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United States (Central)


Disputes in the United States are resolved in federal and state court systems. In all federal courts, and many states, the right to a jury trial is guaranteed in most matters involving a claim for damages. The substantive laws of the fifty states can vary widely, but all recognize some form of claims for design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn and breach of warranty. Variations may include: limitations on damages; rules of evidence and the admissibility of expert testimony; the applicability of particular warranties; and many other matters that can affect the outcome. Demographics of potential jurors can vary from state to state and city to city. Some jurisdictions are notoriously friendly to plaintiffs and liberal with damages awards.

Unlike many European judicial systems, the US system generally expects each side to pay its own counsel fees. Most plaintiffs’ lawyers agree not to accept an hourly fee from their clients, but keep a percentage of any damages award. Thus, plaintiffs’ lawyers prefer cases with the potential for large damages awards; in some cases, plaintiffs’ lawyers have recovered fees well beyond the value of their time, sometimes in the many millions of dollars.

The US also has two devices for addressing large numbers of claims at once. In a class action, large numbers of plaintiffs who have common questions of law and fact may join together as a class, appoint one or more representatives to stand for the class and have all plaintiffs’ claims resolved in one common action. When a class action is not available, a federal court may establish multi-district litigation, consolidating many similar cases arising in different jurisdictions into one court for pre-trial matters, but allowing each case to be tried in the court in which it originated. 


Many federal agencies regulate products in the United States, and state and local governments may impose additional regulations on product manufacturers and retailers. Federal agencies that play a role in regulating the manufacture, distribution advertising, and recalls of products include: the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration; the Federal Aviation Administration; the Consumer Product Safety Commission; the Food and Drug Administration; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; and the Federal Trade Commission.

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United States (Central)

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Note past results are not guarantees of future results. Each matter is individual and will be decided on its own facts.