New Fundings

New cases being backed by litigation funders.

Court House Capital is backing a new shareholder class action in New Zealand against a2 Milk for allegedly making misleading statements and for breaches of continuous disclosure obligations. This is the third class action against a2 Milk. Two similar class actions were launched against the company in Australia last year. The legal team consists of Philip Skelton, QC, Thorn Law and Gilligan Rowe.
LCM is backing a new representative action in the UK being brought by Mishcon de Reya on behalf of up to 1.6 million individuals against Google and DeepMind Technologies for the unlawful use of patients' confidential medical records. The claim arises out of an arrangement formed in 2015 between Google and DeepMind and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The tech companies obtained and used a substantial number of confidential and private medical records without patients' knowledge or consent.
Burford Capital is backing a claim seeking compensation for millions of electricity customers in Great Britain. Scott+Scott UK LLP is applying to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal for approval to bring a collective action against various European power cable companies who allegedly overcharged electricity network operators for power cables, resulting in higher consumer electricity bills. Daniel Jowell QC of Brick Court Chambers has been appointed as counsel. Richard Druce of NERA Economic Consulting and industry expert Peter Bennell of Sohn Associates have been engaged to provide expert reports. Case Pilots has been appointed as claims administrator.
Counsel for the official committee of unsecured creditors of Sears Holdings is seeking court approval of a US $35 litigation funding facility with Bench Walk Advisors. Sears Holdings, the parent company of the iconic Sears retail brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2018. While under creditor protection, litigation was commenced by a restructuring subcommittee seeking over $2 billion in damages arising from certain pre-filing related party transactions. $25 million was set aside to cover the initial costs of the litigation, but these funds are now near exhaustion. In order to continue in the pursuit of the claims, a competitive process was initiated to secure additional funding. After several rounds of hard-fought and arm’s-length negotiations with Bench Walk and another funder, Bench Walk emerged as the winner.
UK law firm Bindmans LLP, in partnership with the Global Legal Action Network, a UK-based NGO, is pursuing potential claims relating to the alleged misuse of Pegasus spyware in the UK by foreign governments. Funding for the pre-litigation work was sourced through crowdfunding and the Digital Freedom Fund, and Bindmans is now seeking to crowdfund the future costs of the case using CrowdJustice, a community fundraising platform.
Bench Walk Advisors is backing a claim against Dutch energy supplier Vattenfall (formerly Nuon). The claim alleges that the energy supplier systemically charged SMEs and non-profit organisations an unjustified surcharge on its energy bills. The claim seeks a refund of the overcharged costs for approximately 5,000 duped customers, which it estimates to be over €400 million plus interest. The claim is being organised by ClaimShare, an Amsterdam-based professional platform for collective legal advocacy. Dutch law firms Birkway and De Haan Advocaten & Notarissen are leading the case.
London-based Bench Walk Advisors is backing a class action lawsuit to be launched imminently against Visa and Mastercard for allegedly unlawfully overcharging businesses for accepting credit and debit card payments on corporate cards and on consumer cards used by overseas visitors. Harcus Parker, a UK commercial litigation law firm, will bring the claim at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), the UK’s specialist judicial body for hearing competition cases. The CAT is expected to hear the first round of the case in 2022, when it will decide whether the case can be certified to go forward to trial.
London-based Hereford Litigation is backing a new class action claim filed in the Netherlands against Apple for allegedly abusing its monopoly power by making consumers overpay for apps and in-app purchases for more than a decade. The claim is being brought by the Consumer Competition Claims Foundation and is seeking damages of at least €2.7 billion and potentially up to €4.7 billion on behalf of Dutch and European consumers.
Harbour has struck a £2m deal with specialist law firm Morgan Sports Law to offer professional footballers an innovative funding scheme which takes the risk out of pursuing claims before the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, the global football organization's dispute resolution court, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The £2 million credit facility will assist our clients in pursuing legal disputes without any upfront costs, and no fees to be paid if the case is unsuccessful. All legal fees and disbursements will be funded by the facility. 
Fortress is backing potential collective actions against both Apple and Google in the Netherlands over the restrictive conditions imposed by the tech giants that oblige developers to offer apps and in-app purchases exclusively through the app stores and charge an excessive commission. The claims are being brought by App Stores Claims Foundation. Hausfeld is acting for the foundation in bringing the claims.

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