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Employers to see more complex litigation cases

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Litigation filed this year against employers will be “more complex and specialized than ever,” says a report issued Tuesday by Washington-based law firm Crowell & Moring L.L.P.

In addition, last week Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P. issued its 853-page 12th Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report.

“Corporations will be entrenched in cases inspired by new regulations promulgated by the outgoing Obama administration, more aggressive federal agencies, zealous activist groups and quickly advancing technology,” says the introduction to Crowell & Moring’s report, “Litigation Forecast 2016,” by partner Mark Klapow, who edited the report.

“The cases that will mean the most to the bottom line will likely emerge from small questions that pack big implications for outside the court,” said Mr. Klapow in the report.

“They reflect a plaintiffs’ bar that has become expert in industry, a government that is changing the rules as fast as it can publish them and a marketplace that is demanding the full story on day one,” said Mr. Klapow.

Separately, Crowell & Moring also Tuesday issued its “Regulatory Forecast 2016,” in which partner Scott Winkelman predicts, ”With the Obama administration entering its final year, the effort to issue regulatory measures to push the president’s agenda is not likely to abate.”

In addition, said Mr. Winkelman in the report, “Technology change continues to outpace regulations. Fifteen years after 9/11, security — and cybersecurity — is increasingly being addressed through regulation.”

Seyfarth Shaw’s workplace class action litigation report analyzes rulings from all state and federal courts, including private plaintiff class actions and collective actions and government enforcement actions in the areas of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Starts Act, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, and the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.

Among other developments discussed in the report is that employment-related class action settlements reached an all-time high in 2015, with the top ten settlements in various employment-related categories totaling $2.48 billion over the past year, which was a 32.6% increase over 2014’s $1.87 billion.