Watch on the Rhine…The Thames…The Seine

By January 24, 2008Briefly Legal

In his majority opinion in Stoneridge v. Scientific Atlanta, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that expansion of liability could discourage European firms from doing business in the United States. (Shopfloor discussion here.) But Europe may be developing its own problems.

From the Washington Legal Foundation comes a new backgrounder by Gary Rubin of Skadden, Arps, “Collective Litigation in Europe: Policy Considerations from the U.S. Class Action Experience.” Summary: “Rubin examines policy considerations for collective litigation in Europe given the impact of the American class action experience. Mr. Rubin discusses the current state of collective litigation in Europe and considers the foreseeable burdens of class actions, including the volume of litigation, the effects on non-parties, quasi-regulatory effects and attorneys’ fees. He concludes that business can unfortunately expect a continued increase in collective action litigation in Europe, but certain limits in European litigation provide hope that abuses in U.S. class actions will not spread to Europe.”

That jibes with what we’ve been reading. Push up the costs for business in North America and Europe and that gives another competitive edge to…ah, not China, because of widespread corruption and the continued weak rule of law there. But Japan? India? The Isle of Man?

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