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The Litigation Risks Book

Why are companies so frequently sued in the United States, and how might these business litigation liabilities be avoided through preventative measures and more effectively managed?


Avoiding and Managing US Business Litigation Risks answers those two weighty questions. The central premise of the work is that many costly and protracted lawsuits in the US are traceable to unforced errors companies make time and again. By better understanding the sources of commercial litigation, preventive steps can be implemented, reducing these risks.


Like sharks trolling the waters searching for their next meal, claimants and the counsel eager to represent them may be eyeing your business, eager to capitalize on any malfeasance or errors. The questions are: who are these future plaintiffs and what legal theories might they be preparing to pursue? Is there a framework for categorizing and prioritizing litigation risks so that practical steps can be made to avoid these lawsuits?


Kent Schmidt draws on 25 years in the trenches, defending companies throughout the US in almost every conceivable type of commercial litigation. Applying a “lessons-learned” approach from these experiences, he examines how corporate defendants can avoid claims by refining and enhancing their litigation risk profile. Each company’s litigation profile must be tailored to its business model, which involves spotting particular vulnerabilities.

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Executive Summary and Introduction

Overview of
the book

The "five Cs" of litigation risks

To assist the reader in spotting litigation risks, Kent begins the book with a framework for identifying the primary litigation risks – the “Five Cs” of commercial litigation.

  1. Corporate Governance

  2. Contract Disputes

  3. Customers Claims

  4. Competitor Lawsuits

  5. Crewmember (Employment) Litigation

The final three chapters pivot from litigation avoidance to litigation management. After a lawsuit is filed, the company must engage in several steps to control costs, manage outside counsel and prepare for discovery, mediation, and eventually trial. Understanding the litigation process is essential to surviving the ordeal by defeating the claim or resolving it through settlement. This discussion provides ideas on how to make this process more efficient and obtain better results in litigation, whether through a settlement or at trial or an arbitration hearing. 

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