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US Federal Court affirms litigation funder's ability to see privileged material


NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A US Federal Court has ruled decisively in favor of litigation funders being able to see privileged material and attorney work product without those materials being discoverable by opposing parties.   

The Court held:  

It is quite evident that the subpoenas seek the production of documents that were prepared by counsel for [plaintiff] in anticipation of and during litigation and are protected by the work product doctrine. Litigation strategy, matters concerning merits of claims and defenses and damages would be revealed if the documents were produced. The matters directly involve the mental impressions of counsel and are protected from disclosure as work-product. Moreover, the production of the items subpoenaed would intrude upon attorney-client privilege under the "common-interest" doctrine. The "common-interest" doctrine protects communications between parties with a shared common interest in litigation strategy. [citations omitted] Here, Burford and [plaintiff] now have a common interest in the successful outcome of the litigation which otherwise [Plaintiff] may not have been able to pursue without the financial assistance of Burford.1

Chistopher Bogart, Burford's Chief Executive, said:  "This ruling is significant in ensuring that litigants can seek funding to even the litigation playing field without fear of exploitation by their opponents." 

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1 Burford does not as a matter of policy identify or comment on individual matters in which it has invested and thus has not provided case identifying information.

Allan Ripp

SOURCE Burford Finance