Avoiding Cookie-Cutter Defense Strategies
CLM’s Product Liability Committee recently cooked up a webinar for when litigation cost-savings go stale.
By Eric Gilkey
CLM’s Product Liability Committee recently cooked up a webinar that offered up suggestions for when litigation cost-savings go stale. Their recipes for success will help you find the sweet spot when it comes to cost projection and management.
Carly M. Celmer, Esq., senior counsel at Clyde & Co.
Chris S. Egner, Esq., in-house product liability attorney for Continental Tire (The Americas)
“The first and most important thing to avoid a cookie-cutter solution is consider resolving the case pre-suit or as early as possible. External counsel has to consider the business relationships the company has with co-defendants in the case and whether or not we should include them in settlement negotiations early on.”
“Sometimes you have these ‘cookie cutter’ [defense] outlines where you do discovery, depose, and hire every expert without considering the fact that the plaintiff’s attorney is agreeable to an early settlement because you haven’t reached out to them. That’s something I always look for with respect to strategy.”
“You want to be sure to tailor your defense strategy to your opposition. Ask, ‘Who filed this lawsuit? Do they routinely settle? Do they only want to talk when they’re in court? Are they aggressive? Do I have a positive, long-standing relationship with them, or do we have a history of battling out claims in trial?’”
“Don’t order transcripts just to order them. It’s a bad habit of some counsel. If I had 15 cases from one client, and each case had about 10 depositions, and each transcript costs anywhere from $250 to $3,000, over the course of those 15 cases, you might spend $150,000 of your client’s money. How many did you actually need to resolve the case?”
“When it comes to attacking excessive medical bills and liens, this is where it might make sense to spend more money than you might normally. Do something creative like retain a medical bill review expert and have them look at the bills and liens and compare it to other providers and insurance companies for those pre-suit demands.”
“Consider deposing the medical providers and the bill issuers and make them a little uncomfortable about charging you $10 for an aspirin. Those sorts of tactics can help you in settlement negotiations.”
“The regional counsel model makes sense for us because it allows us to tailor our defense preferences without reinventing the wheel…. It also allows me to track fees, costs, and spending with respect to the regions, and we can develop experts in our fields to save money.”
“We not only have a regional counsel system, but also a national discovery counsel system in place. For us, that allows for streamlined discovery with a centralized location in which discovery is held. All of the documents and data are in one place and we have consistency with respect to our discovery responses.”