Imagine the following scenario: your company enters into a lucrative contract with a foreign manufacturer to distribute and sell their “widgets” throughout the United States. Things are going very well, profits are skyrocketing and the company is set to go public when suddenly a design flaw in the widget is exposed by young children and household pets, resulting in fires and catastrophic injuries. At this point, the fly-by-night manufacturer disappears, and your company is sued all over the country in jurisdictions that hold sellers liable for product defects when the manufacturer is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction or is insolvent. Your company is now the only target defendant, shallow pockets notwithstanding. Looking wistfully back at the days when the company had so much promise and opportunity, you think: is there anything we could have done differently?
We live in an increasingly global economy where products are designed, manufactured and distributed all over the world. As the hypothetical above rather simply demonstrates, entrepreneurial opportunities abound, but companies in the United States who wish to do business with foreign manufacturers have to consider unique precautions. At least two different common scenarios come to mind when considering the relationship between foreign and U.S. based companies involved in the manufacturing industry.
Read the full article – Don’t be the one left holding the bag – Considerations for contracting with foreign manufacturers – which is on pages 2 through 10 in The ALFA International Advantage: Increasing International Acumen.
Robert F. Chapski is a shareholder in the Nashville office of Lewis Thomason, P.C. and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors as well as chair of the firm’s Product Liability Practice Group. Mr. Chapski regularly represents businesses and individuals and is experienced in a variety of litigation-related practice fields including product liability, tort, commercial/business litigation and employment law. He represents various national clients in complex, high-exposure federal and state court matters. He has served as both lead trial counsel and appellate counsel. His jury trial experience includes product liability matters as well as other tort and business litigation matters. Mr. Chapski frequently speaks on topics related to business and product liability litigation and, in addition to various bar memberships, he is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Product Liability Advisory Council. Mr. Chapski has been honored by Best Lawyers, Mid-South Super Lawyers and has an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Tennessee College of Law, graduating first in his class at both institutions.