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March 28, 2019

30 Groups from Across the Business Spectrum Sign Letter Calling for Litigation Funding Transparency

Yesterday, a coalition of 30 business and legal organizations, led by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), wrote a letter to the Advisory Committee—which writes rules for federal courts—countering funders’ arguments against transparency. This is the latest in a string of calls for the Committee to adopt a disclosure rule of the presence of litigation finance in civil litigation.

In the letter, the coalition countered 10 myths promoted by the litigation funding industry, including that a transparency rule is premature, that funding is too amorphous to define for such a rule, and that funding is not relevant enough to litigation for discovery rules to cover. The letter follows up on an earlier coalition petition to the Committee in 2017.

The coalition letter comes on the heels of a letter Tuesday from ILR Chair Brackett Denniston, urging the Committee to require transparency, and also pushing back on funders’ recent claims. In addressing funders’ persistent claim that businesses use litigation funding, he stated, “whether companies use funding or not has no relevance to whether these arrangements should be as secret as a Grand Cayman bank account.”

In January, Denniston and a group of 29 other general counsel and senior litigators wrote to the Advisory Committee stating about supposed wide use of funding by businesses, asserting: “no evidence has been proffered to support that assertion,” and “nor is it consistent with our experience.”

The Advisory Committee on Civil Rules could take up the litigation funding transparency issue when it convenes next week.

 

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