Efforts to ban lawsuit funding have failed in several states, most recently in Oklahoma. If passed earlier this year, Oklahoma Senate Bill 1780 would have made it virtually illegal for a company to advance money to a plaintiff, with repayment contingent upon the result of a lawsuit.
Lawsuit funding companies help financially-strapped plaintiffs stand up to for their rights by providing much needed cash until a settlement is reached, yet big businesses and insurance companies have attacked the lawsuit funding industry for years. Why? Because, they want to prevent innocent victims from being financially able to seek full and fair compensation for damages against corporate wrongdoers, no matter how long the litigation process takes.
Opponents of lawsuit funding disguise the real benefits in order to tip the scales of justice in their favor. These are the same corporate interests that rail against the trial lawyers and scream “lawsuit abuse” at the filing of every lawsuit. They don’t care about injured citizens, even injured customers; all they care about is company profit. They don’t want a plaintiff to have a reasonable opportunity to pursue justice.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims litigation financing inappropriately influences cases and prolongs frivolous lawsuits. That is utter nonsense. Why would any company, whose profits depend on positive lawsuit results, fund a “frivolous” (worthless) lawsuit? The truth is, frivolous lawsuits are rarely filed, and when they are, our judicial system is well-equipped to dismiss them and punish the person(s) who file them. The Chamber and other corporate interest groups will stop at nothing in its despicable campaign to prevent justice for the innocent and a level economic playing field in our civil justice system.
Trial lawyers and lawsuit funding companies are among the few who fight for our injured and disabled citizens. Without trial lawyers working hard to hold insurance companies and other large corporate giants accountable and without lawsuit funding companies available to provide financial assistance for litigants, these greedy companies will take advantage of the weakest members of our society, the injured and disabled. If an insurance company avoids personal responsibility for an event that premiums are supposed to insure, the burden of support for the injured and disabled shifts from the private sector to the taxpayer. That means you, the taxpayer, will pay to support these people with public assistance, Medicaid and Medicare. Why should the taxpayer be responsible? Why shouldn’t the insurance company that received the premium and accepted the risk bear the burden? These measures to limit or prevent lawsuits and/or lawsuit funding amount to nothing more than another, unnecessary, corporate bailout.
A fight to ban lawsuit funding is simply a political power play to enhance an already enhanced position. It is the insurance companies that force lawsuits; the insurance companies prolong them by delaying proceedings. It is the insurance companies that clog court dockets and force litigants to seek financial assistance.
A funding company is, more often than not, a disabled person’s only financial option in the fight for justice. Accidents cause disability; disability causes income loss. With less money and more bills, many can’t wait out the long litigation process. During that time, many face home foreclosure or bankruptcy. Lawsuit funding companies help plaintiffs handle everyday expenses during tough financial times by providing cash advances against their pending suits. The “financial bridge” helps plaintiffs pay the bills and put food on the table so they are not forced into a less-than-fair settlement offer simply to feed their families and/or pay their mortgage.
Lawsuit funding is a valuable service for the right person, in the right case, at the right time. It can make a huge difference in the outcome of the litigation it supports. It combats the common practice of insurance companies using their money and power to engage in frivolous defenses designed to delay proceedings, deny recoveries, and make plaintiffs desperate to settle for less than full value.
Lawsuit Financial congratulates the lawmakers in Oklahoma who stood up for victims and stopped Sb1780; I congratulate lawmakers in every state who have the guts to protect their citizens against these corporate attempts to re-victimize victims. Isn’t it time we all stood up for our disabled citizens?
Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.