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Burford Capital Appoints KPMG LLP as Independent Auditor

By Harry Moran |

Burford Capital Limited ("Burford"), the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, is pleased to announce that, on July 1, 2024, the audit committee (the "Audit Committee") of Burford's board of directors (the "Board") has approved, and the Board has ratified, the appointment of KPMG LLP ("KPMG") as Burford's independent registered public accounting firm. KPMG will review Burford's consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ending September 30, 2024 and will audit Burford's consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2024.

KPMG replaces Ernst & Young LLP ("E&Y"), which has served as Burford's independent auditor since 2010. While Burford is not subject to traditional UK mandatory auditor rotation every ten years, Burford is nevertheless conscious of shareholder feedback about best practices in the UK market and, while it would have been disruptive to have rotated auditors during the transition to US GAAP and the addition of our New York Stock Exchange listing, with those items behind us now is an appropriate moment to abide by those best practices and move to another Big Four accounting firm.

KPMG's appointment is subject to the ratification of Burford's shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting (the "2024 EGM") to be held in due course.

Dismissal of Previous Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

On July 1, 2024, the Audit Committee has also approved, and the Board has ratified, the dismissal of E&Y as Burford's independent registered public accounting firm, effective immediately following the issuance of Burford's consolidated financial statements for the three and six months ended June 30, 2024.

The reports of E&Y on Burford's consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 did not contain an adverse opinion or a disclaimer of opinion and were not qualified or modified as to uncertainty, audit scope or accounting principles. In connection with the audits of Burford's consolidated financial statements for each of the fiscal years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 and during the period from the end of the most recently completed fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 through July 1, 2024 (the "Interim Period"), there were no "disagreements" (as defined in Item 304(a)(1)(iv) of Regulation S-K) with E&Y on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or auditing scope or procedure which "disagreements", if not resolved to the satisfaction of E&Y, would have caused E&Y to make reference to the subject matter of the "disagreements" in connection with their report for such years. There were no "reportable events" (as described in Item 304(a)(1)(v) of Regulation S-K) during the two fiscal years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 or the Interim Period, except for certain identified material weaknesses in Burford's internal controls relating to:

  • a lack of available evidence to demonstrate the precision of management's review of certain assumptions used in the measurement of the fair value of capital provision assets as disclosed in Burford's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2023 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on March 28, 2024, which Burford is in the process of remediating as of the date of this announcement; and
  • the determination of Burford's approach to measure the fair value of capital provision assets in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification Topic 820—Fair Value Measurement, as disclosed in Burford's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2022 filed with the SEC on May 16, 2023, which was remediated at December 31, 2023.

The Audit Committee discussed the "reportable events" with E&Y, and Burford has authorized E&Y to respond fully to the inquiries of KPMG, as successor auditor, concerning the subject matter of such "reportable events".

Pursuant to Item 304(a)(3) of Regulation S-K, Burford provided E&Y with a copy of the disclosures in this announcement prior to furnishing this announcement under the cover of Form 6-K to the SEC, and E&Y has furnished a letter addressed to the SEC stating that E&Y agrees with the statements set forth in this paragraph and the two immediately preceding paragraphs above. A copy of E&Y's letter, dated July 9, 2024, has been furnished as Exhibit 99.1 to the Form 6-K.

Appointment of New Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

On and effective as of July 1, 2024, KPMG was appointed as Burford's independent registered public accounting firm for the three and nine months ending September 30, 2024 and for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2024. The Audit Committee approved, and the Board ratified, the appointment of KPMG, subject to the shareholder approval at the 2024 EGM. 

During Burford's two most recent fiscal years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 and the Interim Period, neither Burford nor anyone acting on its behalf has consulted KPMG regarding either (i) the application of accounting principles to a specified transaction, either completed or proposed, or the type of audit opinion that might be rendered on Burford's consolidated financial statements, and neither a written report nor oral advice was provided to Burford that KPMG concluded was an important factor considered by Burford in reaching a decision as to any accounting, auditing or financial reporting issue or (ii) any matter that was either the subject of a "disagreement" (as defined in Item 304(a)(1)(iv) of Regulation S-K) or a "reportable event" (as described in Item 304(a)(1)(v) of Regulation S-K).

About Burford Capital

Burford Capital is the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law. Its businesses include litigation finance and risk management, asset recovery and a wide range of legal finance and advisory activities. Burford is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BUR) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE: BUR), and it works with companies and law firms around the world from its offices in New York, London, Chicago, Washington, DC, Singapore, Dubai, Sydney and Hong Kong.For more information, please visit www.burfordcapital.com.

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Allia Group Appoints Seasoned Legal Strategist Justin Fitzdam as General Counsel

By Harry Moran |

Allia Group, the innovative legal finance firm exclusively specializing in healthcare insurer disputes, is excited to announce that Justin Fitzdam has been appointed as General Counsel. Mr. Fitzdam is based in Allia Group’s Nashville office.

Fitzdam has extensive in-house healthcare litigation expertise. In his 11 year tenure at HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest hospital systems and healthcare service providers, he spearheaded the development of their nationwide litigation program against managed care payors. In addition, he oversaw all litigation, regulatory enforcement and compliance, investigations, and related legal issues for a substantial portfolio of HCA’s facilities and affiliates. His strong track record of successful litigation against the largest health insurance companies resulted in several of HCA’s largest judgments.

Over the course of his career, Fitzdam brings nearly 20 years of litigation, mediation, and arbitration experience across a broad range of large, complex, and highly regulated industries.He began his career in private practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and then Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP where he represented clients on both the plaintiff and defendant sides in all federal and state court levels, including the United States Supreme Court.

Fitzdam holds a J.D. from Cornell Law School and a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Florida.

In his new role, Fitzdam will be responsible for leading and implementing litigation strategy for Allia Group’s portfolio of litigation and will serve as the head legal advisor to the CEO and senior management. In addition, he will also define new areas of growth and oversee the underwriting of legal risks related to new business and transactions.

“We are thrilled to welcome Justin to the team,” said Eliot Listman, CEO of Allia Group. “His expertise with payor litigation in both in network and out of network cases will be indispensable. He is an ideal fit as our strategy grows to include solutions for even the largest hospital systems and physician groups in the battle against big health insurance. We are fortunate to have Justin on the team in our mission to hold payors accountable for bad behavior.”

About Allia Group:

Allia Group specializes in litigation finance solutions to improve the financial position of healthcare providers. To demand responsibility from healthcare insurers, Allia litigates and arbitrates against these payors and structures the purchase of underpaid claims and legal rights to monetize these assets, benefitting providers’ cash flow. Allia has the experience to address the needs of hospital systems, physician groups, and emergency transportation businesses. Visit www.allia.group to learn more.

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Lawyers for Civil Justice Submits Letter to House Subcommittee in Support of Funding Disclosure Rules 

By Harry Moran |

As LFJ reported last month, a committee hearing in the US House of Representatives brought a renewed focus on the issue of disclosure and transparency in the use of third-party litigation funding. Since that hearing, the debate has continued to evolve, with advocacy groups lending their voices to the discussion, as funders and law firms try to influence the direction the legislature will take.

In a letter submitted to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) responded to the Subcommittee’s hearing on third-party litigation finance. The letter, signed by LCJ’s president, Molly H. Craig, laid out its argument that “there are numerous compelling reasons why uniform rules requiring disclosure will benefit federal courts and parties while improving the transparency and fairness of the federal court system.”

LCJ listed the following reasons why it supported the introduction of new rules governing the disclosure of litigation funding:

  • Reduce the risk of conflicts of interest
  • Ensure that decision makers participate in court proceedings
  • Identify the actual interests of parties
  • Evaluate discovery requests and allocate costs and sanctions in accordance with the FRCP
  • Protect the interests of class action members
  • Ensure counsel represent their client’s interests, not third-party funders
  • Inform trial rulings on evidence admissibility and acceptable lines of questioning

LCJ also highlighted four proposals that it has previously put forward and continues to advocate for, which would introduce specific amendments to existing rules in order to “support or require such appropriate TPLF disclosures”. These include amendments to Rule 26 disclosure, Rule 16 disclosure, Rule 26.1 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Disclosure, and FRCP Rule 7.1 disclosure.LCJ describes itself as “a national coalition of corporations, law firms, and defense trial-lawyer organizations that promotes excellence and fairness in the civil justice system and supports measures to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of civil cases.”

More information about LCJ can be found on its website.

Community Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Stuart Price

By John Freund |

Stuart Price is the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director and co-founder of CASL. Mr Price worked in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Australia during his 30+ year career in banking and investment banking, legal and litigation finance. Mr Price has held senior positions in litigation finance for over a decade with a career highlight being the resolution of a class action against the Queensland State Government for ‘Stolen Wages’ for $190m, on behalf of over 12,000 First Nations peoples.  

Mr Price was instrumental in the establishment of The Association of Litigation Funders of Australia (ALFA), where he was the inaugural CEO and Managing Director from 2018. Mr Price continues as a Director of ALFA.

Mr Price has a 1st Class Honours Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of St. Andrews, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia & New Zealand, a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia and a Fellow of FINSIA.

Company Name and Description: CASL was founded in 2020 by John Walker and Stuart Price with the objective of creating a level playing field and providing access to the legal system for claimants to prosecute meritorious claims.

CASL is a significant litigation funder in the Australian market, raising investment capital of $156m in 2022 that represents one of the largest dedicated pools of capital to this market.

Company Websitehttps://www.casl.com.au/

Year Founded:  2020

Headquarters: Sydney

Area of Focus: Litigation Finance

Member Quote: CASL has one of the most experienced litigation finance teams which when combined with substantial financial resources, enables it to be a leading provider of litigation finance with local decision making.

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Latam Advisors Director says Argentina’s President Should Negotiate a Deal for $16B YPF Judgement

By Harry Moran |

One of last year’s biggest stories of the legal funding world was the $16 billion judgement in the Argentina YPF case, standing out as a significant win for litigation funder Burford Capital. However, the pressing question since this judgement has been how Argentina’s government would deal with this mammoth sum, especially since Burford Capital has continued to demonstrate its commitment to judgement enforcement and foreign asset recovery.

An article in the Buenos Aires Times, which analyses the current state of Argentinian President Javier Milei’s government, offers a small but interesting insight into the direction that Argentina’s leader could choose to take in regards to the $16 billion judgement in the YPF case. The article highlights recent comments from Sebastián Maril, director of Latam Advisors, who suggested that the Argentine government could attempt to negotiate a deal to end the dispute with Burford Capital over the $16 billion sum, with payments made over time in return for a lower total amount paid.

Maril argues that “Argentina should start viewing international legal proceedings as assets and not liabilities”, and that the government should seek to build relationships with these companies so that “beneficiaries of foreign judgments should understand that, by helping the Republic they’ll be helping themselves.” Maril places the YPF judgement in the context of a wider pattern of Argentina already having to pay out ‘US$16.35 billion in closed and settled legal judgements since 2000’, with an additional $10.245 billion in open judgements beyond the YPF settlement.

Paper Published on the Funder’s Perspective of International Arbitration

By Harry Moran |

In a post on LinkedIn, Francesca Mastragostino, junior associate at Bonn, Steichen and Partners, announced the publication of a paper titled ‘Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration: the Funder’s perspective’, which covers “the complex dynamics between the client and the funder during legal proceedings.” The paper, published by Club de l’arbitrage as part of Les Dossiers Du Blog De L’Arbitrage, includes an examination of the funding of these proceedings, including disclosure requirements for funders, rights and obligations, and security for costs.

In the paper, Mastragostino discusses the differences in disclosure rules between jurisdictions, highlighting the compulsory requirements in Hong Kong and Singapore versus the lack of any mandatory disclosure in Luxembourg. Mastragostino notes that despite the continuing conflict between advocates and critiques of the legal funding industry, “there might be indeed potential benefits to such transparency”, such as the possibility for this transparency to enhance the image of a claim as meritorious enough to have attracted funding.

Mastragostino also examines the nature of the relationship between a client and their funder, explaining that a positive model for this relationship is “characterised by continuing monitoring and dialogue.” She also highlights the value, beyond pure financial resources, that a funder can bring to these proceedings through the expertise and experience that litigation finance professionals can bring having worked on similar cases in the past.

The full paper can be found on the Club de l’arbitrage website.

SdK Offers Litigation Finance to Enforce Claims for Additional Payment for Former Shareholders of STADA Arzneimittel AG

By Harry Moran |

Former shareholders of STADA Arzneimittel AG who tendered their Stada shares as part of the takeover offer by Nidda Healthcare Holding AG in August or September 2017 are entitled to an additional payment of €8.15 per share. This was decided by the Federal Court of Justice in May 2023. Since Nidda Healthcare Holding AG refuses to make a voluntary additional payment to all former STADA shareholders, SdK Schutzgemeinschaft der Kapitalanleger e.V. is offering litigation financing for a legal claim without any cost risk to the affected former STADA shareholders.

On July 19, 2017, Nidda Healthcare Holding AG, a joint venture of the international financial investors Bain Capital and Cinven Partners, submitted a voluntary public takeover offer to the shareholders of STADA Arzneimittel AG to acquire their shares at a price of € 66.25 per share. Within the acceptance period (until the end of August 16, 2017), the bidder’s offer was accepted by 63.76 % of STADA shareholders and within a further acceptance period (until September 1, 2017) by a further 0.11 % of STADA shareholders. The bidder thus achieved a tender volume, including shares held by STADA, of approx. 63.87 % of STADA’s share capital and voting rights. 

On August 30, 2017, a shareholder holding 8,265,142 shares (13.26 % of the shares and voting rights) agreed to a domination and profit and loss transfer agreement between Nidda Healthcare and STADA if the amount of the compensation under the domination and profit and loss transfer agreement is at least EUR 74.40 per STADA share. Several former shareholders of STADA, who had accepted the lower takeover offer, filed a lawsuit against the bidder demanding the difference between the offer price and the compensation under the domination and profit and loss transfer agreement of EUR 74.40. 

In two identical judgments dated 23 May 2023 (case no. II ZR 219/21 and II ZR 220/21), the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled in favor of two plaintiffs pursuant to sections 31 (5) and (6) WpÜG, referring to the principles of the so-called Celesio case law. In principle, all former shareholders of Stada AG who had initially exchanged their regular shares for the securities tendered for sale with ISIN DE000A2GS5A4 or for securities subsequently tendered for sale with ISIN DE000A2GS5B2 and had subsequently tendered these in the takeover offer are entitled for the payment of the difference. 

Following a request of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority („BaFin“), the Bidder published a corresponding notice in the Federal Gazette, but pointed out that, in its view, any payment claims by former shareholders could be based on the defense of the statute of limitations. In the opinion of the Bidder, the statute of limitations generally began at the latest at the end of 2017. However, this is incorrect. The claims of the former shareholders of STADA are not yet time-barred: This is because after the courts of the 1st and 2nd instance had still rejected the claim for subsequent payment, only the BGH confirmed this claim for additional payment. The claim for additional payment is therefore not yet time-barred.

The SdK is offering affected former STADA shareholders legal cost financing to enforce their claims for additional payment. The claims can thus be enforced without any cost risk. The SdK, as the financier of the legal costs, assumes all costs of the legal proceedings in return for a profit participation of 30% of the proceeds in the event of success. For more information please contact us at info@sdk.org.The SdK will be happy to answer any questions from its affected members by e-mail at info@sdk.org or by telephone on +49 89 / 2020846-0.

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CourtCorrect, Leader in Complaints AI, Completes Funding Round from Industry Veterans

By Harry Moran |

CourtCorrect, the market leader in complaints resolution with AI, is pleased to share that we have successfully completed a funding round from industry veterans to fuel our growth and product development.

CourtCorrect is an AI startup based in London, focusing on the safe deployment of artificial intelligence technologies to improve the efficiency, quality and root cause analysis of complaints resolution. We work with clients across financial services and other regulated industries and process thousands of cases every week.

Investors participating in the round include both existing and new investors such as Alain Dehaze (former CEO of Fortune 500 The Adecco Group), Philippe Verboogen (Managing Director at BlackRock and the driving force behind the Growth of eFront Solutions prior to being acquired by BlackRock for >$1bn) and Dr. David Wicki-Birchler (Head of Compliance at a Swiss Banking Group).

This further funding, coming on top of over £2m in Seed Funding raised from 20VC, Visionaries Club, Ascension VC and Concept Ventures will allow CourtCorrect to invest in its growth trajectory as clients scale their use of the platform and new firms onboard to the future of complaints resolution.

Additionally, this funding enables CourtCorrect to further invest in product development, including assisting clients with root cause analysis as we continue to position the company as the market leader for complaints resolution with AI.

Alain Dehaze had this to say about the funding round:

“We are delighted to support CourtCorrect in her growth ambitions and to build on the strong impact her clients have been seeing from AI. We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Ludwig and the team by providing a strategic investment as well as guidance on scaling up the sales function. Good luck to the whole team!”

Ludwig Bull had this to add following the completion of the round:

“This investment comes at the perfect time for CourtCorrect. Following tremendous growth in the last 12 months, we are looking forward to investing directly in our Go-To-Market strategy as well as continue to build out the platform in close collaboration with our clients. I’m sure that this vote of confidence in our team, product and business model will propel CourtCorrect to new heights.”

Thank you to our investors, team members and advisers who supported this investment round.

About CourtCorrect:

CourtCorrect works with clients across financial services and other regulated markets to improve the efficiency, quality and root cause analysis of complaints resolution. By leveraging the most recent advances in AI and with an expert team drawn from machine learning and financial services compliance backgrounds, CourtCorrect processes thousands of cases every week to create a win-win-win for consumers, businesses and regulators.

CourtCorrect assists clients across the resolution process, including generating letters and other correspondence, structuring and extracting key insights from documents, assessing potential outcomes against the backdrop of internal policies and regulations and identifying root causes both in individual cases and in aggregate. As a result, businesses save time, improve the quality of resolution, remediate complaints causes effectively, improve customer retention and align more closely with regulatory rules, including Consumer Duty.Please feel free to contact us at hello@courtcorrect.com or request a free trial of the platform on our website: https://platform.courtcorrect.com/signup

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4 Rivers and Case Legal Media Form Strategic Alliance

By Harry Moran |

4 Rivers and Case Legal Media (“CASE”) are pleased to announce a strategic alliance to collaborate to assist law firms which operate in the mass torts space with case origination and funding. 

Law firms acting for mass tort claimants are often in the position where they require external funding to provide working capital for themselves, as well as case costs and expenses, while the claims are in progress. Law firms must therefore be properly funded so that they can pursue further actions which benefit from CASE’s acquisition and intake expertise.  4 Rivers has extensive know-how and bespoke tools which can be used to secure such finance from diverse sources of capital.  

The two firms have recognised that there will be considerable value in working with each other on projects and generally from sharing intellectual capital, and contacts in the legal and funding sectors, as well as deriving further benefits from sharing support, resources, and infrastructure.

Peter Petyt, Chief Executive Officer of 4 Rivers, said: “I am delighted that 4 Rivers and Case Legal Media will be working together to help law firms to secure the right type and amount of finance to allow them to acquire meritorious cases and run the cases with sufficient resources to give them every chance of a successful outcome.”   George Young, Founder of CASE Legal Media, said: 

“CASE Legal Media is excited for the opportunity to partner with Peter and his team.  We are always looking for ways to improve our services and add value to our law firm partners, and we think the resources provided by 4 Rivers can give our clients a unique level of market intelligence to navigate the world of litigation finance.”

About 4 Rivers

4 Rivers is a legal finance advisor and brokerage which originates claims either from claimants direct or through law firms. It has relationships in place with the major third-party funders based throughout the world, as well as multi-strategy funds, family offices, private equity funds, and private credit funds.

It also advises on law firm strategy and mergers and acquisitions in the wider legal services sector.  4 Rivers also has long established relationships with lawyers and attorneys, barristers, valuation experts, forensic accountants, e-discovery vendors, investigations companies, asset tracers, costs companies and other specialists in order to assemble the right team to enable third-party funding to be secured and/or a contingency arrangement to be negotiated.

About Case Legal Media 

CASE Legal Media helps law firms procure thousands of cases in both national mass tort and local personal injury campaigns, using the power of television, radio, and digital media together to deliver low cost and high-quality case acquisition. CASE assists clients in all aspects of client acquisition, from marketing to intake to records retrieval. They are currently active in a number of case acquisition marketing campaigns for their law firm partners, including Asbestos, Camp LeJeune, Hair Relaxer, MVA, NEC, and PFAS, amongst others. CASE has a database of approximately 4,000 law firms with whom it has had a range of contacts in the past. 

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Apple Asks Delaware Court to Force Omni Bridgeway to Answer Subpoena

By Harry Moran |

The fight over disclosure and transparency around third-party funding of patent infringement litigation continues to generate high-profile cases, as one of the world’s largest technology corporations is asking a court to force a litigation funder to respond to its subpoena.

Reporting by Bloomberg Law provides an overview of a recent filing from Apple Inc., which sees the technology giant file a motion to compel compliance with a subpoena for Omni Bridgeway. Apple is asking the US District Court for the District of Delaware to force the litigation funder to answer a December 2023 subpoena, seeking information about Omni Bridgeway’s involvement in a California patent infringement suit. The original patent lawsuit was brought by MPH Technologies Oy in 2018, claiming that Apple had infringed on its patents with Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime products.

The filing of the motion to compel compliance has come after Apple says that several discussions have taken place between lawyers for the company and Omni Bridgeway, but none of these conversations have resulted in the litigation funder being willing to disclose the requested information. In a declaration in support of the motion, Hannah Cannom, an attorney at Walker Stevens Cannom who represents Apple in the patent infringement case, confirmed that the funder “has not produced any responsive documents to the Amended Subpoena nor offered any witness for a deposition.”

A letter from Omni Bridgeway, that was included as an exhibit for another declaration by one of Apple’s lawyers, shows that the funder objected to the subpoena and asserted 20 separate objections to the request. In the summary of its objections, Omni Bridgeway’s counsel stated that “the subpoena does not coherently state what information it seeks; why the information sought by the subpoena is discoverable in the underlying litigation; and why information requested by the subpoena cannot be obtained directly from a party to the underlying action.”

Neither representatives from Apple nor Omni did not respond to Bloomberg Law’s requests for comment.

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