“John and Amy Bair’s foundation provides a very valuable service for those who need it most,” she said. “Their services level the playing field between those injured by corporate wrongdoing and the deep-pocket defendants. Without these resources, so many injured people would be effectively stopped from pursuing meritorious legal claims — a very real problem for people whose lives have been turned upside down.”
— Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice LLC, quoted in the Buffalo Law Journal
Litigation is expensive. Many people involved in a personal injury lawsuit, for example, are out of work either because of their injuries or because they are taking care of a loved one who was hurt. If they exhaust their savings during litigation, they may turn to a non-recourse funding company for capital so they can survive until settlement. But the interest rates in the for-profit, non-recourse industry often make the cost of capital exorbitant for plaintiffs. The situation sticks families between a rock and a hard place: obtain funding and pay 50%, 100%, or even 200% in interest later, or lose their home and struggle to put food on the table.
The Bairs Foundation is working to change that situation for as many plaintiffs in need as possible. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the foundation provides financial assistance during litigation at 7% simple interest.
What is Non-Recourse Lending?
When seeking financial assistance from a third party, plaintiffs generally have two borrowing options: recourse and non-recourse. Non-recourse companies provide an advance on a person’s settlement; in other words, if a person borrows a non-recourse advance from a company and does not recover a settlement, that person is not personally obligated to pay the company back. That’s how they justify the exorbitant interest rates: non-recourse funders do not hold borrowers personally liable – if a plaintiff loses his or her case, the company loses its money.
Alternative litigation finance, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), is “…the funding of litigation activities by entities other than the parties themselves, their counsel, or other entities with a pre-existing contractual relationship with one of the parties, such as an indemnitor or a liability insurer.” The ABA has noted the transactions have increasingly been the subject of scrutiny by state bar ethics committees.
The Bairs Foundation is breaking the status quo in non-recourse finance by providing capital with low interest.
Funding Plaintiffs on a Nonprofit Basis
The Bairs Foundation seeks to bring more ethical goodwill into the civil justice community by providing the necessary funding for plaintiffs on a not-for-profit basis. When financial relief comes without the usury interest rates of for-profit lenders, plaintiffs and their families can survive the course of their litigation and thrive afterward.
Because the Bairs Foundation is a nonprofit organization, it relies on the assistance of donations to keep helping families. Consider contributing to the cause by donating to the foundation’s crowdfunding campaign.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).