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Comment: Re:Exploitation for the win! (Score 1) 384

by Wellspring (#33549940) Attached to: Foxconn's Founder Opens Up About Making iPhones

Don't be silly, the legal regime in America has become a major issue for corporations. Mostly, it figures in the decision about where in the USA to locate, but it's absolutely an issue in overseas expansions. Take the new US banking disclosure regulations that demand that they change their operations even outside the US if they're to operate at all in the US. In response, many foreign banks are just closing down their US operations: the cost of implementing the changes isn't worth the revenue they get from American customers.

One of the biggest problems in US law is its sheer capriciousness. You can be sued for things that other companies did (it's called strict liability). There's any number of overlapping and sometimes contradictory regulations whose enforcement is totally up to the whims of the regulators in place at the time (and if a new party takes power, they can retroactively go after you for something that the previous regulators had allowed). The laws are constantly changing, so you can't plan your business.

With contingency fees, your customers can sue you for free, as you endure millions in legal bills. Punitive damages can go as high as a jury cares to pump it. Plaintiffs can go "jurisdiction shopping" to sue you in the area with the most favorable laws and to cherry pick the most plaintiff-friendly judge. Meanwhile, your executives spend weeks and months producing documents and affidavits, or cooling their heels in the courtroom instead of doing their jobs. It's often easier to settle, and how many times can you afford that?

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin