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Hedge Funds Backed More Than 20 Anti-Union Lawsuits

December 27, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

CHICAGO, Ill.—The Chicago lawyer who has filed 21 class-action lawsuits against unions over the last two years is being funded by a wealthy “litigation finance” firm, The Intercept reported Dec. 23. Jonathan Mitchell, whose suits have tried to force public-sector unions to repay fees they collected from nonmembers before the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, filed a disclosure form with a federal court in California in August which stated that his law firm had received a loan from Juris Capital LLC “to be repaid with the proceeds” from those suits. Juris, based in Chicago, advances money for lawsuits in exchange for a piece of any proceeds, with capital coming from hedge funds and other investors. Mitchell had previously insisted that he was “not part of any ‘campaign’ or coordinated effort to litigate against public employee unions.” Courts have so far ruled that the unions collected the fees legally, but some unions have settled out of court—and the cost of endless litigation “can begin to starve our resources,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten told The Intercept. She called Juris “a dark-money vehicle trying to deny workers a voice at work and in our democracy.” Read more

December 27, 2019

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