Pursuing a lawsuit can be prohibitively expensive. Third party litigation financing has emerged in the United States as a rapidly growing solution to this financial burden. Litigation financing allows lawyers to initiate and pursue meritorious cases that their clients may not be able to afford and helps absorb the financial risks inherent in contingency fee matters. Because the practice is still in its infancy in the U.S., many trial lawyers, law firms and litigants have not had a significant amount of experience with this innovative form of funding.
Recently, groups such as The U.S. Chamber of Commerce have suggested that this type of funding should be disclosed to jurors. This raises an interesting question, “how will jurors react upon learning that an independent party is funding a plaintiff’s case?”
Until now, the answer to this question was unknown. Research conducted by Vinson Litigation Finance (VLF), utilizing its proprietary surrogate jury panel (which VLF uses in its VLF Evaluation ProtocolSM), examined how the disclosure of litigation financing affects the way jurors perceive a case. Does learning that a plaintiff received litigation financing affect jurors’ verdict decisions? Does learning that a plaintiff received litigation financing affect the perceived merits of a case?
Using Vinson Litigation Finance’s proprietary surrogate panel, VLF surveyed seven hundred thirty two eligible men and women across the United States to learn how juror’s really react to learning about litigation finance.
- In 100% of cases surveyed, informing jurors that the plaintiff received funding did not affect verdict decisions.
- In 86% of cases, informing jurors that the plaintiff received funding did not affect the perceived merits of a case.
- Informing jurors that the plaintiff received funding increased the desire for the plaintiff to win.
- Jurors’ predispositions to the respective parties have greater effects on verdict decisions than knowledge of funding
“This new research demonstrates that the disclosure of third-party litigation financing to jurors does not hurt a plaintiff’s case and may actually help,” said Dr.Katie Vinson, Vice President of Litigation Science at Vinson Litigation Finance. “Third-party litigation financing has emerged in the United States as a rapidly growing solution to the financial burdens involved in pursuing litigation. With groups, such as The US Chamber of Commerce, suggesting that litigation funding be disclosed, this study will help reduce concerns that trial lawyers, law firms and litigants may have regarding the effects disclosure has on juror decision-making.”
To read more insights on the effects disclosure has on juror decision making, you can download the research paper now