Washington, D.C., Could Move To Forefront of Jurisdictions With Strong Structured Settlement Protection Laws, Say Legal Aid Attorneys

Washington, D.C., Could Move To Forefront of Jurisdictions With Strong Structured Settlement Protection Laws, Say Legal Aid Attorneys

An editorial in the Washington Post by Legal Aid Society attorney Heather Latino and Thomas Payson pointed out that the District of Columbia is without a structured settlement protection act (SSPA), but that D.C. Council members are considering a proposal “that would put the District in the forefront of jurisdictions with strong laws.”

The editorial cited that Washington Post’s recent article that “revealed, using lead-poisoning cases in Baltimore as an example, that unsophisticated people with structured settlements are being victimized by companies seeking to purchase their future payments for far too little and without regard for the protective purpose of the structured settlement.”

Forty-eight states that SSPAs, which provide that a person who is entitled to receive structured settlement payments in the future can only sell the right to receive those payments if the transaction is approved by court order and otherwise meets certain legal requirements.

The Post’s story, and subsequent follow-up articles, focused on the Maryland SSPA, and practices that were said to involve forum shopping and the targeting of lead-poisoning victims.

Residents of the District of Columbia who enter into proposed transfers of structured settlement payment rights “sometimes find their cases being filed in some far-off jurisdiction that happens to be the place where the annuity issuer is located and where they cannot attend the hearing in person”, according to the Legal Aid Society attorneys who wrote the editorial.

The editorial, “Protecting structured settlements in D.C.“, is available in full here.

Previous Secondary Insurance Market Blog posts on the Washington Post investigatory piece on structured settlement factoring, and follow-up items from the Post and other media, are available here, here, here and here.

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