Oversight Hearing Puts Spotlight on Climate Litigation Financing

In a wide-ranging, nearly four-hour hearing this Wednesday, members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform took a deep dive into the shadowy third-party litigation financing industry and the ethical issues that arise when well-funded activists manipulate the civil justice system.

While some members of the Committee framed this potentially ethically-challenged financing method as providing greater access to the justice system for plaintiffs who otherwise may not be able to afford lengthy and costly litigation, the reality is that’s not typically what it’s used for. Third-party financing is more often used to bring frivolous or politically motivated lawsuits that enrich plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) focused his opening statement on how third-party litigation funding allows left-wing nonprofits and donors to advance political agendas through costly litigation:

We know that activist groups use this funding to push policies that they could not enact through the legislative process. Some left-wing groups funneled millions to law firms to sue companies across the country on questionable legal grounds. They’re trying to use the courts to put these companies out of business or limit their ability to bring new products to market.”


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