A Law.com report last week says that a litigation funding company – which has entered into purported litigation funding agreements with 42 ex-National Football League players – asserts that the order that prohibits assignment is unclear.
In a March 13, 2018, story on Law.com (NFL Lit Funding Demands Details of Assignment Agreement Ban, available here) reporter Max Mitchell writes that a “Thrivest Specialty Funding filed a letter to U.S. District Judge Anita Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, asking her to schedule a conference regarding her recent decisions barring assignment agreements, and ordering the settlement claims administrator to bypass the agreements by paying the claimants directly.”
Thrivest, according to the report, sent its March 9, 2018 letter asking for the conference “so it can get clarity about the scope of Brody’s orders and whether Thrivest can appeal.”
Judge Brody’s December 8, 2017, order provides that “[u]nder the unambiguous language of the Settlement Agreement, Settlement Class Members are prohibited from assigning or attempting to assign their monetary claims to third parties, and any agreement making such an assignment or attempt to assign is void, invalid and of no force and effect. Additionally, under the Settlement Agreement, the Claims Administrator is prohibited from paying a Class Member’s monetary award to any third party that holds an assignment or an attempted assignment (‘Third-Party Funder’).”
The strongly-worded anti-assignment provision in the N.F.L. settlement, approved via court order, provides as follows:
“Neither the Settlement Class nor any Class or Subclass Representative or Settlement Class Member has assigned, will assign, or will attempt to assign, to any person or entity other than the NFL Parties any rights or claims relating to the subject matter of the Class Action Complaint. Any such assignment, or attempt to assign, to any person or entity other than the NFL Parties any rights or claims relating to the subject matter of the Class Action Complaint will be void, invalid, and of no force and effect and the Claims Administrator shall not recognize any such action.”
The anti-assignment provision, Judge Brody ruled, rendered “void, invalid and of no force and effect” any attempted assignments to litigation funding companies.
Judge Brody also said in her ruling that “[a] Third-Party Funder that failed to perform proper due diligence before deciding to enter such an agreement is prohibited from now reaping the benefit of the contract.”
In January, litigation funding company RD Legal Funding filed an appeal of Judge Brody’s ruling.
For more about Judge Brody’s ruling, see this earlier post (Judge Overseeing Concussion Settlement Invalidates Litigation Funding Agreements With NFL Players) here and this LinkedIn article (A ‘No-Call’ In The NFL Concussion Lawsuit: Violation of an Anti-Assignment Provision Did Not Lead Judge To Reach The Question Of Sanctions) here.
For more about the appeal, see this earlier post (In NFL Concussion Settlement Litigation, Company Appeals Ruling That Enforced Anti-Assignment Provision To Nullify Deals With Ex-Players) here.