In the News

Funders in mainstream media reports.

Sydney, Australia-based resource exploration and mining company Cassius Mining has reported that it has elected to refer its dispute with the Government of Ghana to the London Court of International Arbitration institution and is continuing to discuss and negotiate with litigation funders for the potential backing of the case. 
Sanford Rubenstein of Rubenstein & Rynecki is arguing that New York's lawsuit lending industry is out of control. He notes that there is ample evidence of the damage caused by the lack of lawsuit lending regulation and urges for state regulation to be enacted to end these alleged abuses and stop the over-the-top and highly damaging rates these lawsuit lending companies charge.
The Chief Justice of Ireland, Donal O'Donnell has identified reform of third party litigation funding as a possible means through which access to justice can be improved. At present the only types of third party funding allowed in Ireland are where the funder has a legitimate interest in the proceedings, such as a shareholder in a company involved, or is an insurer who provides cover to plaintiffs to protect them if their litigation is unsuccessful. The affordability of litigation in Ireland has long been considered a major barrier to accessing the courts.
The chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Delaware issued an order last week requiring parties to disclose whether a litigation funder has an interest in any cases brought before him. While the order is not unique — several other federal courts have adopted similar rules — it was made in an extremely influential district. More than half of publicly traded US corporations are incorporated in Delaware and its laws often govern contracts between businesses.
Australian passengers who booked on Scenic Tour's ill-fated 2013 European river cruises have been awarded up to $20,635 each in damages, according to court documents published last week. The class action against Scenic involves approximately 1,200 claimants and the Court’s judgment may see Scenic facing a damages bill of up to $28 million including interest. Somerville Legal, alongside litigation funder Omni Bridgeway, is currently investigating the commencement of a further class action against Scenic as a result of similarly disrupted cruises that took place in 2018. 
Sears Holdings' Chapter 11 bankruptcy case may actually be headed to a conclusion after 3 ½ years. On April 6, Judge Drain appointed three mediators to help settle the litigation brought by Sears Holdings against Eddie Lampert, ESL, and others. If there is no settlement via mediation, it looks like Sears Holdings may get outside funding to continue its litigation. There has been no funding motion filed yet, but a review of Akin Gump's recent fee dockets indicates that potential funding avenues are being explored.
Tory backbencher Kevin Hollinrake has called on the government to close the “loopholes” that have allowed UK professional services firms to continue carrying out bankruptcy proceedings on behalf of the Russian state. The Conservative party MP accused accountancy giant Grant Thornton, litigation funder Harbour, and London law firm CMS of undermining the UK’s efforts to “restrict the Kremlin’s access to funds,” by carrying out bankruptcy proceedings against Russian oligarch Alexey Motylev. A spokesperson for Harbour noted that the litigation funder had not been involved in the case since June 2021.
Pathfinder Minerals Plc, a London-based natural resources company, is continuing to explore potential routes to monetise the company's claim against the Government of Mozambique over a disputed mining concession. In addition to conventional litigation funding arrangements, the company is also exploring a full acquisition of the claim via a sale of the company's wholly owned subsidiary that is bringing the claim.
Brown Rudnick has released the agenda for its first annual European Litigation Funding Conference taking place on 17 May 2022 in London. The one-day conference has drawn big names from the international litigation funding market who will discuss topics such as opportunities and innovation in deal structuring, the rise of class actions and opportunities in Europe.
Burford Capital’s $72 million annual loss—the first in its history—shows the risk litigation funders face in growing their caseloads while the Covid-19 pandemic slowed court dockets, delaying payoffs for investors. Burford last year invested $447 million in cases, about twice the $225 million it deployed in 2020, the company said in its annual report. But with fewer cases being decided through trials and settlements, payoffs from those investments—and others made in prior years—weren’t realised. “Burford turned in an excellent 2021,” the company’s chairman, Hugh Steven Wilson, said in a March 29 statement disclosing results. “This may seem odd to say as we report the first loss in our history, but that is a matter of timing.”
Toyota could end up paying more than $2 billion to customers as part of an Australian class action that challenged the auto giant over faulty diesel particulate filters in some of its top-selling cars. In a Federal Court judgement handed down last week, Justice Michael Lee found Toyota customers purchased vehicles with defects and as a result, the value of their cars was reduced by 17.5 per cent on the average retail price, or more than $7,000 per car. Balance Legal Capital is funding the claim.

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