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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

The Litigation Industry Keeps Growing

The litigation industry continues to grow in importance and scope, and now includes a wide range of vested interests, with lots of advocacy groups on all sides. Examples abound.

For example, the battle continues on AG’s hiring private lawyers. In a new column today in American Lawyer, Susan Beck explains her view that it’s fine for AGs to hire private lawyers. I tend to agree, subject to the usual caveats about the AG remaining involved in decision-making. It’s hard to see why using private counsel is anything much more than simply another form of litigation financing. That said, litigation financing also is much attacked by the US Chamber of Commerce, even though some large companies very much embrace use of litigation financing. Another example arises from insurers filing tens of thousands of subrogation claims every year for their own benefit (but many at the same time moan and groan about plaintiff’s lawyers suing them.) Yet other examples arise from President Obama entering the active arguments about "patent trolls," as well as the ongoing controversies about gene patents, and Judge Posner teeing off on high tech patent battles. Meanwhile, the wars go on as to what’s legal (as opposed to ethical) with respect to health care payments and discounts.

One notable aspect of these arguments is the lack of data and facts, and instead arguments built around theory or just plain argument. Susan Beck highlights this point by highlighting the West Virginia Supreme Court’s recent comment:

"The court chided the defendants for presenting a speculative parade of horrors. "The most glaring deficiency in the arguments made by [the banks and GSK] is that there was not one allegation that the special assistant attorneys general have actually engaged in any improper conduct that has caused an injury," the court wrote. "The law of disqualification cannot rest on the imagination of opposing counsel."

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