Out of Prison and Broke, Wrongly Convicted Sell Their Cases

The proliferation of litigation funding in the U.S. has extended to civil rights claims brought by the wrongly convicted. Some funders are willing to provide exonerees as much as $1 million in upfront cash. Recently, Chicago-based exoneree Charles Johnson received $226,000 from Illinois after serving 22 years for a crime he didn’t commit. With funding from Validity Capital (at their cost of capital) and represented by his lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, he was able to successfully sue the City of Chicago and its police department in 2018.

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Future of Patent Licensing Deals on the Line at Federal Circuit

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC is set to rule on whether a patent owner who gives the ability to sublicense a patent can still sue another for infringement in a case that could have implications for other litigation funding transactions, after judges in Delaware and the Northern District of California ruled that Uniloc – which defaulted on a Fortress loan it used to pay for lawsuits against Motorola, Apple and Google, triggering a provision in the deal that ceded its patent sublicensing rights to Fortress – no longer had exclusionary rights to the patents and thus didn’t have legal standing to sue.

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Litigation Fund Fight Shows Trap Lurking in Win-Win Deals

Woodsford Group is trying to collect a $1.8 million arbitration award against Hosie Rice, a San Francisco law firm, which claims that Woodsford is going after fees that were never part of the deal, even though a panel of three arbitrators found the contract gave Woodsford the right to collect from the case.

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ABA Sides Against Opening Law Firms Up to New Competition

The American Bar Association is pouring cold water on efforts to loosen restrictions on who can own law firms. Last week, the group’s House of Delegates passed a non-binding resolution discouraging changes to state rules barring the sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers. But it also encouraged state bar groups to explore innovations designed to increase access to justice by making legal services more affordable.

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