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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Appellants Anglo-Dutch Petroleum International Inc. and Anglo-Dutch (Tenge) LLC (collectively, Anglo-Dutch), challenge the trial court’s rendition of summary judgment in favor of appellees, John Haskell, Chris Scully, Chris O’Sullivan, Charles McCord III, the Sheriff Family LLC, and Law Funds LLC fka Amicus Legal Funding LLC, in appellees’ breach of contract suit arising out of multiple litigation funding agreements executed by Anglo Dutch and appellees. In 2000, Anglo-Dutch filed suit against Halliburton and Ramco (the Halliburton suit) alleging that Halliburton and Ramco misappropriated Anglo-Dutch’s trade secrets and breached their confidentiality agreements with Anglo-Dutch, which were executed by the parties during the course of developing an oil and gas field. Anglo-Dutch then contacted multiple parties, including appellees, and solicited investments in the Halliburton suit. After the Halliburton suit was tried to a jury, the trial court entered a judgment in the amount of approximately $81 million, including approximately $10 million in attorneys’ fees, against Halliburton and Ramco. Anglo-Dutch and Halliburton subsequently entered into a settlement agreement. Following Anglo-Dutch’s and Halliburton’s settlement, Anglo-Dutch sent each appellee a letter in which it disputed the validity of the litigation funding agreements and asserted that the agreements were “contrary to Texas public policy” and “unenforceable under Texas law.” Consequently, Anglo-Dutch requested that appellees accept a reduced payment contrary to the terms of the agreements. Appellees refused Anglo-Dutch’s offer of reduced payments and filed the instant suit against Anglo-Dutch, asserting claims for breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and conversion. Appellees filed a summary judgment motion on their breach of contract claim. The trial court granted appellees’ summary judgment motion and ordered that appellees recover from Anglo-Dutch $2.55 million in actual damages plus $52,001 in attorneys’ fees. The trial court then severed appellees’ breach of contract claim from their remaining claims, creating a final and appealable judgment. HOLDING:Affirmed. If the agreements did not constitute a loan, if the agreements did not create an absolute obligation to repay, or if the agreements did not charge “usurious interest,” Anglo-Dutch’s usury defense fails as a matter of law. If Anglo-Dutch recovered nothing or an insufficient amount of damages, then according to the plain terms of the agreements, Anglo-Dutch had no obligation to reimburse appellees for the principal amounts invested, much less pay appellees any return on their investments. Thus, as a matter of law, the agreements cannot be usurious. The testimony of Scott Van Dyke, president of Anglo-Dutch, that he explained to appellees that there was “no risk” and that he was confident that Anglo-Dutch would “collect enough money” to repay appellees because Anglo-Dutch’s interest in the oil and gas field lost as a result of Halliburton’s and Ramco’s actions was valued in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” is insufficient to create a fact issue concerning Anglo-Dutch’s usury defense. These statements merely constituted Van Dyke’s personal expectations on the success of the Halliburton suit, and the fact that he communicated his personal expectations to appellees is of no consequence; Van Dyke’s “confidence in the outcome of the suit” did not dissolve the real contingency that existed in the agreements themselves. Similarly, Van Dyke’s testimony that appellees communicated to him that they did not consider their investments to be speculative, that some appellees stated that they believed that success in the Halliburton suit was certain, that one appellee told Van Dyke that he could not afford to lose his money, and that multiple appellees stated that there must be “no risk whatsoever” because of Anglo-Dutch’s trial counsel also constitute nothing more than appellees’ personal expectations on the success of the Halliburton suit. As such, it does not erase the contingency in the agreements. the agreements contained a conditional obligation and, despite Van Dyke’s testimony concerning his subjective belief, there was no certainty that Anglo-Dutch would recover an amount sufficient to repay appellees their principal and returns. Anglo-Dutch contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of appellees, because the evidence raises a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the agreements were illegal, unregistered securities and thus, void and unenforceable under both state and federal law. Anglo-Dutch has not presented any evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact that appellees acquired their rights under the agreements “with knowledge of the facts by reason of which its making or performance was in violation” of the act. Furthermore, Anglo-Dutch has not cited any authority for the proposition that, as the seller of the “unregistered securities,” it has the right to void the agreements. To the contrary, federal and state authority indicate that the agreements are not automatically void, but instead are voidable by the purchaser. Anglo-Dutch did not present any evidence that the role of appellees in the transaction was more that of a promoter than investor, therefore, Anglo-Dutch’s in pari delicto defense fails as a matter of law. Anglo-Dutch contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of appellees because the agreements violated Texas public policy. Anglo-Dutch asserts that the agreements are “champertous in nature,” “prey on financially desperate plaintiffs,” “give third parties control over litigation in which those parties have no interests at stake,” and “prolong litigation by inhibiting plaintiffs from settling suits.” The court finds that the agreements here do not violate public policy. OPINION:Terry Jennings, J.; Radack, CJ, Jennings and Alcala, JJ.

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