With the downturn of trial activity continuing, a snowball issue may be required to cause a flurry of activity within the courtrooms of America (as it should be). I thought the oil spill litigation may be that occurrence, but it is regionalized and contained to a finite number of defendants. Now, I suggest that the ever burgeoning internet frontier may provide that spark. Today, an article on DRI Today noted that Google has been sued by 50 different companies in the past few years on the theory of patent infringement alone. A daily read of the headlines always provides a story about litigation involving Facebook, YouTube, eBay or Google. Traditional plaintiff’s attorneys will swiftly morph into commercial litigators if their personal injury clients are not sufficiently paying the bills. While privacy rights have become heavily regulated, the courts will need years to react to the communities developing online. I consider myself somewhat online sophisticated, but after attending the DRI webcast last week on social networking, I realized I had no idea of the true vastness of erupting legal playgrounds.
The big guns named above are the current targets of internet litigation. Our corporate clients are next. Our law firms are also vulnerable. When there is a void in the law or a new application, lawsuits will test and shape modern legal theories. I look forward to packed dockets, rushing attorneys, filled hallways and stressed judges. Am I wishful thinking?