Supply Chain Dispute Resolution in the US

July 17, 2015

Practical Law logo newA Practice Note authored by Sarah K. Rathke, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, with Practical Law Litigation, describing how to avoid legal disputes among supply chain participants and how to manage supply chain legal disputes that arise.

Disputes among supply chain participants often arise because of poor contract management at the outset of supplier-buyer relationships. Supply chain participants often make the mistake of allowing purchasing or contracting personnel to draft supply chain contracts in isolation, without input from the operating units within the organization that perform the contract, primarily, engineering and finance, which then must live with the financial results. This Note gives an overview of contracting practices that supply chain participants can employ prospectively to minimize or eliminate supply chain legal disputes. It also discusses how best to defend and pursue supply chain disputes that become intractable.

Once disputes among supply chain participants arise, they can be difficult and expensive to manage. Supply chain disputes often:

  • Concern relationships that have been in place for years.
  • Affect and involve multiple business functions, including:
    • engineering;
    • contracting;
    • quality assurance;
    • finance;
    • business development; and
    • executive management.

This Note provides practical tips for managing litigation with supply chain participants. It discusses how to:

  • Avoid supply chain disputes by:
    • taking into account all relevant perspectives when drafting contracts;
    • customizing important supply chain contracts; and
    • adhering to the contracts.
  • Develop strategies for managing supply chain disputes during the following stages of litigation or arbitration:
    • the initial pleadings stage;
    • discovery (document production);
    • discovery (depositions);
    • expert witness retention and other expert issues;
    • summary judgment;
    • trial; and
    • doing business in the midst of a supply chain legal dispute.

Learn more from the experts at Practical Law.