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My impression is that this is true, but I am not sure. By "major", I meant lawsuits that potentially lead to large sums in damages.

If you have any hard statistics to share, please do!

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  • I'm assuming U.S. Jurisdiction?
    – hszmv
    Feb 10, 2021 at 17:43
  • It would be helpful to also know what you mean by "major" lawsuits. For large amounts of money? Scandalous allegations? Class actions?
    – bdb484
    Feb 10, 2021 at 17:45
  • @hszmv yes indeed.
    – J Li
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:37
  • 1
    This can be answered by actual statistics, and so should not be closed as opinion based. Feb 10, 2021 at 18:57
  • 1
    One other question: Cases are frequently filed in state court, but end up in federal courts anyway. Are you interested in knowing just where cases start, or where they actually end up being litigated?
    – bdb484
    Feb 10, 2021 at 19:42

2 Answers 2

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No... in fact the vast majority of major corporations are filed in Delaware of all places. This is due to friendly Usury Laws as well as favorable buisness laws. Half of the S&P500 buisnesses are incorporated in Deleware even if they do no buisness there.

Additionally, suits may filed in state courts against a corporation that does buisness in the state reguardless as to where it's corprate headquarters is. In some cases, such as media entities in defamation cases, the suit may be in the jurisidiction of the plaintif rather than the state of headquarters of the company.

Typcially, Corporations that are sued in federal court will move to hear the case in a favorable state (either one where they are in the jurisdiction of the incident OR Delaware OR Home State) and often terms of service and liscense agreements will list the court of jurisdiction as part of the terms, meaning a user contracts away their right to fight over jurisdiction. Federal courts rarely hear cases, and most originate where the Federal Government is the plaintif of the suit.

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  • Thank you for the answer. I'm imagining that plaintiffs won't want to sue corporations in Delaware state court. So perhaps many of these lawsuit will be initiated in federal courts, and then moved to Delaware later? If so we should still see a trace of them in federal records?
    – J Li
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:40
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    Actually, the Delaware courts are used because corparate case law is so strong. @JLi There's very rarely a dispute between corperations that hasn't been heard of by DE courts. There are other incentives to other states (for example, tech companies will try to push the case to California... since the federal district has a lot of pro-tech company laws and California has to use that precedence.). And many will never see federal court so there would be no records.
    – hszmv
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:44
  • This is very helpful. Is there any statistics I can look up? Apart from DE, I also wonder which other major states (e.g. NY, CA) I should also look at to be somewhat (not totally) comprehensive.
    – J Li
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:45
  • @JLi: You should be concerned with the type of industry the company you're looking for is in. NYC and CA have a lot of case laws for media compainies and CA for tech, but other states will have different industries. And if you're operating in any state, you can be sued in those state courts.
    – hszmv
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:47
  • No - the really big ones are almost all federal. Feb 10, 2021 at 21:27
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Yes, with the notable exceptions of the top two tobacco settlements, by far the very big ones are federal. Securities cases, FDA cases, Clean Air and Water cases, etc.

The top of the biggest corporate settlements include these federal cases - BP: $20 billion + some states, Bank of America: $16 billion, Volkswagen: $14.7 billion, Bayer/Monsanto: $10.9 billion, Enron: $7.2 billion, WorldCom: $6.1 billion, Galaxo SmithKline: $3 billion, Tyco $2.9 billion, AOL-Time Warner: $2.8 Billion.

Plus some I found at another source, all federal.

  • Fen-Phen diet drugs $3.8 billion
  • American Indian Trust $3.4 billion
  • Silicone breast implants $3.4 billion
  • Cendant accounting fraud $3.2 billion

Yet another source has Anadarko/Kerr McGee $5.15 billion federal for environmental clean up.

However the top two are the big Master Tobacco settlement which was 46 states at $206 billion and the separate R.J Reynolds settlement at $23 billion with Florida.

And the favorite place for big patent suits is the Eastern District of Texas were judges and juries seem to lean towards infringement plaintiffs.

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  • Thanks George. Is there anywhere I can find data/statistics on corporate cases, in addition to these largest ones?
    – J Li
    Feb 10, 2021 at 21:40
  • I did very minimal googling to get this data, sorry I have not googled for more comprehensive data. You might make this a new question. Feb 10, 2021 at 23:05
  • I can do that but I worry the two questions will be too similar. I can also edit the current question?
    – J Li
    Feb 10, 2021 at 23:30
  • Once a question has answers it is very bad form to change the question so the answers are not good answers to the question any longer. You asked about big money cases and got answers to that. You can select one as your approved answer if you like and then ask a new question. Feb 10, 2021 at 23:40
  • Makes sense! thanks Geroge.
    – J Li
    Feb 10, 2021 at 23:41

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