Brian Frosh who is a Maryland Attorney General has started an investigation into the practice of many companies which is shady. It is about finding more about those who buy structured settlement from victims who have suffered lead poisoning. They quite often end up buying less than what such settlements provide for.
Filings in the court this week in Baltimore and Montgomery County Circuit has quite a few shocking things to show. The Consumer Protection Division is finding out if companies were involved in such sales have violated the Consumer Protection Act Of The State. It is quite obvious that lead paint victims suffer damages to their cognitive functions. Frosh is concerned about people who are at risk and are vulnerable. It is about finding out whether these people are being short changed and are being acted upon contrary to provisions of state Consumer Protection Act.
The practice is to exchange long-term regular settlement payment for one-time payments which are much lower. Frosh has been able to find out that the onetime payment is just around one-third of what the present value is all about. According to Frosh, it is akin to offering 3 dollars settlement for a ten dollar bill which becomes payable at different dates in the future. The investigation is focusing if the so-called independent advice given by professionals are independent, which is mandated under the law. The legal filings according to Attorney General’s Office are focusing many firms including the likes of Seneca One LLC and Access Funding LLC.
The three attorneys involved are Charles E Smith, Bennett Williams and Anuj Sud. They are vigorously fighting subpoenas which have been served with this investigation. The attorney general’s office is trying to see that the subpoenas are enforced. It would be pertinent to mention that Sud worked as counsel to Access Funding and other such related entities. He was involved in transactions with those who were injured in Maryland in June 2013. Smith is known to have provided independent professional advice to people who entered into such transactions during the same period.
According to Record Access Funding and their related companies were able to garner a total sum of around $15 million from vulnerable and poor Maryland victims from June 2013 to August 2015. The attorney for Smith did not like to comment on the matter, and the attorney for Sud could not be reached.
Further, as per court filings, Sud and Smith state that services provided by lawyers are outside the purview of Consumer Protection Act and the subpoenas are broad and not specific. It also has been found that Wills has offered independent professional advice to Maryland victims who were offered such one-time settlements by Seneca One. Wills’ attorney Tom Donnelly mentions that as per professional rules about confidentially of client information, Wills cannot disclose information which has been subpoenaed.
Donnelly states that his client and he do not have any problem cooperating with the attorney general in this case. However, there are rules laid down under professional responsibility which prohibits them not to divulge the information unless courts order so. It was not possible to reach other officials of Seneca One LLC and Access Funding LLC.
Frosh also states that a few other additional people also have been subpoenaed as a part of the investigation. State lawmakers are also planning to find out ways by which they can strengthen the regulations on companies which are into buying of structured settlements. As many lead paint cases are being settled as personal injuries, the compensation is being distributed as a structured settlement, also referred to as an annuity. As the laws have changed to allow selling an annuity, victims of personal injury cases are cashing in their future payments. It is highly recommended you contact respected companies as there are many which have less than a stellar reputation.
You can read more about annuities here.