Monday, January 29, 2018

#MeThree

How the Finance Industry is Cashing in on #MeToo:

Accusations of sexual harassment have felled dozens of executives, but in one quiet corner of the financial world, the #MeToo movement looks like a golden opportunity.
Companies that offer money to plaintiffs in anticipation of future legal settlements are racing to capitalize on sexual harassment lawsuits.
That is setting off alarms in some quarters because the industry, like payday lenders, has a history of providing cash at exorbitant interest rates to customers who need the money for living and sometimes medical expenses.
The largely unregulated companies have operated with less public scrutiny than the rest of the litigation finance industry, which provides money to law firms to fund commercial lawsuits.
Historically, settlement-advance businesses have targeted personal injury and medical malpractice plaintiffs, many of them referred by their lawyers. But in recent months, lawyers say, more pitches are directed at women with sexual harassment claims.
 For example, days after news broke of the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment, LawCash, a settlement-advance company, was trying to cash in. “Sexual abuse is a crime #HarveyWeinstein,” read a LawCash tweet. The Brooklyn company offered cash upfront to sexual abuse plaintiffs “if you or someone you know is in need of financial help.”
Nice. Because if a buck can be made off it, it will be made off it, and the issue or seriousness of the movement itself becomes just another commodity.
The settlement-advance firms get paid back only if a plaintiff collects money from a lawsuit. They make money by charging interest rates as high as 100 percent, which they are able to do because technically the money is considered an advance — not a loan — and therefore is not subject to state usury laws.
For the past two decades, settlement-advance companies have been chasing the hottest — and most lucrative — trends in litigation. They have provided advances to victims of surgical vaginal mesh products; those suffering from ailments related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks; and former National Football League players with brain injuries.
“There are some companies that are trying to ride that ‘me too’ thing, and we are not doing that,” said T. Thomas Colwell, chief executive of TriMark Legal Funding in Oregon. “That is just opportunistic.”
LOL. But not vaginal mesh products, or football players committing suicide because their brains have been destroyed by the game. That's just good old fashioned business sense.
Nova — the same company that advanced money to Ms. Rothermund — plans to announce that it will provide financing for lawyers pursuing Hollywood sexual harassment cases.
“We’re trying to level the playing field in cases against big Hollywood players,” said Ron Sinai, Nova’s founder.
What a joke. In today's over-heated, borderline McCarthy-era red scare environment re sexual harassment allegations, these clowns are going make serious, serious coin via moral panic. 

And the worse irony: an otherwise healthy social movement by women and about women, will be exploited and commodified by the sexist and patriarchal nature of all the all-male predatory lending industry.

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