On June 30, the federal district court in Chicago refused to require disclosure of documents relating to litigation finance in an antitrust suit, ruling that the documents are protected from discovery.
The ruling continues an unbroken streak of courts upholding work product protection for documents exchanged with litigation finance firms such as Burford.
In Viamedia Inc. v. Comcast Corp., the defendant had moved to compel the plaintiff to disclose documents it had provided to litigation finance firms. U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve sided with the plaintiff, which had argued that the documents are protected by both the attorney-client privilege and work product protection.
The ruling is in line with earlier affirmations of work product protection in litigation finance. Among the most notable of these is Miller UK Ltd. v. Caterpillar Inc., in which the court observed that, because litigants must share documents in order to obtain litigation funding, it would be preposterous to put a litigant to the Hobson’s choice of obtaining capital but sacrificing confidentiality or foregoing capital in order to protect its trial strategy but thereby weakening its ability to prosecute its case.
Contrary to a noisy minority that has lobbied for new disclosure rules, the Viamedia ruling and others demonstrate that courts are more than comfortable with the status quo when it comes to litigation finance.