Judge Brody Issues Unprecedented Ruling, Blocking Litigation Financing in NFL Concussion Case

A recent ruling by a federal judge in the NFL Concussion Case may make some waves in the litigation financing industry. The ruling by Judge Anita B. Brody voids the contracts between a number of former NFL players and litigation finance lenders. The players, who suffer from cognitive impairment as a result of football-related concussions, took out high-interest loans to finance their lawsuit against the NFL. The money advanced would be paid back from the proceeds of the settlement—which totals $1 billion.

The ruling by Judge Brody would void contracts between the retired players and a number of litigation finance firms, including Atlas Legal Funding, RD Legal Funding LLC, and Cash 4 Cases. Class counsel Christopher Seeger filed the motion asking the court to set aside the contracts. Although Seeger’s motion named only RD Legal Funding, Judge Brody’s ruling applies to any agreement “that assigned or attempted to assign any monetary claims.”

Judge Brody’s ruling could test the power of courts to regulate litigation financing agreements. Reuters reports that there is “a booming industry in advancing cash to plaintiffs expecting payouts in personal injury cases.” Litigation funding is a mechanism used by plaintiffs and their lawyers to finance their lawsuits against large defendants with deep pockets. Lawsuits may go on for years, and few plaintiffs have the resources to stay the course without some third-party financial assistance. Modern litigation funding is a way around the common law doctrines of champerty and maintenance.

Regulation of litigation funding agreements exists in some, but not all, states. Also, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stepped into the field of litigation funding and has brought action against RD Legal Funding for litigation funding practices. The Trump administration may cut back the CPFB’s activities in a variety of areas, including regulation of litigation funding. However, the sweeping ruling by Judge Brody should be a wake-up call for every firm in the litigation funding industry. What will happen next in the litigation funding world is uncertain.

Americans View Mortgage Debt More Favorably Than Other Types of Debt, But Views Change in Retirement

Consumers view mortgage debt more favorably than other types of debt, but that decreases during retirement as opposed to working years, according to a LIMRA study.

The survey found while two-thirds of consumers see mortgage debt during working years as “good” debt, only 4 in 10 feel the same way in retirement. Two-thirds of respondents said people shouldn’t carry mortgage debt into retirement.

As for the least favorable debt to have in retirement? 81 percent of consumers said it was student loan debt. The least favorable debt held during working years is credit card debt, with 7 in 10 people reporting credit card debt shouldn’t be carried into retirement.

Is Working Longer Good for Everyone? Maybe Not, Research Finds

Working longer is a good way to improve your chances of a secure retirement, but is it a realistic option for people across the socioeconomic spectrum?

A study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, says given rising life expectancies, it is reasonable for lower socioeconomic status workers to work somewhat longer. But, it may be harder for them to work longer, if they face narrower job options than workers with higher socioeconomic status. At the same time, researchers say people are not living longer equally, lower socioeconomic status workers are not making as many gains.

Overall, the results show higher socioeconomic status individuals can work longer than lower socioeconomic people while still maintaining the same fraction of their life retired. At the same time, researchers say lower socioeconomic status workers can stay in the labor force long enough to improve their standard of living in retirement. For example, a man in the lowest quartile can work to age 68 and still maintain the same work-to-retirement ratio as the higher socioeconomic status workers.

Researchers say “it is fair to expect lower socioeconomic status workers to work longer, although not as long as higher socioeconomic workers.” They add since lower socioeconomic status workers have more difficulty extending their careers than higher socioeconomic status workers, policy makers should consider ways to help support their retirement security.

Bon Jovi, Dire Straits Among Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Nina Simone are the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Gospel pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe was chosen for the early influence award. Bon Jovi also won the Rock & Roll Hall’s fan poll.

The 33rd induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 14, 2018 in Cleveland. Artists are eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording.

The inductees were chosen by more than 900 votes among historians and members of the music industry, along with fan votes.

Nina Simone passed away in 2003. Sister Rosetta Tharpe passed away in 1973.

Financial Future Outlook of Gen Zers, LIMRA Study

You hear so much about Millennials, sometimes people forget Gen Zers, a group that by 2020, will be nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, according to a LIMRA study. The study looked at Gen Zers’ -- those aged 16 and 17 -- financial futures.

The study found Gen Zers are very interested in learning about financial topics, like paying for college or strategies on how to save. LIMRA researchers found almost three quarters of Gen Zers use YouTube for retail product or service reviews and 97 percent of Gen Zers own smartphones. LIMRA researchers suggest companies consider developing apps and other mobile tools to help Gen Zers start saving early.

LIMRA recommends companies that want to connect and establish relationships with Gen Zers develop content that is customized to Gen Zers goals and priorities. According to LIMRA, college costs are at an all-time high and companies and financial advisors who can create relationships with Gen Zers early on can benefit from a long-term profitable partnership.