By: Christopher M. YoungJustin Kerner and Timothy Pfenninger

As business has spread across traditional geographic borders, litigation in its various forms has followed suit. Significantly, class actions − once largely unique to the United States − and other forms of collective redress are proliferating around the globe. The list of countries that have enacted some form of collective redress grows longer year by year. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are innovating, sharing information and coordinating product liability claims in a manner not seen before. And the “global class action,” in which claims are raised in many different fora and discovery shared globally, is now a very real phenomenon. Increasingly, companies manufacturing or distributing products can (whether willingly or unwillingly) litigate without having to emigrate.

Here, we explain what global class actions are, how they may affect product manufacturers, distributors and retailers operating in the global marketplace and what you can do – or should at least consider – if your company is the target of such actions.

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