While litigation is likely not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a corporate in-house legal role, it's incredibly common. Depending on the industry, size, and market your company operates within, you may frequently see demand letters and other legal requests come across your desk. So what do you do?
Let's start with what a demand letter is. Simply put, demand letter is a letter sent by a potential claimant or plaintiff demanding either some form of compensation or action. Effectively, the precursor to a lawsuit.
Demand's come in all shapes and sizes. Some provide incredibly detailed information about the purported claim or action (with included exhibits and supporting documentation). Others are much more bare bone. Regardless, the first move should be to evaluate the information provided.
Whether you think the claim is credible or not, if there is a policy of insurance that could provide coverage, it is probably wise to at least consider sending the demand to the appropriate carrier.
If insurance coverage is not potentially available, the next step would be to determine whether to retain outside counsel or handle the matter internally. In either scenario, next steps would be to contact the relevant business units and employees involved with the subject matter of the demand. While engaging in this fact finding activity, you should likely compile any documents that relates to the demand and set out a litigation hold to all relevant parties.
Once a clear pictures has been formed regarding the subject matter of the demand (or within the time limit is specified), a response should likely be sent.