"We formed this new Transnational Litigation and Foreign Judgments Practice Group to help our clients respond to the increasing threat to corporations posed by lawsuits filed in jurisdictions around the world," said Ken Doran, Chair and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn. "The firm has recently been involved in a number of high-profile matters filed in or emanating from foreign jurisdictions. We created the group in order to better communicate our capability in this area and to formally bring together the skill sets these complex matters require."

"Whether the claims are tried initially in U.S. courts or in non-U.S. jurisdictions, the new group brings a uniquely skilled, creative, and experienced team to bear on cases posing enormous and complex risks for transnational corporations," Boutrous said. "These cases are often massive and multifaceted assaults that may involve fundamentally unfair, abusive or corrupt claims. We work with our clients to develop not just defensive tactics, but rather an affirmative strategy to ultimately end the litigation."

The Transnational Litigation and Foreign Judgments Practice Group has succeeded in assisting clients in a number high-profile matters brought by foreign plaintiffs in courts around the world and is widely seen as one of the preeminent leaders in this field.

The group currently represents Dole Food Company, Inc. and Chevron Corp. in numerous high-profile actions brought by foreign plaintiffs in courts throughout the United States and around the world. Gibson Dunn represents Chevron in its defense of environmental litigation concerning Ecuador, in which the plaintiffs seek billions of dollars in damages. Discovery proceedings conducted by Gibson Dunn have exposed extensive fraud and collusion by representatives of the plaintiffs and foreign government officials. In addition, Gibson Dunn transformed a high-risk toxic tort litigation against Dole into a headline-making victory when it took over the defense of a series of cases filed against Dole alleging that its use of the pesticide DBCP in Nicaragua in the 1970s caused sterility in alleged former farm workers. A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge threw out three high profile cases against Dole after Gibson Dunn lawyers established that the claims were the product of a conspiracy to defraud the court and were based on manufactured evidence from plaintiffs who had been trained to lie by their lawyers.


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