by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel recently refused to allow a 28 year old tort victim to sell a chunk of a structured settlement she has been receiving from a childhood injury unless the factoring company, Stone Street Capital came close to the present value with its offer.
As quoted by Staff Writer, Edward Fitzpatrick in today's Providence Journal, Judge Vogel told Stone Street's Cranston, RI based attorney, Christopher L. Russo: "This is not in this woman’s best interest. You should not be recommending it because you’re an honorable man. You should get on the phone and call them up…. You tell them this woman, in light of the fact she’s got practically nothing left because the vultures, the vultures, the vultures who preyed on her already, that it has to be close to the present value before I consider it.”
Judge Vogel's passion is indicative that some judges are taking their roles, in evaluating whether a structured settlement factoring transaction is in the tort victim's "best interest", very seriously.
The article contains quotes from a number of judges , like Daniel A. Procaccini who was quoted as saying:
“I agree it’s growing. Now they are preying on people more because the economy is bad. If they’re unemployed, they’re thinking, ‘How quick can I cash this thing out?’ ”
As an aside, I looked up Christopher L. Russo on FindLaw and his specialty is listed as personal injury-defense. This raises an important credibility question. What credibility does Russo now have to negotiate structured settlements to resolve cases for his "personal injury-defense" clients knowing that at the same time he is representing factoring companies like Stone Street Capital? At the very least it should raise quite a few eyebrows of members of the Rhode Island Association for Justice.
Patricia A. LaBorde, division counsel for Stone Street Capital, based in Bethesda, Md, made some important statements that were quoted in the article such as "We are for individuals who can’t get traditional financing — they’ve been turned down for loans and are facing serious economic problems,” she said. “We are sort of the last resort.”. Tort victims please read what attorney for Stone Street implies. Selling your structured settlement payments (rights) is financing of last resort.
LaBorde was also quoted as saying "Our industry needs to do a better job of educating the public". I couldn't agree more. Educate the public about what YOU, the secondary market do!
Some of the players in the factoring industry may want to rethink their strategy of "dime a dozen" obnoxious late night advertising that while memorable, turn off so many judges, attorneys and the general public. The misleading message of "teensy weensy payments for a huge lump sum" ought to be dropped.