Attorneys seeking litigation finance for their clients often ask about the discoverability of communications with litigation finance providers. Judge Susan Illston (N.D. Cal.) recently considered the issue in MLC Intellectual Property LLC v. Micron Tech. and denied Micron’s request for discovery into potential litigation funding as not relevant. Click here for the order. Micron sought the information “to uncover possible bias issues.” The Court called Micron’s request “speculative” after noting that MLC had complied with the local rules regarding disclosure of financial interests, that Micron would be able to question jurors in camera about relationships with funders, and that MLC had represented that the case was not being funded by any non-party witnesses.
In what many consider to be the seminal case on the issue of discoverability of litigation finance agreements and related communications, Judge Jeffrey Cole (N.D. Ill.) in Miller v. Caterpillar provided an extensive compilation of relevant cases and detailed analysis of the relevant issues before denying the requested discovery. The Court held that the litigation finance agreement was not privileged but was also not relevant, and that the communications with the funder were potentially relevant but protected by the work product doctrine. Click here for the order.