“If you’re sitting on a structured settlement, you’re sitting on a pile of cash…”
“Oasis provides clients the money they need for bills and living expenses long before their cases may settle...”
“With Peachtree money does grow on trees...”
JG Wentworth, Oasis Legal Finance, Peachtree and other alternative litigation financing firms made pitches like this in over 16,000 TV advertisements broadcast thus far in 2014.
By offering cash advances, typically to plaintiffs, to be repaid from litigation proceeds, alternative litigation financing -- also known as third-party litigation financing, lawsuit advances or pre-settlement funding -- plays an increasingly common and controversial role in mass tort litigation.
Like many mass tort plaintiffs' law firms, pre-settlement funding firms spend millions every month -- including $5.8 million spent in May on over 3,800 ads -- to attract new clients as shown in the graph below.
Debate over the role of alternative litigation financing in the litigation process has opened up a new front in the mass tort wars.
The plaintiffs’ bar -- as explained by the President of the American Association for Justice, the plaintiffs’ trial lawyers’ group -- argues that alternative litigation financing provides “an avenue for consumers and commercial plaintiffs to undertake cases that would otherwise be too costly” and “level[s] the field against well-funded defendants.”
While the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform claims that the financing “threatens to undermine the administration of justice” by increasing the volume of litigation, prolonging lawsuits, reducing plaintiffs’ control over their case, and creating ethical conflicts for plaintiffs’ attorneys.