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'Legalist' Startup Automates The Lawsuit Strategy Peter Thiel Used To Bankrupt Gawker (gizmodo.com) 242

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Gizmodo: "Two Harvard undergraduates have created a service called Legalist that uses what they call 'data-backed litigation financing,' analyzing civil lawsuits with an algorithm to predict case outcomes and determine which civil lawsuits are worth investing in," reports Gizmodo. The process is very similar to what billionaire Peter Thiel did when he secretly funded a lawsuit from Hulk Hogan against Gawker Media. "Legalist says it uses an algorithm of 58 different variables including, as [Legalist cofounder] Eva Shang told the Silicon Valley Business Journal, who the presiding judge is and the number of cases the judge is currently working on. The algorithm has been fed cases dating back to 1989 and helps people figure out how long a case will last and the risks associated with it. In a presentation at Y Combinator's Demo Day on Tuesday [Legalist was developed as part of Y Combinator's Summer 2016 class], the founders claimed that the startup funded one lawsuit for $75,000 and expects a return of more than $1 million. Shang says the $1.40 is earned for every $1 spent in litigation financing, which can prove to be a profitable enterprise when you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars." Shang told Business Insider in reference to the Gawker lawsuit, "That's the kind of thing we're staying away from here." The company will supposedly be focusing on commercial and small-business lawsuits, and will not be backing lawsuits by individuals.
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'Legalist' Startup Automates The Lawsuit Strategy Peter Thiel Used To Bankrupt Gawker

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  • Pro tip (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:14PM (#52765989)

    If you don't want to be bankrupted, don't post a nude sex tape of someone who was filmed without his knowledge, and then ignore a court order to take it down. Just saying.

    • A better pro tip (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @09:58PM (#52766427)
      And if you were the Supreme Court, they would have listened to you. Thing is: Gawker didn't know that and thought they were on firm legal ground. If they knew this would happen they wouldn't have done it. This is the problem: You don't find out if you're right or wrong until you've paid lawyers millions of dollars. Shouldn't be like that.

      The courts are a crapshoot. With a different judge and jury, Hogan and Thiel could have lost.

      Also "Two Harvard undergraduates" This is why everyone hates Harvard [slashdot.org].
      • Re:A better pro tip (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ranton ( 36917 ) on Thursday August 25, 2016 @08:54AM (#52768389)

        Thing is: Gawker didn't know that and thought they were on firm legal ground. If they knew this would happen they wouldn't have done it. This is the problem: You don't find out if you're right or wrong until you've paid lawyers millions of dollars. Shouldn't be like that.

        Gawker knew it was pushing boundaries of the law. I'd agree that no one could have claimed with 100% certainty which way this case would go three years ago when they first ignored a judge's order, but that doesn't mean this result is some kind of big surprise either. When you break the law, even when you think the law is unjust, you accept the possibility of severe consequences.

        The courts are a crapshoot.

        This is why you settle, and why you don't try to make political or social commentary in our court system unless you are willing to lose everything. That is what lobbying is for.

        Gawker knowingly put its existence in jeopardy by fighting this court case. They are not a babe in woods here.

      • by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Thursday August 25, 2016 @11:10AM (#52769303) Journal

        This is wrong. Dangerously wrong.

        If a judge gives a bad order that will hurt you, you file for a stay of that order pending appeal. Ignoring the order leads to punishment, as happened here! The Supreme Court has limited jurisdiction, they are simply going to ignore almost all of the petitions for a writ of certiorari sent to them. And it you will still get punished for just ignoring the order even if you were right! You can't just wait for orders from a higher court to comply. If the judge refuses to stay their order while you appeal it, you have to comply. Period. If they were wrong, well, you'll have to convince the courts of that on appeal. You don't get to just ignore everyone but the Supreme Court because you don't like an adverse ruling, it simply does not and hasn't ever worked that way.

        I can't believe people modded this up, because it displays utter ignorance of legal process. Seriously, at least a few of you should have read Groklaw. You can go back and find that even SCO knew better than to flat-out ignore a court order like that. You can find many times where they asked for stays, plenty of times where they sent surreplies and dug in their heels at every opportunity to avoid complying, but not so much where they simply ignored the order.

        So let that sink in for a moment: Gawker sunk below SCO's level here.

        I tend to blame the client here, because I have to believe anyone could have made it through law school if they were giving advice that bad. If not, they're free to explore a legal malpractice claim against their own lawyers. Because what they did is so mind-bendingly stupid that you have to be willfully ignorant of legal process to think it makes any kind of sense that you can ignore anyone lower than the Supreme Court.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      You should see the stories over at Gawker today. Oh the anger and outrage over Leslie Jone's nude photos and passport information leaked. But Hulk Hogan's sex tape is totally different...

    • Re:Pro tip (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gilgongo ( 57446 ) on Thursday August 25, 2016 @01:35AM (#52767039) Homepage Journal

      If you don't want to be bankrupted, don't post a nude sex tape of someone who was filmed without his knowledge, and then ignore a court order to take it down. Just saying.

      Well then, you'll have good answers to all these questions [freedom.press], I assume.

      • by Entrope ( 68843 )

        I have some other questions:

        • If you're going to point to federal court rulings, why use a broken Twitter link?
        • If a court decides that you did $115M worth of tort damages to someone's career, is it fair that you only pay $25M in punitive damages after crowing about how you will ignore court orders, "joking" that a 5 year old's sex tape would be newsworthy, and generally holding a double standard about leaking sex tapes?
        • Which serious lapse does this guy want Gawker to get a pass on? Publishing a tape that br
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Let me try to answer those questions? They seem quite biased and misleading, so I want to separate out the bias as best I can.

        - Judges commented the story was newsworthy and protected? Sounds good to me, but the sex video and the news aren't the same thing.

        - Size of the award? The average wrongful death case is worth about 1 million dollars. Sounds about right. This 'news' cost Hogan millions of dollars though, both current and future. I have no problem whatsoever with him trying to get back what he lost, w

        • It's sad that legal ignorance hits +5, but someone who actually understands the process is languishing unseen.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:18PM (#52766011)
    startup wanted to cash in on this. Lawsuits as a Service! Can't wait until this extends to software patent litigation.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:41PM (#52766119)

      startup wanted to cash in on this. Lawsuits as a Service! Can't wait until this extends to software patent litigation.

      If there is a problem with the legal system, then the solution is to fix that problem rather than deny people access to the courts. This app is a Good Thing if it means that normal people can have the same access to justice as billionaires like Peter.

      • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:47PM (#52766153) Homepage Journal

        That was my thought as well, that this sounds like an awesome way of helping (at least some) people get access to the justice they deserve, until they got to the part about not helping lawsuits by individuals, only businesses.

        • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @09:01PM (#52766217) Homepage Journal

          If something like this were available to individuals, it could have been very useful to me recently. Last year it came to light that a relative may have wronged the rest of my family to the tune of a possibly very large sum of money that I hadn't even known existed, but the lawyer informing me of this likelihood could not act on it himself (on my family's behalf) because of his prior involvement in the situation, so advised me to get another lawyer and file suit about it myself. But just the filing fees, never mind attorney's fees, would be about a month's rent, and I can't risk that kind of money just to find out whether there's a lot more money due to me or not. I asked several lawyers if they would look at the facts of the matter (neatly packaged by the involved lawyer), decide whether it seemed likely that they would win the case, and take it on a contingency basis if so, but none would even consider that.

          With an algorithm like this, available to individuals, they (this new startup) could have made the assessment of whether I was likely to win the case, and funded it if so. Something like that could do miracles for justice, if it were available to individuals.

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            With an algorithm like this, available to individuals, they (this new startup) could have made the assessment of whether I was likely to win the case, and funded it if so.

            You've already consulted several professional lawyers on the matter. Why would the algorithm be any different? The only thing I see that could be relevant is that the business might be able to tap into commercial financial records or spending patterns of your relative and determine at the least that they had a sudden surge of wealth or spending about the time of the supposed appropriation.

            • You've already consulted several professional lawyers on the matter. Why would the algorithm be any different?

              I asked the lawyers if they would consider a contingency basis if they thought it was likely the case would be won, and they wouldn't even look to see if the case was likely to be won. This startup's entire business is looking to see which cases are likely to be won, and funding the ones that are. It's still possible that they would find my case unlikely to be won and I'd still be stuck, but (if they took individual and not only business cases) they would at least give me a "yes or no" answer rather than "s

              • by khallow ( 566160 )

                rather than "show me the money first then I'll think about it".

                That's a "no". Again, I don't see what an algorithm is going to do differently. It's still a huge risk and odds are likely that any similar cases are money sinks. What you need here IMHO is more than just legal advice. You need stronger evidence of the alleged wrong-doing.

                • You still seem to be missing the point.

                  This business looks at your case (the evidence and other factors), decides if it's a good investment (likely to win big) or not, and if so, funds it.

                  I couldn't get someone to so much as look at the evidence without first paying them.

                  Nobody said "I don't think you have a case here, so no, I won't take it on contingency". They said "pay me and I'll see whether or not you have a case here."

                  This business necessarily must do the "see if you have a case here" part first (rat

            • You've already consulted several professional lawyers on the matter.

              Many lawyers give horrible self-serving "advice", and will rarely take small cases on contingency. If they were honest, decent people, then they wouldn't have become lawyers in the first place.

              Why would the algorithm be any different?

              1. It is free.
              2. It has no vested interest in lying to you.

          • This algorithm requires that case to already be assigned to a docket. This behavior happens now, but it's lawyer to applies to the investor group, and their lawyers who evaluate it.

            It sounds like several lawyers already rejected your case. That is prima facia evidence to an algorithm it has no merit.

            Keep in mind, this isn't "how worthy is this case" but "of my limited funds, where should I invest?"

          • But just the filing fees, never mind attorney's fees, would be about a month's rent, and I can't risk that kind of money just to find out whether there's a lot more money due to me or not. I asked several lawyers if they would look at the facts of the matter (neatly packaged by the involved lawyer), decide whether it seemed likely that they would win the case, and take it on a contingency basis if so, but none would even consider that.

            Payday Lawsuits? "Come on down, and let's sue somebody!"

          • If something like this were available to individuals, it could have been very useful to me recently. Last year it came to light that a relative may have wronged the rest of my family to the tune of a possibly very large sum of money that I hadn't even known existed, but the lawyer informing me of this likelihood could not act on it himself (on my family's behalf) because of his prior involvement in the situation, so advised me to get another lawyer and file suit about it myself. But just the filing fees, never mind attorney's fees, would be about a month's rent, and I can't risk that kind of money just to find out whether there's a lot more money due to me or not. I asked several lawyers if they would look at the facts of the matter (neatly packaged by the involved lawyer), decide whether it seemed likely that they would win the case, and take it on a contingency basis if so, but none would even consider that.

            My best friend is a guy I've known since college. After graduation he went to law school and he's taught me a lot about how the law really works in the USA. I'm not claiming I can practice law, but let's just say that I'm a talented amateur with a better understanding of the system and its realities than the average Joe who isn't a lawyer. I can tell you that lawyers do not care at all if you were wronged and getting justice bankrupts you and ruins your life financially. Nor do they think that you being

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The problem is that it is for-profit, so if your lawsuit has merit but won't make a good return they won't help you. That will encourage people to ramp up the amount they claim to RIAA levels, to attract funding.

        • The problem is the Justice System allows the Rich to have advantages. More Money = More Lawyers = More Research = More Chances on finding a loophole = More Victories.

          So the little guy who was wronged will lose out because the rich guy will win by a technicality.

          Now I have been involved in helping doing the research for the company against the little guy, and from my experience most of the time the little guy is at fault too. Where they are often abusing the company's services well past the contracted amoun

      • Except the last sentence said that it will not be used for individual lawsuits. Instead, it will be corp suing another corp.
    • I can hear the 80s era commercial version of their service.

      "Is that pesky first amendment getting in your way?
      Is someone saying things about you that you don't like?
      Did someone publicize something sleazy that you did but was recorded without your knowledge?

      We can help. We'll sue them into oblivion and maybe get you some money in the process.

      Call 1-800-SHYSTER
      There's no fee unless WE get money for YOU!"

      LK

  • End is Nigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by transami ( 202700 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:22PM (#52766023) Homepage

    Awesome. Unleashing AI and Big Data on the Law. The fireworks are going to be awesome on this one. I give it 10 maybe 20 years before the whole system implodes. Everyone will be sued into oblivion.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      You have no idea, how mass for profit law suits could screw up the system, just a year or two will be enough to collapse the courts and cripple industry.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:41PM (#52766117)
        High Frequency Suing.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I can actually see this happening. Bots will do speech/image recognition on the court feed. The nanosecond the judge blinks for the third time in less than 12.63 seconds the automated system withdraws funding for the current case and files a speculative countersuit electronically, just beating its rivals by a few microseconds thanks to the new fibre optic link to the courthouse server.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        I think this is probably the biggest issue here. Once one company starts doing this and enjoys any success at all people will pile on. We have so so many torts and criminal laws a like that simply get ignored by most people most of the time. If the system suddenly has to deal with them it won't hold up will.

        I mean the logical conclusion of this is a bots scraping peoples facebook and twitter feeds then e-mailing them "Did you know you may have a right to legal compensation for $(PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH YO

    • Awesome. Unleashing AI and Big Data on the Law. The fireworks are going to be awesome on this one. I give it 10 maybe 20 years before the whole system implodes. Everyone will be sued into oblivion.

      Only if nothing changes between then and now, which is never the case.
      The end is near prophecies always fail to take into account society's ability to adapt.

      • by bytesex ( 112972 )

        Also, the system has a weakness in it, in that it will incorporate the results that it helped create. Also, there will be competing programs, all influencing each other. We've had (we're continuing to have) broker prediction programs that suffer from the same. The result is never pretty.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > the founders claimed that the startup funded one lawsuit for $75,000 and expects a return of more than $1 million

    Or, you know, a loss of $75,000 if they lose the case.

  • by TroII ( 4484479 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:29PM (#52766065)

    Gawker's behavior bankrupted Gawker, end of story. Peter Thiel picked up the legal bills so that the person they wronged could afford to sue them. It's a sad commentary on the American legal system that even a celebrity with some extant wealth can't financially sustain a lawsuit on his own.

    • It's a sad commentary on the American legal system that even a celebrity with some extant wealth can't financially sustain a lawsuit on his own.

      It's also a sad commentary that the guy is a millionaire about a hundred times over because someone posted a sex tape of him. I wonder how many c-list celebrities would post their own sex tapes on the internet if they knew they could be multi-millionaires because of it.

      Gawker deserved to be sued and Bollea deserved some compensation, but $135,000,000 is too much by about two orders of magnitude.

      • Except anything less and nobody would have cared. Corporations aren't people. You can't lock them up, all you can do is bankrupt them. Anything less than putting them out of business and as far as the corporation is concerned it's just a cost to write off.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Thursday August 25, 2016 @03:02AM (#52767275) Homepage Journal

          You should create jail for corporations. They have it in Japan. The corporation can be ordered to do no business for a period of X days. I think the longest sentence was over 100 days. During that time staff get paid, but they are not allowed to do any work beyond the accounting needed for payroll and a bit of HR.

          It hurts more than just a fine, and the mostly innocent staff don't lose their jobs.

          • How is this any different from "fine of the amount of money your company would make in 100 days"?

            And if the company gets to continue on as if nothing happened, did the fine actually affect anything? The only way Gawker was going to stop is asshattery was to sue them out of existence.

        • There's no reason to give punitive damages to the person who sues the corporation. Let people designate a charity from an approved list to which their winnings (beyond a reasonable amount) will go. I say charity instead of sending the money to the government just so that the government doesn't have a vested interest in more lawsuits.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by TroII ( 4484479 )

        I wonder how many c-list celebrities would post their own sex tapes on the internet if they knew they could be multi-millionaires because of it.

        How, by suing themselves? This scheme only works when someone else posts the tape unlawfully. If the Hulkster had posted the video himself, he wouldn't have Gawker's money.

    • Gawker kept winning over the Hogan Family (as seen in VH1 series Hogan Knows Best and Brooke Knows Best) by outspending them, when the Hogans had solid facts behind them. So, some investors reviewed the case without money involved, then bought the Hogan claim and won big for everybody but Gawker.

    • Bankruptcy was an absurd punishment over a celebrity sex tape.

      This was never about a sex tape. It was about Thiel being pissed about an expose of homophobia within silicon valley in which he was outed. The original article Gawker published about him was actually, ironically enough, relatively good journalism, about a matter of legitimate public interest, only partially spoiled by Gawker's carelessness.

      You may want billionaires to dictate who can and who can't write the news. Me? I'd rather not live in

      • by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @10:14PM (#52766491)
        Bankruptcy is an absurd punishment over a celebrity sex tape. But that isn't what bankrupted them.

        Gawker got taken to court to have the film taken down, and lost. But decided to keep spreading the film anyway, and wrote an article bragging that they were going to ignore the ruling. Giving a big middle finger to the judicial system. That is what did them in. The court would have let them off much easier if they hadn't been complete assholes. It didn't help that AJ Daulerio "joked" that he would have given the green light to publish child porn.

        Finally the punishment wasn't to bankrupt them. Hogan only sought $100 million in damages, it was the court that felt he was owed more.
      • by TroII ( 4484479 )

        You may want billionaires to dictate who can and who can't write the news. Me? I'd rather not live in a thielocracy.

        Gawker wasn't under any threat from Thiel when they were writing the news. If they had stuck to writing the news, instead of committing crimes, defying a judge, and making kiddy porn jokes during legal depositions, they'd still be publishing today.

      • by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Thursday August 25, 2016 @12:11PM (#52769837)

        Yeah, that's it. Keep telling yourself that Gawker is the victim. [thedailybeast.com] Just double-down every time you get called out on your bullshit. If it works for Social Justice, it will work for you. (it doesn't work)

        So it is ok to shame people like Hogan and Thiel because they are jerks? Who gets to determine who is a jerk and who is not? The people doing the shaming? Got it.

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:37PM (#52766105)

    "Legalist says it uses an algorithm of 58 different variables including, as [Legalist cofounder] Eva Shang told the Silicon Valley Business Journal, who the presiding judge is

    That different judges give different outcomes is already common knowledge but putting an actual dollar value on it might have significant repercussions.

    What happens when someone asks for a judge to recuse themselves because the litigation value tripled when the judge got assigned? It's a lot harder to defend the integrity of the system when supposedly impartial actors have quantifiable effects.

    • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @10:12PM (#52766481)

      It's a lot harder to defend the integrity of the system when supposedly impartial actors have quantifiable effects.

      With that in mind, and given that algorithms, (and soon big data as well?), are now significant factors in the justice system, can 'algorithmic judges' be far behind? The court system will push back; but inevitably, the job of judging will have to at least be informed by computerized analyses of pertinent data. And eventually, the position of judge might simply be taken over by AI. Yes, that's a long way off, if it ever happens at all - but developments such as 'lawsuit as investment' are among many factors that will further drive the development of artificial intelligence.

      On a side note, I seem to recall something recently about automation being poised to take over something like 40% of law practice jobs in the next couple of decades. It seems that even the law biz isn't immune from digital disruption.

      • "And eventually, the position of judge might simply be taken over by AI."

        In my opinion, the chances of that happening are roughly equivalent to the chances of politicians being replaced by AI. There's a lot of influence-peddling involved in both, and the insiders like things the way they are.

        I'm not saying it can't happen, just that the forces in each case are similar and resistant to change.
      • The reason we have such a glut of lawyers is automation hit lawyers hard in the late '90s. It used to be you needed tons of associates with law degrees poring over paper tomes, and write about how they impact some area. Now, a computer can print up all 1,142 cases (with synopses about how they apply to that area, cause it's cached from the one associate who did that work) in minutes.

        And yet, law schools are the same size.

    • What happens when someone asks for a judge to recuse themselves because the litigation value tripled when the judge got assigned? It's a lot harder to defend the integrity of the system when supposedly impartial actors have quantifiable effects.

      Lawyers, the media, and insurance companies already do try to quantify the rulings of judges.

      It's not like this is anything new. Plus, it's not like these reports will be posted online for free. Some parts will, to gain attention and get publicity, but most of these won't since obviously the founder is trying to a make commercial product out of it since he's using YCombinator funding.

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @08:38PM (#52766107) Homepage Journal
    ...if it really worked, people would keep it a secret and wouldn't try or need to get VC money to fund it.
  • Function YouAreAWinner(PlaintiffSide as Object, Defense as Object) as Boolean
            If PlaintifSide.Facts > Defense.Arguments Then YouAreAWinner = True Else YouAreAWInner = False
    End Function

  • The solution to frivolous lawsuits is the loser pays system. If you lose a suit, you have to pay the winner's legal expenses (vetted by the judge). Automatically...

    And, yes, the rule ought to cover criminal proceedings too with wrongfully accused compensated by the prosecutor's office.

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @09:14PM (#52766267) Homepage Journal
      Good idea. No one would ever dare to sue any corporation, because if they lost they would be broke after paying the legal fees of the corporate lawyers. Corporations would rule everything!
    • And then you're back to the problem of wealthy companies/individuals who can afford expensive legal teams, intimidating poorer, lesser funded individuals who can't afford good legal support, with the threat of being financially destroyed & saddled with millions in debt.
      This is the system we've got in the UK, & it's also notorious for being abused.

      I don't know how to fix the problem, but it's not as easily solved as you suggest.

      • This is the chief argument against complex regulations, however well-intentioned. The perfect example is Dodd-Frank here in the United States.

        Citibank's CEO noted that Dodd-Frank would "widen the moat" -- that is, give them a competitive advantage because Citibank's large enough to pay lawyers and compliance staff without much impact to the bottom line.

        Regional banks -- and we need them to thrive because economic centralization is as bad or worse than political centralization -- have to comply with this reg

    • by reg ( 5428 ) <reg@freebsd.org> on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @11:03PM (#52766637) Homepage
      No. The correct solution is for the courts to assign all lawyers for both sides at random from a list, and pay both sides equally.
      • by dabadab ( 126782 )

        And what will you do to prevent the obvious - the emergence of "legal experts", aka lawyers who are not lawyers in the legal sense you can hire them if you have enough money?

  • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @09:00PM (#52766215)

    When your legal system becomes the realm of financial investment trading you KNOW your system is broken.

    I look forward to the creation of a new stock exchange. Lets call it LAWDAC. You can now day trade on court cases.

    • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @10:18PM (#52766499)

      When your legal system becomes the realm of financial investment trading you KNOW your system is broken.

      When your political system becomes the realm of financial investment trading you KNOW the legal system isn't far behind and your society is well and truly fucked.

    • Why not? The central bank cartel is conjuring money out of thin air and suppressing interest rates, so "investors" have to seek returns *somewhere*. We tried make-believe internet companies, housing, bonds, commodities, so why not this is, too? Let's also turn them into securities, sell them to public pension funds (which face a massive funding gap and thus desperately need returns), and then have the government bail us out when the whole thing explodes, because moral hazard is missing from your original id

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @09:06PM (#52766239)

    Let Asians build the world's fastest trains and the continent-wide energy systems we can only dream about. We have lawsuit AI technology we can use to rob each other blind as we cash those unemployment checks.

    • Let Asians build the world's fastest trains and the continent-wide energy systems we can only dream about. We have lawsuit AI technology we can use to rob each other blind as we cash those unemployment checks.

      But at least this new automated-lawsuit system will keep a lot of lawyers employed.

      Oh wait...

      • "But at least this new automated-lawsuit system will keep a lot of lawyers employed."

        Me, I would rathe see lawyers unemployed. We could use them as compost or for ginning cotton ("...Premium organic hand-ginned cotton...".

        • "But at least this new automated-lawsuit system will keep a lot of lawyers employed."

          Me, I would rathe see lawyers unemployed. We could use them as compost or for ginning cotton ("...Premium organic hand-ginned cotton...".

          My ex-wife is a lawyer. You are significantly overestimating her utility as an unemployed lawyer.

          • "But at least this new automated-lawsuit system will keep a lot of lawyers employed."

            Me, I would rathe see lawyers unemployed. We could use them as compost or for ginning cotton ("...Premium organic hand-ginned cotton...".

            My ex-wife is a lawyer. You are significantly overestimating her utility as an unemployed lawyer.

            Surely an unemployed lawyer actually brings value to society simply by not operating as a lawyer... ie the more lawyers there are the worse things are for society, so the fewer lawyers, the more unemployed lawyers, the better.

            Therefore an unemployed lawyer is more productive in the larger context than an employed lawyer (working as a lawyer).

            So what I'm getting at is that lawyers are actually more a burden on society than the unemployed.

    • Let Asians build the world's fastest trains and the continent-wide energy systems we can only dream about. We have lawsuit AI technology we can use to rob each other blind as we cash those unemployment checks.

      Some of those Asians will undoubtedly invest in American lawsuits in order to help fund those trains and energy systems, with the added bonus that they're also helping the competition bankrupt itself.

  • Rate_of_return = f( sum(legal_and_tech _buzzwords) x (networth(judge) - lifetimeincome(judge)) x sum(networth(plaintiffs)) )

  • I recall reading a science fiction story in Analog (I think in the 1980s) about judges being profiled as a way to win court cases. Items such as arguments used based on their history, delivery of arguments and review of previous cases and their judgements. The one particular case highlighted that the one judge preferred short, direct arguments, and this was used to help win the case. If I recall, the lawyers etc had earpieces (or maybe briefcases) with a wireless link to a van outside the court which had
  • Since AI could soon outpace many human lawyers...we'd need "Judge" alg to combat these AI and then probably some more Jury AIs with random seeds as well?

  • This is nothing like Thiel's lawsuit. He wanted to hurt Gawker. This is about automating the existing field of bankrolling civil litigation for a cut of the settlement. It happens now, but has human beings estimating the payouts. I mean, the obvious example is attorneys who get 25%-33% of the settlement, but there are also investment groups that do this.

    It tends to be a good thing, as they (wanting to make money) only back non-frivolous cases, and help the little guy stand up to the juggernauts. How el

  • Lawsuits as a business. The last time I heard about that, I saw it in this video on software patents:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    If you haven't seen it, you should, because it could very well be about you. And this startup may make this even more likely to be the case.

  • We used to invest in businesses, who then provided goods and services to customers. That's a thing of the past, simply because the number of people who actually have money left to buy crap isn't enough to make this investment viable.

    So the logical next step is to invest in lawsuits. Here you needn't provide a service someone wants, you can actually force him to pay.

  • "That's the kind of thing we're staying away from here." The company will supposedly be focusing on commercial and small-business lawsuits, and will not be backing lawsuits by individuals.

    Because patent trolls and the like are better???

  • Wait what now?

    You know the law has become meaningless when lawsuits become an income stream rather than a mode of redress.

  • Peter Thiel intentionally bankrupted Gawker. He didn't probably didn't make money from the deal. The founder explained this is completely different.
    This start up helps you beat the game that a big company that gets sued plays in which it drags out the lawsuit causing the litigant to drop the case, even if their lawsuit is rightful. Nothing about the strategy is to bankrupt companies.

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