press release -
International Housewares Association

Contact: Deborah A.Teschke
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Email Debbie Teschke

IHA Launches Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative; Focus on
Minimizing Litigation

ROSEMONT, IL (July 25, 2011)--With U.S. civil litigation costs escalating to $200 billion to $300 billion annually, the International Housewares Association (IHA) has launched an initiative to help members save time and money by exploring Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) instead of litigation in a courtroom setting. ADR methods include mediation and arbitration.

IHA is undertaking this initiative in alliance with the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR). CPR has gathered support for ADR from Fortune 500 companies across the spectrum of business.

IHA and its Board of Directors are asking housewares industry suppliers to sign a policy statement on the preference to resolve legal matters using ADR methods. The non-binding pledge asserts a company’s support of the housewares industry in taking a stand against the escalating cost of litigation, including the costs associated with defending a company against legal claims of all types.

As of mid-July more than 30 companies had signed the pledge via word of mouth in advance of a formal announcement.

“Litigation costs impact all businesses and seem to be a function of just being ‘in business,’ ” says Phil Brandl, IHA president. “If both parties in a dispute can agree to resolve their issues through less expensive and more effective, methods everyone will benefit, even consumers. Consumers will benefit because it would lower the costs of doing business for our members and business owners will be able to focus on their business and spend less time worrying about litigation.”

“ADR is a long-standing method for obtaining satisfaction in cases without the need for litigation by using mediation or arbitration,” according to Dale Matschullat, Of Counsel to Schiff Hardin LLP, former General Counsel of Newell Rubbermaid Inc., chairman of IHA’s Government Affairs Committee and counsel
to IHA on the ADR initiative. “Many ADR methods are focused on allowing decision making to remain in the hands of the business parties involved and not the courts.”

“This is a way to avoid costly litigation that will benefit both parties,” says Bruce Kaminstein, CEO of Casabella Holdings LLC and chairman of IHA’s Board of Directors. “Litigation seems to always run out of control and takes on needless costs. ADR is a way to contain these costs while attending to the issue at hand.”

Thomas Nichols, CEO, Pretika Corporation, who has signed the pledge, agrees.

“ADR is an effective approach to avoiding legal costs across a broad array of dispute types,” Nichols says. “With increasing economic and competitive challenges facing IHA members today, the ability to reduce litigation costs through ADR is a strategic advantage – resulting in top line and bottom line cost savings, spending less time involved in legal issues and more time on increasing market share.”

“Litigation is expensive, time consuming and very frustrating…plus there will always be time to go to litigation,” adds Robert Trudeau, chairman, Trudeau Corporation. “Most of the time, most of us rely on our legal advisors.  However, prior to this, there is a smart and mature alternative that could save a lot of grief, and that is ADR. It may not be a perfect alternative, but I signed IHA’s ADR Pledge Form to state affirmatively that my company will explore other means of resolving conflicts than by starting off with litigation.”

Another housewares executive, Bill McHenry, president & CEO of Widgeteer Inc., signed the pledge because “it just seems that litigation begets litigation and it costs all of us dearly.”

“As a member of the IHA, I was happy to participate in signing the ADR Pledge Form to help bring industry awareness to more sensible alternatives to suing someone in court,” McHenry said. “We should all avoid what has become a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ by exploring more cost-effective, workable solutions like mediation.”

To download and sign the pledge, please go to  Return the completed form to Dean Kurtis at IHA at or fax the document back to

The International Housewares Association is the 73-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$288.4 billion at retail worldwide in 2009. The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world's premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at and group buying discounts on business solutions services.