Litigation: Budget woes slow Calif. courts, but they remain a favored forum for corporate plaintiffs

For many plaintiffs, California state courts remain a favored forum and one corporations should consider

Over the last 5 years, general counsel of corporations have dealt with shrinking budgets. They have responded by pressing outside counsel to reduce expenses, shifting work in-house, using non-law firm vendors to provide some services and requiring the implementation of legal project management procedures. The efforts to respond to shrinking budgets have not stopped with asking how to reduce expenses. Many companies have considered the question: Can we bring affirmative claims to bring in money or provide the company with other benefits? Many companies have concluded that pressing affirmative claims makes sense. Companies now opt out of class actions and press their own claims, bringing actions against vendors that fail to perform or customers that fail to pay. They file lawsuits to protect intellectual property and bring actions against competitors under a variety of business torts.

For far longer than the last five years, general counsel have dealt with lawsuits brought against the companies they work for in California. It is not uncommon for general counsel to lament about being sued in California state courts and subjected in some cases to the broad reach of California statutes or procedures that make it difficult to bring a case to a quick conclusion. So the obvious question: Are California state courts a good forum for a corporation to bring an action?

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Gregory D. Call

Gregory D. Call is a partner in Crowell & Moring's San Francisco office and serves as head of that office. He is co-chair of...

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