New Fundings

New cases being backed by litigation funders.

Bench Walk Advisors has been revealed as the firm providing UK legal and professional services group, Gateley with a £50 million funding facility. The agreement will see Gateley become one of only two listed law firms with access to a funding facility. Richard Healey, partner and head of Gateley’s dispute resolution group, noted that Bench Walk was chosen after a careful exercise in which a number of funders were assessed based on set criteria.
IVO Capital is backing a €6 billion claim against Chinese social media platform TikTok filed by Stichting Massaschade & Consument, a Dutch non-profit organization that defends the rights of consumers in cases of mass damage. The claim is on behalf of 4.5 million Dutch users whose sensitive data was allegedly illegally harvested and auctioned off. With the lawsuit, the foundation wants to encourage TikTok to respect European privacy laws and provide clarity on the logic behind its algorithm.
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.
ICP Funding Pty Ltd, an authorised representative of CASL, is supporting a class action against Insurance Australia Limited, trading as ‘CGU Insurance’ (CGU), on behalf of business owners with CGU business interruption insurance who have suffered losses to their business losses arising from the the COVID-19 pandemic. The class action will be run by Slater & Gordon Lawyers.
Asset recovery funder Drumcliffe LLC has increased its stake in a potential $3 billion NAFTA arbitration claim against Mexico by purchasing shares in Odyssey Marine Exploration (NASDAQ:OMEX). The claim relates to Mexico’s denial of an off-shore dredging license previously granted to an Odyssey subsidiary for one of the largest untapped phosphate deposits in the world. Drumcliffe has been providing financing to Odyssey to support its arbitration efforts since 2019. “In our view, Odyssey’s recently published Reply to Mexico’s Counter-Memorial in the NAFTA arbitration only reinforces the merits of Odyssey’s claim and the restitution they deserve,” said James C. Little, Drumcliffe’s CEO.
Augusta Ventures has had its litigation funding agreement approved by an Ontario court for a proposed class action in Canada against Uber. The plaintiffs allege that Uber breached its employment contracts with drivers and delivery people and contravened Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. They also plead that Uber is liable for unjust enrichment and negligence. The putative class may be as large as 366,359 persons who have provided at least one ride or delivery using the Uber App. Augusta is paying the disbursements incurred by class counsel, providing security for costs, and will pay any adverse costs order. It will receive 8-10% of the proceeds awarded, plus reimbursement for all payments advanced and a funder administration fee. The motion for certification of the class action has been argued and is currently under reserve.
Omni Bridgeway is funding, through a managed investment scheme, an appeal made for the benefit of certain investors of two judgments made in the liquidation proceedings of Halifax Investment Services, a Sydney-based financial services business that collapsed in 2018. Omni Bridgeway will be entitled to 10% of any funds that investors will become entitled to if the appeal is successful.
Liti Capital is backing a claim against cryptocurrency exchange Binance on behalf of traders who lost money when their accounts were frozen on May 19, 2021, a critical day when crypto prices were crashing. At least 700 Binance users were effectively unable to trade on the platform for multiple hours, resulting in estimated losses of more than US $100 million. To date, traders have tried to contact Binance for support and compensation but have been unsuccessful. Under the platform's terms of service, disputes must be filed with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. White & Case LLP has been engaged to represent affected individuals.
AxiaFunder has joined in backing a group litigation claim valued at over £180 million against two retail banks for misrepresentations concerning fixed rate small business loans. The claim has been underway since May 2019, with over £12 million of financing committed by another litigation funder to cover the costs of the actual litigation. AxiaFunder's capital will be used to source additional claimants for the case and also to cover some of the overheads of the claims management team. The return for investors is estimated to be between 1.85x and 2.51x capital.
Burford Capital is backing a claim by Union Investment, Germany's third largest asset manager, in the Wirecard insolvency proceedings. Union, a Wirecard shareholder, is seeking to have its equity claim elevated to the same level as other creditor claims so that it can participate in a distribution of recoveries.
Vannin Capital is backing a class action filed by Phi Finney McDonald against Australian pharmaceutical company Mayne Pharma Group. The proceeding was filed on behalf of current and former shareholders and alleges that Mayne breached its continuous disclosure obligations by, among other things, failing to inform investors about an alleged price-fixing and market-share arrangement in the US. Vannin will take, subject to court approval, a 25% funding commission from a successful outcome.

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