The other day the US Chamber of Commerce, Institute for Legal Reform released their paper titled “101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems”. In the publication the Chamber weighed in on the issue of consumer legal funding or as they like to call it “lawsuit lending”.
After putting out some questionable information, they pointed to legislation that they liked and wanted to have replicated in the states. One bill in particular caught our eye, SB 1016 from Oklahoma that was passed and enacted in 2013. In the publication the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform states: “Oklahoma S.B. 1016 (2013) (codified at Okla. Stat. tit. 14A, §§ 3-801 et seq.): Permits lawsuit lending only with respect to existing legal claims. Subjects agreements to the Uniform Consumer Credit Code. Mandates certain contract disclosure information. Requires consumer lawsuit lender to obtain a license and file a bond or irrevocable letter of credit. Prohibits lender from making decisions relating to the conduct, settlement, or resolution of the underlying legal claim.”
Guess what, WE AGREE. We agree that Oklahoma was a good bill and should be the bases for proper regulation in other states. It protects the consumers, it protects the legal system, and it allows the companies to operate in the state as a purchase of an asset and not a loan. This was further emphasized by the bill sponsor Senator Crain on the Senate Floor: “We are specifically defining the transaction is not a loan, it is a litigation financing agreement, so that we do not involve ourselves in any of the banking business. There is no cap.”
In fact in May of 2013 Harold Kim from ILR posted a blog on the signing of the bill, and in the blog he stated: “Governor Fallin, State Senator Brian Crain, and State Representative Leslie Osborn deserve credit for curbing lawsuit lending abuses in Oklahoma, and making their state a leader nationally on this front. Hopefully, other states will follow in Oklahoma’s footsteps.”
So can we now count on the support of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, their members and the Institute for Legal Reform in passing legislation like what was passed in Oklahoma in the coming State Legislative sessions? We can only hope.