Business of Law

Lawsuit investors back the losing parties in two recent cases

Investors who fund lawsuits hope for a big payout, but in two recent cases they backed the wrong litigant.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) has details.

Investors who backed a U.S. company called Excalibur Ventures, which sued over an interest in Iraqi oil fields, ended up losing when a U.K. judge dismissed Excalibur’s claims last week, the story says. The investors had contributed money toward deposits to cover legal bills of the defendants, which could be covered under the British loser-pays system.

The investors included a New York hedge fund, a now-defunct litigation finance firm called BlackRobe Capital Partners, and another funding company called Psari Ltd.

In another case, litigation funders backed the losing party in a dispute involving the copyright to comic-book characters created by the artist Stan Lee. A federal judge in Colorado this month dismissed the case against the Walt Disney Co. One of the investors backing the plaintiff was a hedge-fund firm called Elliott Management Corp.

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