Law360 turned to product liability and mass torts partner Michael Zogby and associate Kaitlyn Stone for insight about the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey’s recent proposed amendment to its local civil rules, which would require litigants to disclose the identities of outside funders and whether they have input on litigation decisions.
In the article, “NJ Federal Court May Require 3rd-Party Funding Disclosures,” Zogby said he believes the court has the chance to be a leader in terms of third-party litigation funding disclosure with its proposed rule change.
“We have so many large-scale, important mass actions right now that this is a perfect example, and timetable, for the court to put in transparency and disclosure guidance to really help with the cases that are being filed in the district,” Zogby explained. “It’s long overdue nationally, but this does show that the District of New Jersey is ahead of the curve in making sure that a rule is on the books.”
Stone agreed with Zogby, saying “It’s just another example of the District of New Jersey being on the forefront of an issue. They really are on top of issues, and even if we would have liked to have seen it a bit earlier, they still are ahead of the curve in terms of what’s been happening nationally.”
Stone mentioned that the proposed rule change would go a long way in helping attorneys determine the interests in a case and noted that the New Jersey federal court already requires corporate disclosure statements from the parties she typically represents.
“This is very consistent with those types of disclosures,” she said, “but now, this would allow us to have a sense of disclosure for all parties involved.”
Zogby highlighted that third-party litigation funding “is definitely becoming more and more of a popular mentality,” and that it has been used increasingly more in litigation advertising, leading to an influx in cases, usually involving pharmaceuticals or medical devices. Additionally, he observed that with third-party funding sources “fueling the rise in case filings,” the burden begins to shift to the defendants to prove the merits of a case.