November 23, 2021

Billionaire Barry Diller took the stand last week to defend his media empire from a lawsuit claiming that it cheated the founders of Tinder out of $2 billion. His attorneys have used millions of dollars in litigation funding payments to key witnesses to cast doubt on former CEO Sean Rad's case. Rad’s camp has argued that the payments are irrelevant to the suit, and the judge presiding over the trial found that the payments were not illegal, saying that it ”approaches the line between legitimate litigation funding and illegitimate payment of witnesses, [but] it does not cross it.” Bench Walk Advisors is the funder backing Rad in the Tinder case.
The demise of two big-hitting personal injury firms (Hampson Hughes and Pure Legal) is a sign that the once buoyant claims sector is in a period of flux, with experts pointing to this year’s whiplash reforms as the catalyst for change. Lenders have also had enough and want to see evidence that mountains of claims will actually result in settlements and profits. Pure Legal’s administration was preceded by legal finance provider Novitas petitioning the court for bankruptcy.
Jeremy Marshall of Omni Bridgeway argues that the landmark Lloyd v Google decision does not necessarily mean that there will no longer be data breach claims in England but stresses that these cases should only be funded on behalf of claimants who have genuinely suffered losses that are amenable to being compensated by the law, something that wasn't completely apparent in this case.
Spencer Fane has hired two Porter Hedges intellectual property lawyers in Austin and Houston, led by partner Erick Robinson, who said the Am Law 200 firm is a good fit for his plaintiff’s patent practice, which often uses litigation funders. Describing himself as a “square peg in a round hole” at Porter Hedges, Robinson said his trial practice is “sort of a niche within a niche within a niche” due to the litigation funding and the related need to thoroughly conduct due diligence before taking on a patent client.

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