The Consumer Litigation Funding Act: Empowering Consumers and Promoting Fairness

The Senate’s recent approval of the Consumer Litigation Funding Act (S4146B) is a major step toward protecting consumers involved in litigation funding. Sponsored by Senator Cooney, this pivotal legislation seeks to regulate the consumer litigation funding industry in New York State, promoting transparency, fairness, and robust consumer protections.

Consumer litigation funding offers financial support to plaintiffs to help cover their expenses while their legal cases are ongoing. This industry has grown rapidly, providing crucial assistance to individuals who might not otherwise have the resources for lengthy legal battles. However, the lack of regulation has opened the door to exploitation, with some companies imposing exorbitant fees and engaging in unfair practices. The Consumer Litigation Funding Act addresses these concerns by establishing a thorough regulatory framework designed to protect consumers.

The bill introduces several critical measures to regulate the industry:

  1. Contract Requirements and Rights: All contracts must include provisions such as the right of rescission, which allows consumers to cancel the agreement within ten days without penalty. Contracts must also contain a no-penalty clause for prepayment of the funded amount before the settlement of the case.
  2. Prohibitions: The act strictly prohibits certain practices, including charging excessive fees and engaging in deceptive activities.
  3. Disclosure Requirements: Contracts must feature specific language to ensure transparency and complete consumer awareness of the transaction’s terms.
  4. Registration and Licensing: Litigation finance companies are required to register and obtain a license from the Department of State, which includes submitting an application to evaluate the company’s character, fitness, and financial stability.
  5. Penalties for Violations: The act establishes penalties for companies that violate its provisions, deterring bad actors from exploiting consumers.

Milestone Foundation: A Commitment to Fairness

The Milestone Foundation was founded to counteract the consumer litigation funding industry’s tendency toward high fees and unfair practices. We offer an ethical alternative, charging a simple 10% interest rate, which is significantly lower than the industry norm. This commitment to fairness ensures that our clients receive the financial support they need without the burden of excessive fees.

The need for regulation in the consumer litigation funding industry is clear. Unregulated practices have enabled some companies to act in bad faith, imposing outrageous fees and engaging in unethical behavior. The Consumer Litigation Funding Act addresses these issues directly, offering strong protections for consumers.

One of the act’s most important features is the inclusion of a ten-day right of rescission, giving consumers a critical period to reconsider their decision without penalties. Coupled with disclosure requirements, this ensures that consumers are fully informed before entering into agreements.

Additionally, the registration and licensing requirements will help eliminate unfair operators, elevating the overall standard of the industry and fostering a fairer and more trustworthy environment for consumers.

The Consumer Litigation Funding Act is a substantial advancement in consumer protection within the legal financing sector. By setting clear guidelines and stringent regulations, the bill ensures that consumers can obtain necessary financial support during litigation without falling victim to exploitative practices. As the act takes effect 180 days after becoming law, it promises to enhance transparency, fairness, and consumer confidence in the industry. The Milestone Foundation is proud to align with these values, offering a fair 10% simple interest rate to support those in need while upholding the highest ethical standards.