• Funding Litigation and Treatment: Leveling the Playing Field or Exploiting the Little Guy?
  • August 17, 2016 | Author: Kari L. Sutherland
  • Law Firm: Butler Snow LLP - Oxford Office
  • Is litigation funding a creative way to help “the little guy” or the resurrection of a practice that even the Athenians deemed impolitic?1 In an environment where many posit that access to the courts can be at least somewhat dependent on a person’s financial viability, does outside financing of litigation level the playing field between the Davids and the Goliaths? Some say yes; some say no. And each side says so vehemently. Those in favor argue that an infusion of funds helps the smaller players pursue more complex, long-term, high-stakes lawsuits. Those opposed maintain that the practice proliferates unmeritorious claims and that reasonable settlements for valid suits would occur more quickly if the stakes were not escalated by monied meddlers with no “skin in the game” other than the bottom dollar (or “first dollars”). Adding to concerns is the fact that there is very little - read: no - regulation over this type of investing. And there is disagreement over whether plaintiffs should have to disclose that they have “investors,” who those investors are, what has been told to the investors about the claim, and the amount and contingencies of the investment. While much remains unclear about how this practice will evolve, everyone seems to agree that it will continue to grow.