22 October 2008

EESA: Oversight & Legal Filings...

What is on the mind of GCs in the United States and United Kingdom? What are they saying about the costs of litigation, labor and employment, the financial/subprime crisis, regulatory investigations and FCPA, e-discovery preparedness and patent infringement claims. A Fulbright & Jaworski 5th year survey, gets the answers from 350 senior-level executives.

Lawsuit fears also vary across the United States: California companies have qualms about employment cases; Northeastern companies worry about environmental cases; and Southern companies expressed concerned about class actions and products liability lawsuits.

The survey responses indicate that lawsuits filings ultimately vary by industry.

During the past year, two-thirds of insurance companies reported at least six new lawsuits, followed by 55 percent of retail companies.

Manufacturing companies were the third most sued industry, with 54 percent facing six new claims. Health care providers followed closely behind with 52 percent reporting a half dozen new cases.

Two industries were far less likely to face multiple lawsuits in one year.

Thirty-seven percent of financial services companies reported six new lawsuits compared with 30 percent of technology firms.

Somehow we think the financial services companies are going to see a large spike in the next nine months. The SOX cases will be tested and there will be a few that won't get settled. The outcomes will set the precedence for Corporate Governance related suits for years to come.

Keep on "eye" on this one. Part of the new EESA legislation will have some kind of IG and oversight. This will be keeping the legal teams busy:

7) Compliance: The law establishes important oversight and compliance structures, including establishing an Oversight Board, on-site participation of the General Accounting Office and the creation of a Special Inspector General, with thorough reporting requirements. We welcome this oversight and have a team focused on making sure we get it right.

The Special Inspector General's purpose is to monitor, audit and investigate the activities of the Treasury in the administration of the program, and report findings to Congress every quarter.

The "TARP" Inspector will have their hands full and since they are appointed by the President, you can be sure that they will not be too partisan.

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