After the Mass Tort Settlement

While reaching a settlement in a complex litigation such as a mass tort is cause for celebration, it’s not the end of the story.  Complex litigations typically have long post- settlement payment delays because of the procedural steps that are necessary before a settlement can be distributed.

Can you afford to wait, or more importantly should you wait to collect your legal fees, or settlement proceeds?  What is the opportunity cost to you and your firm of not having immediately available funds? Those are the questions that litigants and/or their counsel need to ask when faced with the prospect of having to wait months, or even years, to collect.  

Why months or years? Let’s take a high-level look at some of the incremental hurdles that happen before settlements disburse. Keep in mind, these steps presume that there are no objections to a proposed settlement, or that the proposed settlement is not appealed.  

  • Claims Submission Procedures:  A claims administration, submission, evaluation, and distribution plan needs to be agreed upon and approved by the court before implementation.  
  • Claims Evaluation:  Once the claim’s submission period ends, the eligibility of each claim must be determined and allocated a pro-rata portion of the settlement, based on a scoring metric that is embedded. This can be as simple as a pro-rata allocation amongst the claimants to a more complex grid that scores different injuries.  
  • Administrative Appeals:  A settlement specific administrative process will need to be implemented to enable claimants to challenge any determinations following the claims evaluation and scoring processes.
  • Distribution of Funds: After the court approves the Distribution Plan, the funds can be distributed to the eligible claimants once all liens are evaluated and negotiated.  

The Waiting Game

As briefly described above, each step in the process requires collaboration, agreements, and approvals before moving forward. As a result, the length of the post-settlement phase of a litigation varies greatly, even without an appeal.  While these important legal procedures are ongoing, individuals, communities, or government agencies are left to wait for the desperately needed funds.

As an example of just how bad duration risk can be, consider the Visa / MasterCard Interchange Fee Settlement.  The $5.6B settlement on behalf of approximately 12,000,000 class members was approved in March of 2023, after fifteen years of litigation, with the first attempt at settlement being in 2019.  Unfortunately, for the litigants and their counsel, the administration and distribution phase of this settlement could take another 2-3 years, or longer.  

Litigation financing removes the burden of time for plaintiffs by allowing them to accelerate their payment once a settlement is reached. No more waiting, no more delays, just the funding needed to help rebuild, repair, or recover.  

If you are tired of playing the waiting game, reach out to the team at RD Legal Funding. Let’s discuss your options for accelerating settlement payments.

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