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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
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A Solid Investment

The stock market is unpredictable, real estate is taking a dive, and your bank may not be in business much longer.

Are there any good investments left?

I've got one for you: litigation.

Everything else may be tanking, but it's hard to beat a solid cause of action for investment value.

I'm not talking about pretending to get hit by a car or suing some hapless corporation because its stock dropped a few points. No, I mean investing in real litigation filed by other people. Just because you're fine doesn't mean you can't get in on the personal injury action.

All you need to do is finance someone else's lawsuit and then wait for the returns to roll in.

If you don't believe me, try Googling (or fill-in-the-blank web searching) the phrase "Independent Legal Funding Consultant." I, for one, was stunned - particularly by the "sponsored links" that came up. Apparently, this is a bull market.

The way most of these outfits (or guys with money) work is they will give litigants money to live on and pay costs and not even ask to be paid back unless the litigant wins a settlement or judgment.

For example, check out a site called www.freelawsuitmoney.com. It's like turning on an infomercial. You get a video of a guy pitching the concept and, if you can't remember every word, there's a transcript of the video right below the media player.

And, wonder of wonders, there's absolutely no mention of any cost at all.

The pitch guy tells you it's not even a loan - you don't have to pay it back unless you win your case. And you can apply immediately on line.


How could this be?

I was able to get a bit more of a clue by checking out some of Freelawsuitmoney's competitors. Most of them are pretty vague about their fees but one of them provided this example of its "low" fee: "Advance of $1,000 re-paid in four months is a $400 fee, if paid in 8 months it's a $700 fee, if paid in 12 months it's a $1,000 fee, and if it exceeds 12 months the fee is capped @$1,500."

Yes, a mere 150% interest max.

Hey, it's not usury if it's not a loan.

Now that's a high-quality investment.

OK, now some of you are probably thinking this isn't such a good deal for the poor plaintiffs and that the money guys are taking advantage of their desperation. You would be correct in this thinking.

But this is a capitalist nation, after all. Money-making schemes are what we're all about.

So if you represent plaintiffs who would really rather not mortgage their injuries, you might want to come up with your own money-making scheme.

Here's the one I recommend: incorporate your lawsuit.

Set up a corporation, transfer the right to sue to the company, and then sell shares. You could even team up with other plaintiffs to become a multi-lawsuit conglomerate.

The IPO could set records.

If this doesn't save the stock market, nothing will.

DEPARTMENT OF STUFF YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW. A Wisconsin appellate court has ruled that cheerleading is not a contact sport.

The ruling is Noffke v. Bakke and I can't explain it. But here's what appears to be the key paragraph:

"We acknowledge the obvious. In many ways the risks and the athleticism involved in cheerleading are comparable to those in contact sports. Nonetheless, cheerleading does not fit the commonly accepted meaning of 'contact sport.' Specifically, it does not involve physical contact between opponents."

So if a football player runs into a guy on his own team, it's not a contact sport.

Don't look at me.

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