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What Is Citigation?

If you’re a lawyer or follow litigation news, you may have noticed a trend cropping up lately of municipalities teaming up with lawyers to file suits. The Wall Street Journal labels the practice “citigation”. The reasoning for all this is that small cities might not have access to great resources, so they often have to use outside counsel.

Some have concerns, however, when hearing about a city pairing with a law firm. What does this mean for citizens who pay taxes? Actually, nothing. According to experts, citigation requires no taxpayer funds. The money for litigation is provided by the plaintiffs’ firms.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that municipalities wouldn’t be paying a price. In some of these cases, the litigation can follow the private investors’ wants rather than those of the publics’, who initially sought this outside counsel. Citigation can run a very fine line of turning a case into something that might not have been the desired outcome due to the financial backing behind the suit.

Still, despite reservations that some city officials have, Paul Geller of leading firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, says that he sees new requests from municipalities for class-action lawyers on a weekly basis. With this information, it sounds like citigation may not be simply a new fad in litigation or a cutesy name, but a new legitimate way for small cities to go about pursuing lawsuits. For more information on citigation or industry news, feel free to contact us at Harvey Walner & Associates.

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