Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sierra Madre City Councilmember John Harabedian's Controversial New Employment Opportunity

I picked up on this article from my Google News feed. I don't know if you are aware, but you can identify any number of topics of interest to you, input them into the easy to use application found there, and should something show up on the Internet somewhere regarding your concern it will appear in your email within a matter of minutes.

Just in case you are wondering how I manage to come across such things. And frankly, this one is quite interesting. It comes from a venerable legal news service called The Los Angeles Journal (link), which apparently has been around from way back in the 1800s. It is a subscription only site, so I am not able to provide you with a direct link to this particular article. But as a service to you, the concerned Sierra Madre resident who needs to know, I am reproducing it here.


All of which sounds somewhat good. After all, who could ever have a problem with helping out po' bucker litigants with potential $100 million dollar lawsuits on their hands? Legal counsel does not come cheap, after all, and you will always need money to make money.

However, and as any close follower of the governmental and legal affairs of this portion of God's greatest land is likely to tell you, larding something over with the familiar language of social concern does not necessary mean that this interesting legal service will limit itself to just the downtrodden and oppressed. Not when there is some of that long green to be made.

After all, isn't it true that when you want to sell people on something in California, the proven way of doing so is to claim it will help make the world a better place? Investors take note.

I was fortunate enough to be able to discuss today's news with someone who knows a lot about this expanding niche legal field, and he enlightened me about some of the claims our guy John Harabedian makes for himself in the above article. The obvious undertone being that he is taking a very lucrative position and spinning it as the embodiment of advanced legal social responsibility.

Here are a few points.

- Harabedian will be salaried and highly paid, but Bentham, the company, operates on the premise that they’re “evening the playing field.” They find cases likely to win, that normally would take too much money and time to litigate, and fund the attorneys working on them, knowing that they, the investment company, will get a cut of the ultimate award.

- It’s very hush hush, you rarely find out which cases they are even involved in, but this company will at least tell you they have a 90% success rate of winning cases, so far they have put money into 180 lawsuits and have gotten back $1.7 billion from their investments.

- The red herring Harabedian flies is that they’re helping fund the cases of average joe’s who have been wronged and can’t afford to litigate their cases. The reality is they only really pick large commercial litigation where the payout is big enough to be worth their while. So two big companies fighting over trade secrets or breach of contract would be an obvious example. Opponents of the practice say it’s flooding the system with frivolous lawsuits.

Harabedian will decide quietly, confidentially, to back this company or that company in its suit, because even if the business in legal trouble is rich and powerful, it can’t put so much of its capital at risk litigating. So he gets big business connections by deciding which corporation gets to have their bill footed in the short term, based on strength of case and wealth of opponent. Part of it is the merits, but who wouldn’t get a better chance at winning with unlimited funds to litigate and appeal? It’s a blank legal check and he’s the new gateway.

- Even if everything stays above board, the more believable story is he’s taking the revolving door special interest business route up the ladder, so it is a time-honored political path. Harabedian is just trying to spin it as something less sinister than what it is.

A press release from Bentham IMF is available on-line and you can link to it here. Note this line: "Clients utilizing Bentham’s funding have retained an average of 63% of all case proceeds."

I guess that leaves 37% for the investors. Operators are now standing by to take your call.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

63 comments:

  1. Will we soon see John Harabedian's face and phone number on the back end of local buses?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe, if it'll lead to Sacramento.

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    2. Sell the rights to your lawsuit to lawyers! 1-800 Trust Us!

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  2. Did his friend with the illegal 1300 square foot building ever have to tear it down? If not, why not?

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    1. If you are referring to the backhouse exercise room on Highland across from the elem. school... any notice that a City prelim. hearing sign was just posted in their front yard, maybe yesterday? Anyone know what crap they're trying to pull over now?

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  3. New Rule. Never vote in a lawyer. Or a litigation financier. Geez just say litigation financier three times straight and you're bound to hurl.

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    1. On the other hand, there really are such things as good lawyers. We have known a few in Sierra Madre. Just a few. Given that developers are lawyered up to the teeth, if we can find the good ones to be on our side, it helps.

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    2. if a lawyer runs for Council in SM and is supported by the real estate lobby - then you know he or she is bad news for the city

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  4. Invest in a trial? Do you get stock?

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    Replies
    1. This is a gob-smacking hustle.

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    2. It looks like you get a very healthy return in your investment, while helping the poor. Huh.

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  5. Congratulations to John. Nothing new in the "field" of law. This sounds like a good place to settle for awhile; while raising a family.
    New field of law of some interest just for a brain tease; the ownership of the airspace above your home.

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    Replies
    1. It sounds like a corrupt greedy practice that will make some people very wealthy, and eventually rot from within.

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  6. Wonder how many lawsuits Athens has had?

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  7. 7:03, how high can you fly a kite?

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  8. May one the first one to respectfully request Attorney Harabedian to step down from Sierra Madre City Council? He got his Mayor title so now he can focus 100% of his time loan sharking even more lawsuits. What a country!

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    Replies
    1. I've got the feeling he's just cruising on the council, marking time...

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    2. Harabedian is watching out for the cop union. People who certainly got their money's worth with Measure UUT.

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  9. 7:43am. One of my favorite movies; Mary Poppins. The father was in banking and in the end he understood the importance of flying a kite. So maybe you should have a spoonful of sugar and have a nice day :)

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  10. So what if John has a new job. When he started to work with the DA he got bashed on this blog. Now he gets bashed for leaving and taking a new job with some of the people he used to work with at the old law firm. He was also bashed for working at the law firm. John is a smart guy although I don't always...usually never....agree with him.

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    Replies
    1. The affairs of elected officials are often discussed in the media. It is the role of a free press. Do you have a problem with democratically determined inquiry?

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  11. I'm confused - the quote from Harabedian makes it sound like this is some kind of philanthropic organization, and he's joined to fight for the little guy, the disadvantaged. You think it isn't so?

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    1. Johnny's looking at big money...bet some of those cases pay off in the millions...

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    2. So these lawsuits are funded by the lawfirm, and if won they get almost 40% of the total haul? There really ought to be a law. Lock them up!

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    3. People don't have to use them. 40% is for a contingency. Clients can also choose to pay an hourly rate. I have no problem with what they are doing. It's done all the time.

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    4. "It's done all the time."

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    5. So is human trafficking. I guess 5:57 is ok with that as well?

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    6. Corporate lawsuits are done all the time. But few people have the gall to say this is done to help the poor and oppressed.

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  12. Let's discuss Bill's affairs in order to keep this free press (blog) rolling. Where has Monica been hiding? Has Hilary turned her over to the Russians? Inquiring minds want to know.

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    1. Why are you regurgitating ancient history to defend a proven and very current traitor?

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    2. As long as the Apricot Troglodyte is running, there will be endless discussions of national politics. I'm glad to see one day of focus on our wee town.
      Our council has been doing a pretty good job, but that doesn't mean you can take your eyes off them.
      Price of liberty and all that.

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    3. I gather, 11:12, that you haven't heard any TED talks. Monica's given one.

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    4. 11:12 seems to be a lot like a lot of Trump supporters. The more they yowl the worse Trump does.

      http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/trump-poll-august-slide-227051

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    5. Trump is sinking fast. http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/#now

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  13. So does this mean Harabedian could be prosecuting the police for an altercation in which a homeless person is injured or worse? In other words, suing the state?

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  14. Harabedian's fortay is in the area of financial law. He would be able to go after the Clinton Foundation for example.

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    Replies
    1. Or all of the Putin money and in-kind donations (spying and hacking) flowing to the Trump campaign.

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  15. Maybe Mr. Harabedian can sue Federal Government for Afordable Health Care. NOT. Atena pulling out. More of the promises of elite Politicians; don't read the law until after it passes!

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    1. Explain how Romney-Obamacare has hurt you 1:35.

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    2. I'm not 1:35, but I'll answer. Before ObamaCare, $430/mo. for me and the spouse with an HMO $1,000 deductible & $2,000 max.

      After ObamaCare, $1,000/mo. for me and the spouse, PPO with $8,000 deductible and $12,000 max (or was that $16,000?)

      7:15, Denial is not a river in Egypt.

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    3. Kind of a stupid argument. Obamacare is for poor people, many of whom get it at no cost. If you can afford the numbers cited above, you don't need Obamacare. You can instead get raped by the usual private health care companies.

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    4. Somethimng like 65% of the people who "got health insurance" actually got added to Medicaid. What a successful ObamaCare program! Free shit that was free before. Just screwed everyone else when the Democrats (no Republicans) jammed this through.

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  16. Off topic. Anybody know why the Mtn Views News website hasn't been updated since August 6?

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    Replies
    1. One can only hope that the con Henderson has finally latched on to some other host.

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    2. Lack of readers?

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    3. Has the paper version come out lately?

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    4. There was an edition that came out last weekend. It is a available at the library. Not much in it, though.

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  17. Hmm ... I'm familiar with and have something to say about this topic, but I'm not sure if it's worth the time because I took the time to write a somewhat lengthy comment late yesterday afternoon but it wasn't posted.

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    1. 5:14, sometimes comments go astray - they'll end up in spam, or not come through at all.

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  18. just another f..... plaintiff's attorney, making money at someone else's expense. Good work for doing little, he should fit in fine ....

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  19. I was addressing all the distrust and hatred of Hillary, much of which stems from 25 years of mainly sham accusations against her ranging from being part of a conspiracy to kill Vince Foster to being completely responsible for Benghazi. (Yes, she used her personal email, but so did Condi and Colin; no doubt the three of them knew it was wrong, and it certainly was foolish, but they wanted to control what might be released and therefore have some measure of control over their reputations.)

    I see two main reasons why Hillary has been targeted so vehemently and for so long: (1) to hobble Bill's presidency and (2) they knew she was coming.

    There is a better reason to dislike Hillary than unproven hyperbole, and that is her likely support of Bill's triangulation policy.

    By taking right of center positions, Bill rather brilliantly co-opted the Republican agenda, making it his own. In doing so, though, he caused the relatively benign right wing conservatives of the Nixon and Reagan molds to become the far, far right conservatives for whom facts and reason are superfluous and unnecessary and winning everything. They became W's “I believe it therefore it's true” base, then fostered the worst no-nothing, do-nothing-but-obfuscate Congresses in our still great nation's history, and now culminating in Trump, who holds no true positions on anything other than positions that will make Trump (think he's) great again (and again and again).

    So maybe there is a good reason to dislike the idea of another Clinton in the White House. But sheesh, I'll take dislike over downright scary and seditious any day.

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    1. 6:08, as tough as this election cycle is to take, once in a while, a clear analysis like yours comes along. God bless and keep your lucidity.

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  20. First, I know nothing about Bentham IMF and doubt the former mayor would become involved with a shady company.

    But there are some real shady pre-settlement, litigation, and appeal finance companies out there. Some may be organized crime and many are just sleazy. One disbarred California attorney who was thrice (yes, thrice) convicted of grand theft of client funds in separate proceedings promptly set up a pre-settlement finance business in Nevada. Many charge high monthly interest on the loaned funds, leaving little or nothing for the plaintiff.

    Again, I don't know anything about Bentham, but the notion that a plaintiff may have a lawsuit worth $100 million but doesn't have law firms doing everything they can to sign up the client on a contingency basis and fronting costs sounds a bit preposterous. Maybe there are some lawsuits like that, but at that valuation?

    What I suspect may be happening in the litigation finance field goes beyond legitimizing the industry and obtaining a larger market share for dominant players. I suspect the industry is poising itself to make direct inroads into medium and large law firms, many of which generate enormous sums of money.

    Generally, lawyers are not permitted to split fees with non-lawyers or become partners with non-lawyers if the partnership is engaged in the practice of law, so moneyed non-lawyers cannot join the party. The basic rationale is so that lawyers' independent judgment on client matters is not compromised.

    It's possible that as these litigation finance companies become mainstream, generating large cash flows, they will have the clout to "educate" legislators on just how essential they are in the legal services landscape. Surely, some argument can be made that direct investment in law firms would help society by more efficiently funding the provision of legal services.

    We'll see if these companies are on the forefront of getting legislation that enables them to invest directly in and own shares of law firms. We may be on the verge of seeing publicly traded law firm stock.

    Wouldn't it be fun to buy put options on a conservative DC law firm the day before the election? Or should we buy calls?

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  21. I don't know about buying or paying out in conservative DC lawfirms but i bet Crooked Hillary Clinton Esq. Sure does. Her dear friend George Soros is heavily funding the Democratic party in order to squash free speech. But then he is a Communist. So, now what were you saying "we"should buy? Mercenaries like George is? Are you sure you have America in your best interests?

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    1. Smoke crack much?

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    2. Rhetorical much guy nailin' it.

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    3. Cold War guy nailin' it.

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    4. I'm glad they caught the arsonist who's been setting the fires all season. Ex firefighter convict patrol too. Now there's a worthy news story

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    5. Pleasure Putin much?

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