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Author: Peter Vodola

Wisconsin Enacts First-In-Nation Law Requiring Disclosure of Litigation Funding Agreements

Wisconsin Enacts First-In-Nation Law Requiring Disclosure of Litigation Funding Agreements

Civil litigants  in Wisconsin state court will have to disclose any litigation funding agreements under a bill signed into law by that state’s Governor Scott Walker earlier this month. It’s the first state law of its kind, according to published reports. The law revises the state’s requirements for discovery in civil litigation. A National Law Journal article about the new law is available (behind subscription wall) here and a press release from U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform is…

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NFL Concussion Settlement: Judge Orders Attorneys Seeking Fees To Disclose Information About Litigation Funding Company Agreements

NFL Concussion Settlement: Judge Orders Attorneys Seeking Fees To Disclose Information About Litigation Funding Company Agreements

U.S. District Court Judge Anita B. Brody – who oversees the settlement of the National Football League players’ concussion injury settlement – wants information from attorneys who are seeking to collect attorneys’ fees for representing ex-player clients. Among the facts that she wants from those attorneys is whether they, or their law firms, have entered into litigation funding agreements. Judge Brody in December declared such agreements invalid.  See “Judge Overseeing Concussion Settlement Invalidates Litigation Funding Agreements With NFL Players“. One…

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Litigants May Waive Privilege By Sharing Protected Information with Funding Companies, Says Author of Article

Litigants May Waive Privilege By Sharing Protected Information with Funding Companies, Says Author of Article

What happens if a potential claimant shares privileged information with a litigation funding company, before the claimant signs any agreement with the company? Typically, the claimant waives the privilege. But there may be no waiver if the parties first sign a litigation funding agreement – the key word being “may”. Those are some of the points from an article, “Sharing Protected Information With Potential Litigation Funders“, in the Spring 2018 issue of Today’s General Counsel magazine.  (A link to the…

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Illinois Court: No Full Faith and Credit for Default Judgment, and Litigation Funding Agreement Was Unenforceable on Champerty Grounds

Illinois Court: No Full Faith and Credit for Default Judgment, and Litigation Funding Agreement Was Unenforceable on Champerty Grounds

An Illinois court need not give full faith and credit to a Minnesota default judgment, and need not give effect to parts of a litigation funding agreement that was unenforceable, on champerty grounds, based on controlling Minnesota law. That was the ruling of an Illinois appellate court, in Prospect Funding Holdings v. Saulter, No. 1-17-1277, 2018 Ill. App. LEXIS 126 (Ill. App. Ct. Mar. 13, 2018), which involved claims by a litigation funding company against an attorney for a wrongful…

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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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