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Herewith, a gallery of horrors for the corporate attorney: five of the largest defense losses in the labor and employment arena during the first half of 2001 (below), followed by ten of the same for all of 2000. Excluded are asbestos claims, because they would have overwhelmed such a list (as is evident from the recent bankruptcy filings of asbestos-plagued companies). But what remains is bad enough: Many of these verdicts and settlements stem from extraordinary injuries and egregious fact patterns. One very telling theme emerged among too many of these cases: Defense lawyers had declined to accept plaintiffs’ early settlement offers, even after discovery. Whoops. Following this pair of cautionary charts, Corporate Counsel‘s “On The Docket” lists the 25 largest public companies’ federal labor and employment caseload for 1999 and 2000 — plus the key outside counsel who handled those suits. The list focuses on federal litigation because labor and employment issues often involve federal law questions, and because the available data is more complete than for cases in state courts. A few trends among these 25 companies: Fourteen saw a decrease in the number of such cases, only six saw an increase, and four remained the same. Least plagued was TIAA-CREF, with only one federal case. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., had the highest load with 151 cases. Experts credit mandatory arbitration with the decrease. But the downward trend may not last long. Mark Carter, a partner in the Charleston, West Virginia, office of Washington, D.C.’s Heenan, Althen & Roles who is very active in the Labor and Employment Law section of the American Bar Asociation, expects a rise in strikes and their fallout federal litigation. Employers, he reasons, are more likely to risk strikes under the corporate-friendly Bush administration. Related Charts: Ten Biggest Employment Law Defeats in 2000 Five Biggest Employment Law Losses in 2001 25 Largest Public Companies’ Federal Labor and Employment Caseload for 1999 and 2000

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