Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts

THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 3, 1999 | Go to article overview

Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts


For all but the largest of law firms, ownership of every leading treatise dealing with federal procedure and with the substantive law governing matters typically litigated in federal court would be prohibitively expensive. Perhaps in recognition of this fact, West Group and the American Bar Association have joined forces to publish a self-contained library encompassing the procedural and substantive law applicable to virtually every species of commercial litigation commonly found in federal court.

Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (West Group and ABA, 1998) consists of six hardbound volumes (text and forms) and two disks (forms only). Half of the text is devoted to 52 chapters dealing with federal procedural matters ranging from jurisdiction to pleading, third-party practice, discovery, motion practice, evidence, trials and appeals. The other half of the text in this six-volume set is a high-quality survey of substantive law -- 26 topics including antitrust, securities, energy, insurance, patents, labor law, RICO, competitive torts and ERISA. The authors are leading lawyers in their fields -- which is exemplified by the fact that our own Gary W. Davis, Harry A. Woods, Jr. and Jimmy K. Goodman are the authors of the chapter on energy law.

The chapter on energy law provides a prime example of the quality of the coverage to be found in the substantive law chapters. The 69- page chapter on energy law is assuredly no threat to the monumental treatises by Kuntz or Williams and Meyers. However, as a tool for getting oriented in the substantive law and for finding citations to more in-depth resources, this work by Davis, Woods and Goodman represents a superb survey of the oil and gas law governing the cases typically litigated in federal court. Although my good friends at Crowe rarely, if ever, stray to the plaintiff's side of royalty owner and pollution litigation, their treatment of these subjects is very fair. (I would speculate that Gary Davis probably enjoyed writing a specimen complaint for an oil field pollution case.) The key to the energy law section of this treatise is its combination of excellent scholarship and practical advice. This typifies the approach taken in the other chapters. For example, within just a few pages, the chapter on antitrust law segues from a discussion of the niceties of the Illinois Brick indirect purchaser rule to a nuts and bolts checklist of sources of proof and essential allegations for use in antitrust litigation.

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