House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee defers vote on third-party tort financing bill
The legislation is a priority for the Florida Justice Reform Institute.
The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee deferred a vote on legislation to crack down on the $13.5 billion third-party litigation financing industry.
Subcommittee Vice Chairman David Smith announced a vote on HB 1179 was being deferred at bill co-sponsor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tommy Gregory’s request. No further explanation was offered.
HB 1179 had been added to the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee’s Monday agenda hours after it had cleared its first committee of reference, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee by a 10-7 vote.
The bills are a top priority for the Florida Justice Reform Institute and the American Tort Reform Foundation, which repeatedly referenced third-party litigation financing in its 2023-24 Judicial Hellhole Report.
The bills would create a new section of law called the Litigation Investment Safeguards and Transparency Act and establish definitions for, among other things, “litigation financing,” “foreign persons” and “foreign principals.”
The proposals would require lawyers who enter into third-party litigation agreements to disclose that information to their clients as well as the court, opposing counsel, and any known person, such as an insurer, with a preexisting contractual obligation to indemnify or defend a party to the action.
The bills ban litigation financing companies from receiving a larger share of the proceeds than the plaintiffs after the payment of attorney fees and costs. Additionally, litigation financiers could not, under the proposal, make any decision concerning legal strategy.
If the litigation financing company has international ties, lawyers also must disclose the name, address, citizenship, country of incorporation, or registration of any foreign person, foreign principal or sovereign wealth fund.