By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
Many companies which are headquartered or do the bulk of their business outside the United States can be a little freaked out by the prospect of being at the mercy of an American jury. After all, as a uniquely American notion, the act of resolving disputes by drawing upon the experience and judgment of average citizens without any particular skill or knowledge in the subjects at issue, can be at best unfamiliar, and at worst terrifying. Might this unsophisticated mass be moved by tricks or emotion? Might they simply favor the American individual or company who has the home court advantage? For the company that is relatively inexperienced in American courts, that fear might be understandable. But thankfully, it isn't borne out by the research. Instead, the most recent studies show that foreign companies fare as well, or even better than their domestic adversaries in front of American juries.
Of course the message "don't worry" is never complete advice to someone entering an uncertain situation. Newcomers to Yankee-style civil justice still need to appreciate, adapt, and adjust. But what they don't need to do is reflexively settle, arbitrate, or run to the bench just to avoid a U.S. jury. In this post, I'll take a look at several studies that have looked at this question directly, including a recent attitudinal survey (Leibold et al., 2013) focusing on Japanese companies in particular. I'll also provide a quick list of considerations for l'etranger of any sort seeking to get a fair shake in a U.S. venue.