One of the important factors behind the recent rise of third-party litigation financing has been the view in many jurisdictions that litigation finance does not violate ancient prohibitions against “champerty” – that is, the investment by an uninvolved third-party in a lawsuit with the intent of sharing in any recovery. As I discussed in a recent post, the general view is that litigation funding arrangements are not champertous as long as the plaintiff continues to control the litigation.
However, in a recent decision, the New York Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) held that a financial transaction in which the plaintiff had purchased securities for the purpose of filing suit violated New York’s champerty statute. The Court also ruled that the transaction did not come within the statutory safe harbor for larger financial transactions. The appellate court’s ruling on the champerty issue is interesting, but its discussion of the safe harbor provisions – which likely would protect most conventional litigation finance arrangements – may be the more significant part of the court’s decision.
Continue Reading N.Y. Top Court Rules Litigation Finance Transaction Violates Champerty Doctrine