The Litigation Machine

Smoking-gun documents over the Internet. Lawsuit kits. Easy financing. The result: Plaintiffs' lawyers are having a field day. Here's an inside look.

The "Firestone Tire Tread Separation" litigation packet is one legal bestseller you won't find in bookstores. Sold by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), the powerful Washington trade group that serves as the tort bar's central brain trust, the closely guarded 689-page document is distributed only to plaintiffs' attorneys. A step-by-step guide to suing Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Ford Motor Co., the litigation packet starts with a breezy synopsis of the tire debacle. It then proceeds to offer readers everything they need to get a lawsuit started: There are 59 complaints from previously filed tread-separation cases that, with a few changes to reflect local law, can be recycled anywhere in the country. Also included are a list of documents to request from Firestone, a package of useful National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, and a directory of several informative Web sites.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.