New York Court Rejects Proposed Transfer Of Structured Settlement Payments By Lead Poisoning Victim

New York Court Rejects Proposed Transfer Of Structured Settlement Payments By Lead Poisoning Victim

When Andre Edwards came in front of New York Justice Debra Silber on the hearing on the latest proposed transfer of his structured settlement payment rights, he told her “that the settlement was for the brain damage he sustained as a child, due to lead poisoning.”

Justice Silber also learned – during the course of the New York Structured Settlement Protection Act proceeding whereby a factoring company named Sunny Sky sought judicial approval of a proposed sale of some of the settlement payments due to be paid to Edwards – that the 27-year-old unmarried man has one child, “never finished high school”, and wanted to sell the payments so he could buy real estate in Florida and “a car so he could be an Uber driver.”

Justice Silber said that Edwards “could not explain why he wants to give up $2,500 per month in tax free income so he could have a rental property with taxable income and potentially insurmountable maintenance obligations.'”

In addition, Justice Silber also commented, in her opinion on the proposed transfer, that she had some concern “that the record provides only the most minimal evidence of Edwards’ circumstances”, includes “no information about the seriousness of the injuries Edwards sustained”, “no information about his background, employment history, ability to work, or indeed anything to assist the court in evaluating the petition’s merits.”

It should not be surprising, then, that Justice Silber rejected the request by Sunny Sky for judicial approval of the proposed transfer of structured settlement payments, leaving the transaction (as per the New York Structured Settlement Protection Act) null and void.

See Matter of Sunny Sky (Edwards), Index No. 518573/17, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4828; 2017 NY Slip Op 32600(U) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Dec. 12, 2017).

Not only was there insufficient evidence to conclude that the transfer was in Edwards’ best interest, Justice Silber said, but also “[c]learly, his best interests and those of his family are more appropriately served by denying his request to transfer the structured settlement payments.”

Oh, and the deal with Sunny Sky called for a sale of future payments with an aggregate value of $699,603, and Sunny Sky would pay Edwards $240,000.

Justice Silber reviewed information about three prior transfer attempts involving the Edwards structured settlement.  “[O]nly four months before this petition was filed, Justice Edgar Walker denied a petition by JG Wentworth . . . to purchase $764,000 worth of respondent’s future payments, with a discounted present value of $570,299.93, for $270,000; this is relief that is virtually identical to that at issue in the instant matter.”  She also pointed out that there was a transfer application that was denied in June 2017, and a 2016 application that was approved whereby Edwards’s “was permitted . . . to sell $506,000 of future payments for a $250,000 lump sum payment so that he could purchase a home in Queens”, noting also that “[t]here is no evidence in this application that he actually used the funds to purchase a home.”  In addition to the $250,000 purchase price that Edwards was to receive for the prior sale, “[t]he court notes that . . . Mr. Edwards received a lump sum of $140,000 by 2010, which was intended to pay for his college education, and a lump sum of $100,000, which was payable in 2014” and that “[t]here is nothing in the papers which explains what Mr. Edwards has done with these funds.”

The full opinion is available here.

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