Another US judgment confirms work product privilege in litigation finance

July 2017

On 30 June, a federal judge of the Northern District of Illinois rendered a decision in the Viamedia, Inc. v. Comcast Corporation and Comcat Spotlight, LP case concerning the disclosure of litigation finance-related documents.
In said case, the defendant Comcast had moved to compel claimant Viamedia to produce certain documents, notably documents sent to potential litigation funders. Viamedia argued that such documents were privileged and that it had not waived privilege. Said argumentation was welcomed by the federal judge, which denied the motion, adding that the attorney-client privilege was not at stake, as said documents were protected by the work-product doctrine, according to which documents prepared by or for a party’s attorney in anticipation of litigation should be kept confidential. Another aspect taken into account by the judge was the fact that Viamedia had signed NDAs with the various litigation funders to which it had sent the documents concerned by Comcast’s request for disclosure.
This confirms a coherent streak of decisions on similar issues in the United States, notably in the Miller UK v. Caterpillar Inc. (2014) and Walker Dig., LLC v. Google, Inc. (2013) cases.