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Author: Peter Vodola

Wall Street Journal Says Court Rules Are Starting to Bring Litigation Funders Out from Under a ‘Veil of Secrecy’

Wall Street Journal Says Court Rules Are Starting to Bring Litigation Funders Out from Under a ‘Veil of Secrecy’

“Investors placing bets on commercial lawsuits have long operated under a veil of secrecy.  But as litigation funding in the U.S. has spread to more courthouses and transformed into a billion-dollar business, plaintiffs and their faceless financiers are confronting calls for more transparency.” So begins a news article, “Lawsuit Funding, Long Hidden In The Shadows, Faces Calls For More Sunlight“, that the Wall Street Journal published last week. The article points out that “the arm of the federal judiciary that…

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Alabama Court Rejects Settlement Factoring Deal, Awards Attorneys’ Fees to Insurers

Alabama Court Rejects Settlement Factoring Deal, Awards Attorneys’ Fees to Insurers

An Alabama court this month rejected a factoring company’s attempt to obtain judicial approval of a transfer of structured settlement payment rights – in a deal that would have traded more than $800,000 in settlement payments for an immediate payment of $4,000 – and awarded attorneys’ fees to the insurers that pointed out to the court how the factoring company failed to comply with applicable law. In CBC Settlement Funding, LLC v. Scott, Case No. CV-2017-092576.00, 2018 Ala. Cir. LEXIS…

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Report: Litigation Funding Company Contends NFL Concussion Settlement’s Assignment Ban Is Unclear

Report: Litigation Funding Company Contends NFL Concussion Settlement’s Assignment Ban Is Unclear

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…

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Federal Appeals Court Affirms Restitution Order for STOLI Investors

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Restitution Order for STOLI Investors

A victim of a crime “may not be denied restitution simply because the victim had greedy or dishonest motives, so long as the victim’s intentions were not in pari materia with” the criminal defendant who had been convicted of crimes relating to a stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) scheme. That’s the way this JD Supra writer put it, describing a decision last month from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm an order of restitution in U.S. v. Quatrella, 17-1786-cr,…

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‘Bait-and-Switch’ Claim Over $1 Million Hole-In-One Contest Fails When Court Says Assignment of Claim Was Champerty

‘Bait-and-Switch’ Claim Over $1 Million Hole-In-One Contest Fails When Court Says Assignment of Claim Was Champerty

So, four friends playing golf in Las Vegas get to the seventh hole, where a resort employee tells them that, “for a $20 fee, a golfer could enter the ‘million-dollar hole-in-one challenge’ in which a golfer who hits a ball from the tee to the cup in one swing ‘would get . . . a million-dollar prize.” One friend, Aretakis, pays the $20 entry fee for all four in the four-some.  Another friend, Neary, offered to reimburse the first for…

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Michigan Courts Join Those From Other States In Awarding Attorneys’ Fees Based on Failure of Factoring Company to Comply with Structured Settlement Protection Act

Michigan Courts Join Those From Other States In Awarding Attorneys’ Fees Based on Failure of Factoring Company to Comply with Structured Settlement Protection Act

The opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals in J.G. Wentworth S.S.C. v. Morris, No. 333413, 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 347 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2018) (here), is the latest judicial opinion where courts had to consider a request for attorneys’ fees under a state structured settlement protection act. In Morris, the Michigan appellate court affirmed the state trial court’s decision to award such fees to the annuity issuer and the structured settlement obligor.  The appeals court said that…

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Michigan Appeals Court Affirms Attorneys’ Fees Award in Structured Settlement Protection Act Dispute, Where Factoring Company Did Not Comply with Statute

Michigan Appeals Court Affirms Attorneys’ Fees Award in Structured Settlement Protection Act Dispute, Where Factoring Company Did Not Comply with Statute

The Michigan Court of Appeals last week affirmed an award of attorneys’ fees to insurers based on a factoring company’s failure to comply with the state’s structured settlement protection act. J.G. Wentworth S.S.C. v. Morris, No. 333413, 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 347 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2018), involved a dispute over a single structured settlement payment due to be paid in 2015 to payee Anthony Morris.  Between 1998 and 2007, Morris entered into a series of transactions whereby he…

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Virginia Lawyers Weekly Reports on Class Action Complaint Challenging Settlement Factoring Deals

Virginia Lawyers Weekly Reports on Class Action Complaint Challenging Settlement Factoring Deals

On the same day that largest Virginia-based newspaper reported on a putative class action alleging a scheme to defraud structured settlement Virginia Lawyers Weekly on February 2nd reported on the putative class-action complaint filed last year alleging that a Virginia legislator and some Virginia judges were complicit in a scheme with factoring companies aimed at deprive structured settlement payees of their rights. The article, Delegate sued over structured settlement sales, is available here (subscription required). The article reports that the complaint…

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Lottery Winner Wants to Keep Identity Out of the Public Eye

Lottery Winner Wants to Keep Identity Out of the Public Eye

A lottery winner in New Hampshire is fighting in court to keep her identity secret while still hoping to claim the half-billion dollar prize. News stories around the country have reported on the lawsuit over the identity of “Jane Doe”, who is litigating with New Hampshire lottery officials over whether state law allows her to claim her prize while keeping her name out of the public eye. One such story, “All she has to do to collect a $560 million lotto…

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Court: Litigation Funder Cannot Re-Litigate Enforceability of Agreements

Court: Litigation Funder Cannot Re-Litigate Enforceability of Agreements

Because a litigation funding company lost on the issue of enforceability of its agreements in a previous legal action against an individual, the company is precluded from re-litigating the issue in a later lawsuit where the company attempted to enforce the same agreements against the individual’s attorney, That was the ruling in Prospect Funding Holdings, LLC v. Breen, Civ. No. 2:17-cv-3328-KM-MAH, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19373 (D.N.J. Feb. 5, 2018),Plaintiff Prospect Funding Holdings, LLC (“Prospect”).  The “agreements have already been…

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