As many of our readers know, we not only write for this blog, but we also work with other publications.  This week, we were published in “Supply Management, the Procurement and Supply Website,” a resource for executives and supply chain personnel.  Since the publication’s audience is primarily from the UK, we wrote about the legal issues that UK companies should consider in working with U.S. suppliers.
Companies outside of the U.S. often benefit from working with U.S. companies.  But it is no secret that non-U.S. entities are also often wary of the U.S. judicial system, and they worry about what could happen if a dispute arises with a U.S. supplier.  Submitting sophisticated, high-value commercial disputes to a jury is virtually unheard of outside of the U.S. and Canada.  Even countries that use juries in criminal cases usually do not use juries to decide civil disputes.  The wide ranging availability of discovery is another difference that separates the U.S. system from most other parts of the world.  Even if non-U.S. companies do not know all the ins and outs pertaining to U.S. discovery, they usually are well aware that discovery is an expensive and time consuming process.  Being compelled to give depositions is another major concern.
That said, the possibility of U.S. litigation is – believe it or not – a manageable and acceptable risk for many non-U.S. companies.  Although U.S. litigation procedures seem strange and perhaps even dangerous to foreigners, U.S. business litigators know how to navigate them well.  Yes, U.S. litigation is expensive.  But that is all the more reason to exercise care and caution when drafting supply chain agreements with U.S. companies.  (We should mention that we are always available to consult with non-U.S. companies about what litigation in the U.S. entails and how best to manage it!)
A link to our article can be found here: