RSL Funding claims victory in the tortious interference battle between it and competing factoring company Imperial Structured Settlements in a Harris County Texas Court. Imperial sued RSL claiming it had a selling structured settlement annuitant under contract, before RSL gazumped them with a better offer (see: Washington Square Financial LLC (DBA Imperial Structured Settlements) v RSL Funding LLC Cause 201049166 Judge : Jeff Shadwick)
Order Granting RSL's Summary Judgment v Imperial structured Settlements on June 14, 2011 Download Order Granting RSL Summary Judgment Over Imperial Structured Settlements . A copy of the relevant Court documents can be purchased here
According to RSL, Imperial argued that its proposed transfer agreement that had not yet been approved by a court is an enforceable contract with its customer, so that any competitor offering more money to the customer is subject to a claim for "tortious interference with an existing contract," when in fact, Imperial has no legal right to prohibit competition. RSL contended that a consumer deserves the best price and that the rights under the contact do not vest until the judge actually approves the deal.
In the "home town" win for RSL, the Texas court upheld the annuity recipient's right to continue seeking competitive offers until an enforceable contract with the customer is in place. As a matter of law, no structured settlement (factoring) company can bind a customer to a transfer agreement until an application for transfer of structured settlement payment rights has been approved by the courts and not until an order of transfer has been entered by a court. Until these contractual prerequisites are met, customers are welcome (and encouraged) to continue looking for offers that serve their best interests.
Other Court structured settlement protection acts such as California, which this author understands to be the largest market for structured settlement factoring allow the payee to back out at any time right up until the court hearing.
Why shouldn't a structured settlement annuitant be able to shop around like "their mama" told them?
The RSL press releases continually cite to the Structured Settlement Institute, which the press release states is " a not-for-profit organization established to educate sellers of structured settlements regarding fair and equitable industry practices"
On the other hand the "About Us" section of the website for The Structured Settlement Institute say SSI "works with you and your long-term insurance based payments, to help you gain liquidity fast from the right company." I
It goes on to say...
"In a time of settlement buyers resorting to lumping your annuities or settlements in a large group in order to sell off (sic), The Structured Settlement Institute alone (sic). The Structured Settlement Institute is a principal that uses their own resources (i.e. $$$) and money to close the transaction. We don’t sell your annuity or settlement, instead we do what is responsible. We maintain our position of responsibility for the entirety of your transaction. Which will guarantee the court’s rulings are upheld and your money is distributed as agreed. The Structured Settlement Institute is bonded for all transactions"
According to Whois records with GoDaddy that were just updated June 14, 2011 (the day of the Court victory that RSL Funding claims against Imperial) the site is registered to Stewart Feldman, a Houston lawyer who is in charge at RSL. While I'm not suggesting any wrong doing, I think it would be behoove the Structured Settlement Institute to be a little more transparent.
Who runs it? Who are its directors? Who funds it? Is there an IRS form 990 that someone can supply to this author?