When a court is considering whether it is in the interests of an individual to sell their rights to receive future structured settlement payments, the court must hear from that individual in person.
And the lawyer or financial advisor who counseled that individual must also appear before the court.
Those are two of the conclusions of the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, which adopted rules requiring that structured settlement payees appear at hearings on proposed transfers of structured settlement payment rights, according to reports, including a story in the Washington Post.
The Post also reports that independent professional advisors must also appear at the hearing on the requests of the factoring company that has asked the court to approve a transaction that, under the Maryland Structured Settlement Protection Act (SSPA), is ineffective without such judicial approval.
The Post reported the Prince Georges County judicial rules changes has occurred in the wake of “criticism of companies that purchase settlement payments” that itself followed “a report in The Washington Post last month that showed firms routinely buy payments belonging to victims of lead-paint poisoning for dimes on the dollar.”
The Post’s recent new story, “Prince George’s court tightens rules on structured-settlement buyouts” (available here), said that Prince George’s County Administrative Judge Shiela R. Tillerson Adams reviewed multiple matters filed under the Maryland SSPA, and the review led to adoption of the payee-personal-appearance rule, as well as rules requiring the appearance of independent professional advisors, and the use of the payee’s full name (rather than initials) in captions.
Secondary Insurance Market Blog has followed the Washington Post’s series of articles on the structured settlement factoring business, and other recent media attention on the issues of predatory factoring practices, in posts available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.