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American businesses are filing and fighting fewer lawsuits, according to Fulbright & Jaworski’s Litigation Trends Survey. Seventeen percent of respondents have not defended a lawsuit in the past year, compared with 11% in the prior year. Corporations’ filing rate also dropped to 65% bringing at least one new lawsuit, compared with more than 70% in the prior year, and 88% in 2004. Only 22% of in-house counsel anticipate that their companies will be involved in more legal disputes over the next year. A stable economy and strong stock market during the first half of the year reduced public company litigation and the lessening of the corporate accounting scandals led to a drop in securities class actions and other investor suits. “The data this year point to a pronounced drop in new case filings – both against, and by American companies, a reversal of the upward trajectory in the number of new lawsuits from our previous three surveys,” said Stephen C. Dillard, chair of the global litigation practice at Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski. Fulbright & Jaworski tapped market analysis and research firm Greenwood Associates for the survey, which drew 253 responses from U.S. in-house counsel and about 50 from U.K. legal departments.

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