London judges reverse course to reopen $7 bln Brazil dam lawsuit against BHP

London’s Court of Appeal made a U-turn last week by agreeing to reopen a $7 billion lawsuit against Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP, reviving a case over a dam rupture behind Brazil’s worst environmental disaster. PGMBM, who is bringing the claim with the backing of third party funding on behalf of 200,000 claimants, revived the case in April by applying for an oral Court of Appeal hearing – reserved only for exceptional cases – and arguing that the appeal judge had not properly grappled with arguments about why the case should proceed. More from Reuters.

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New Fundings

PGMBM and SPS Capital invest additional capital into BHP case

PGMBM and SPS Capital, a prominent Brazilian special situations fund with expertise in DIP financing and litigation funding, concluded a follow-on investment to partially further finance the case Municipality of Mariana & Ors v BHP plc & BHP Ltd. The claim against BHP was filed on behalf of the victims of the Fundão dam collapse that took place in November 2015 in Mariana, Brazil. The dam was owned by BHP’s Samarco joint venture and its collapse affected more than 200,000 people. In a landmark ruling, the English courts revived the claim that had been struck out last year, granting permission to appeal under exceptional appeals legislation.

In the News

Chinese banks escape $150 mln sanctions at 2nd Circ. in Nike counterfeiting case

Six Chinese banks weren’t liable for a potential $150 million in sanctions for failing to freeze the assets of hundreds of Nike counterfeiters, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week. Next Investments LLC, a Houston-based unit of litigation finance firm Tenor Capital Management LP, bought the rights to the $1.8 billion default award from Nike but failed to seek enforcement of the freeze against the banks for nearly six years before asking the court to hold them in contempt, U.S. Circuit Judge Michael Park wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

In the News

In focus: Class action lawsuits go mainstream

Class actions lawsuits are going mainstream, aided by litigation funding that has shrugged off its champertous past and is flying the flag for social justice. As more mega-claims hit London courts, however, the practicalities of how group litigation is managed and paid for needs to keep up with changing attitudes – or risk undermining the model’s new-found reputation.

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