A Fortune 1000 manufacturer, faced with the largest litigation threat in its history, turned to Bowman and Brooke to develop and implement a national case resolution strategy. The strategy, formulated and executed by partner Rick Morgan, resulted in both legal wins and the creation of value for the company.
In the face of a mass tort involving hundreds of cases and thousands of claims, it was critical not only to defend the company in legal proceedings, but also to help manage financial risk, align the legal strategy with pro-active public and media relations, and minimize business distractions to the greatest degree possible.
Rather than complete a traditional early evaluation program—analyzing a sample of large individual cases the results of which would likely determine the pattern of litigation which followed them—partner Rick Morgan prepared an evaluation of the entire mass tort. He projected that the litigation would last ten years, which it did.
Over the course of that decade, Morgan, along with partner Alana Bassin, defended several hundred cases and claims of mold infestation and property damage involving a synthetic stucco product manufactured by the client's wholly-owned subsidiary. Properties involved in the claims ranged from sports stadiums and university buildings, to condos, individual homes, hotels and retail facilities.
Key to the defense was deploying a dedicated legal team that understood the company and the product, as well as the law. Trial themes were developed with an eye towards jury appeal as well as countering negative publicity by defending the product and the brand. The team worked with the client at the outset of the litigation to develop and prepare corporate witnesses and outside experts who could be used in case after case, minimizing disruption to the company and maximizing the client's investment in the defense.
The cases took place in 25 states, involved several class actions and two trials. The first trial, in Texas, resulted in a defense verdict. The second trial, in New Jersey, resulted in a confidential, nuisance value settlement just before opening statements.
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the national defense program, the client initiated a Six-Sigma audit on Bowman and Brooke's handling of the litigation. Randomly selecting 30 files, consultants pored through Bowman and Brooke documents, invoices and databases. Processes were "fish-boned" in an effort to uncover any inefficiencies. None were found.
Actual costs were within 10% of Bowman and Brooke's ten-year estimate, including legal fees and settlement costs. After weeks of auditing, the only recommendation made by the Six-Sigma team was to have Bowman and Brooke switch travel agents to the client's in-house travel company.