By Violette Bishai.
The Plaintiff Litigation Funding industry has recently found itself in the midst of some debate. Christian Searcy, an advocate for the protection of consumer rights, and past president of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, recognizes the need for education surrounding the industry. Searcy, who has become, one of the most vigilant fighters for families of wrongfully killed victims, stresses that the right solutions do exist and attorneys and funding companies need to advocate and educate prior to making decisions in the clients’ best interest.
“Plaintiff funding can been an appropriate solution to clients’ needs when it is done transparently and the client and attorney fully explore the cost-benefit ratio of the financing as a means of addressing the particular needs of a situation,” said Searcy.
According to a recently published study titled, The Empirical Investigation of Third Party Consumer Litigation Funding by Ronen Avraham & Anthony J. Sebok, transparency is promoted amongst the enacted laws governing litigation funding with requirements in contracts “designed to help the consumer decide whether to contract with a funder free of undue pressure.”
We have only begun to scratch the surface on consumer litigation finance and the impact it has had over the past decades. Plaintiff funding if done transparently, opens unparalleled doors to plaintiffs in dire financial need and who cannot find a solution. Litigation finance offers assistance with daily living expenses. The risks associated with a non-recourse agreement are carefully calculated on a case-by-case basis to determine the best options for each plaintiff. According to Abraham and Sebok, the case is carefully reviewed in order to ensure a rational investment and to avoid an “inconsequential recovery after the conclusion of litigation.”
Elizabeth Pekin, President and Founder of Momentum Funding LLC, explains, “We provide funds strategically, incrementally, and in a way that makes the best fiscal sense for each client.” Pekin, a personal injury attorney who has been involved in litigation finance since its inception, founded Momentum Funding in 2015, recognizing the need to establish a more seamless process for plaintiffs in need of financial assistance. In fact, she travels the country presenting legal education courses advocating and consistently emphasizing the need for transparency and ethics in this specialty finance sector. Pekin is open to the possibility of industry regulation regarding the transparency of the contracts. This ensures attorneys advocate for the best interest of their clients.
Pekin stresses that the focus should be on leveling the playing field for consumers whom she helps on a daily basis. Her company and others in the industry provide financial relief to assist injured plaintiffs with daily living expenses and allows the clients to remain in their cases to reach fair settlement values.
“It is truly a cost-benefit analysis” she further states.
Momentum Funding takes a unique approach to vetting each case. The company provides a solid ground and a compassionate solution for those who truly need help. One client recently experienced the benefits of legal funding after being severely injured in a car accident and stated, “The team at Momentum helped me rebuild my home and make it handicapped accessible when I was paralyzed.”
“If the client is the focus, the business is done right,” says Pekin. “The key is working with companies that understand the nuances of the cases and are known and trusted.”
Studies such as The Empirical Investigation of Third Party Consumer Litigation Funding are available to provide a foundation based on real facts and numbers. Pekin emphasizes that the formula is a basic math problem.
“If the client is able to receive funds to pay for basic living expenses and walk away with money from the settlement, the business works. Consider the case and the settlement, and from there use funding strategically to benefit the client,” Pekin said. “Plaintiff Funding with transparency benefits all parties, including the tens of thousands of injured plaintiffs who have been helped through financial relief.”
(This article was published in the Litigation Finance Journal)