Fulbright & Jaworski has secured third-party litigation funding for production company Excelsior in a royalties battle with ITV.
The company is suing ITV for royalties relating to repeats of shows such as The Darling Buds of May, A Touch of Frost and My Uncle Silas, which it produced.
Fulbright, on behalf of?Excelsior,?issued?a multimillion-pound High Court claim alleging that the programmes were key to launching the broadcaster’s ITV2 and ITV3 channels.
To finance the claim, Excelsior turned to third-party broker Commercial Litigation Funding (CLF) for support. The funding, led by CLF chairman Brian Raincock, is the agent’s first public project since it launched last autumn.
Fulbright partner Chris Warren-Smith, leading the charge for Excelsior, said it was also a first for him. Although he has used funding for defendants, it was his first for a claimant.
“Small companies don’t have the capital to support large proceedings, even if they have a strong case,” said?Warren-Smith. “Without funding Excelsior couldn’t have brought the case, losing its right to access to justice.
“This is a perfect example of how litigation funding can provide access to justice for companies that have a strong case to bring to the High Court, but don’t necessarily have enough money to fund it.”
Excelsior chief executive Pip Burley said he hoped claimant litigation funding will become the norm.
“This really is a case of David taking on Goliath,” she said. “We imagine it will encourage other companies that have been exploited to look into this as a viable means of seeking justice.”
Excelsior’s exact losses are still being calculated. Burley, however, gave the example of?receiving?less?than £20,000 for more than a hundred hours worth of repeats of A Touch of Frost, starring David Jason. She believes this figure should have been more than £1m.