by Structured Settlement Watchdog
JG Wentworth (and ultimately the entire structured settlement secondary marketplace ) faces a new test of independent professional advice in a new action
filed on October 21 in the Eastern District of Missouri. According to the Complaint, the action seeks to redress Defendants’ unfair, deceptive and fraudulent conduct that has caused Missouri consumers to not receive the necessary legal advice of disinterested counsel when evaluating offers to purchase structured settlement payments, and subsequently obtain less than the fair value of their settlement to the benefit of (JG) Wentworth. Richard A Tarvin, III, the lead plaintiff, was not represented by disinterested counsel as defined by RSMo §407.1060(4), because Anthony D. Gray of Gray Graham LLP had a business relationship with J.G. Wentworth, a transferee of the structured settlement payment rights. Mr. Gray did not opine that the transaction with Wentworth was in the best interest of Mr. Tarvin, nor did he disclose to Mr. Tarvin that, in fact, he was not disinterested counsel according to the Complaint.
What does the Missouri Structured Settlement Protection Act Require?
RSMo § 407.1062(6) requires that “the payee has been represented by disinterested counsel in connection with the transfer or the payee understands the nature of the transaction and the economic consequences of the action.”
There are questions of law or fact common to all Class Members that predominate over any questions affecting only individual members. Specifically, the common questions of fact and law include:
a. Whether Defendants submitted false and misleading information to the courts that approved the sale of the beneficiary’s interest in a SSA;
b. Whether Plaintiff and the Proposed Class received the legal advice of disinterested counsel;
c. Whether the attorneys recommended by Defendants were, in fact, disinterested; and
d. Whether Defendants engaged in unfair, deceptive or fraudulent acts
Who is Suing JG. Wentworth?
RICHARD A. TARVIN III, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
THE J.G. WENTWORTH COMPANY; 321 HENDERSON RECEIVABLES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP; 321 HENDERSON RECEIVABLES ORIGINATION, LLC; J.G. WENTWORTH STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT FUNDING CORPORATION; and J.G. WENTWORTH STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT FUNDING II, LLC,
Case Number: 4:19-cv-02860-SRC United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Read the full complaint Download JGW Class Action Lawsuit in Missouri
Pennsylvania lawsuit touches on same issues of independent professional advice.
Twice bankrupt JG Wentworth, is a Defendant in a a Pennsylvania class action lawsuit Larry G. Dockery, On behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs v Stephen E. Heretick, 321 Henderson Receivables, LLC, JG Wentworth Receivables, LLC, Seneca One Finance, Inc., Structured Settlement Investments, LP, Structured Settlement Purchaser John Doe Inc. Purchaser Defendants 1-100 and John Doe Individual Defendants 1-100 and New York Life Insurance Company, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Symetra et al*. United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case 2:2017:cv-04114-MMB
The Dockery lawusit alleges among other things
Violation of RICO 18 U.S.C. §1962(c) (the Annuity Fraud Enterprises)
The Purchaser Defendant acted to perpetrate the fraud by inducing each of the victim sellers to abandon the right each of them had to independent counsel or advice regarding the Purchase transactions. It did this, as alleged, by
I. Instructing each victim to execute a document in which the victim stated that he or she had been advised that he or she had the right to independent advice or counsel, while
ii Simultaneously, it also informed each and every victim that in fact they could not exercise this right in any way, because if they did the transaction would be either completely impossible to consummate or would take immeasurably longer to close
Each Purchaser Defendant hired and paid Heretick to file these documents and to develop and operate the agreement with the Complicit Judges, pursuant to
which the court would accept and approve petitions even when they
i. Were filed in bulk
ii. Waived each victim's right to counsel and to independent financial advice
iii.Were presented at hearings at which the victim seller was not
present and so could not be questioned by the court
iv. Included victims who were residents of and domiciled in other states, whom the Purchaser Defendants had arranged to travel to Virginia and make fraudulent representations that they were domiciled there
In a memorandum Decision dated May 14, 2019, the Court DENIED defendants' motion to dismiss counts I-IV (Violations of RICO)
The issue of sham independent professional advice is also central to the Access Funding Scandal