by Structured Settlement Watchdog
The Injury Board is an association of experienced trial attorneys practicing throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Injury Board says its proponents of the civil justice system and consumer rights, pride themselves on being part of a select group that includes only the best of the best — past, present and future leaders of various trial bar organizations as well as board certified attorneys.
According to the Injury Board website
Membership in the Injury Board is restricted to firms that believe passionately in the pursuit of civil justice and work tirelessly to preserve the civil justice system. To be considered for membership, firms must meet at least one of the following criteria:
Leadership: A member of the firm must currently hold (or have held) an executive committee position in his or her local, state or national trial lawyer association, or
Board Certification: A member of the firm must be board certified in civil trial law. This designation not only demonstrates a dedication to the practice of law but also indicates special expertise.
What is The Legal Examiner?
Originally launched as a legal information portal in the early 2000s as part of The Injury Board's primary online presence, the publication was rebranded as The Legal Examiner in 2012 to expand its scope beyond legal issues dealing with personal injury. In 2020, The Legal Examiner was spun out of The Injury Board’s corporate structure to become its own independent company led by Nick Carroll. (Source: The Legal Examiner website)
Where is John Bair a Trial Lawyer?
Milestone is listed as an Injury Board Member despite its CEO, John Bair not being a trial lawyer. Sam Dolce-Powers, self proclaimed "pesto king" ( Source: Instagram) is an attorney and associate, but he only joined Milestone in late 2019. Bair has been promoting Milestone Consulting via Milestone Legal Examiner since 2012 and his structured settlement factoring origination business via The CrowFly Legal Examiner for a number of years preceding the spinoff. So the question that begs an answer is what did John Bair do to become an Injury Board Member? I ask because while Bair is not an attorney, let alone not board certified, Milestone Consulting's John Bair has this week used his Legal Examiner Injury blogging privileges, obtained for some consideration or another (such as perhaps a sponsorship), to add to some of his most outrageous marketing claims of 2020.
Seven to Nine Percent Yields | Real or Snake Oil?
Says Bair "A settlement that’s structured into a fixed guaranteed annuity at current rates will yield between one and two percent, whereas a professionally managed investment-backed periodic payment obligation", Bair says "can show yields of seven to nine percent based on average market activity."
How does this comply with FINRA regulations?
FINRA Rule 2210(d)(1)(F) states that communications may not project investment performance, imply that past performance will reoccur, nor make any exaggerated or unwarranted claim or forecast (Emphasis added)
What Does Yield Mean?
Yield is defined as the income return on investment. This refers to the interest or dividends received from a security and is usually expressed as an annual percentage based on the investment's cost, its current market value, or its face value. Yield vs. Total Return: What's the Difference? - Investopedia April 10, 2020
"Mother Goose" Bair
"Mother Goose", Bair, a recent spinner of structured settlement trashing fairy tales, "picks the pocket" of Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin, The Bremen Town Musicians, The Elves and Little Red Cap, by starting his latest rag on structured settlements with "Once upon a time". He continues " there was one common way to split an incoming personal injury settlement into set future payments. The money would go into a structured settlement annuity, which would provide plaintiffs with their agreed-upon payments over years. And back in the day, annuities were a viable option with "four to five percent expected growth". But after the 2008 recession, returns on annuities took a nosedive and never fully recovered, now yielding one to two percent for plaintiffs who receive their settlement over time". [So back in the day it was growth and now it's yield?]
Morgan Stanley forecasted a 2.8% average annual return over the next 10 years for a 60/40 portfolio, according to note to clients quoted in Business Insider- Investopedia November 6, 2019. "Investors will need to accept much higher volatility to eke out small incremental units of return. To be fair, a question that should be asked of Bair is "What kind of risk is on the table for a 7-9% yield that Bair claims he can show?"
Bair Discombobulates "But now there is another option with a much better yield. It’s called an investment-backed structure, and it’s a tax-free settlement design". A structure is a "settlement design", huh?
As I've written and is plain in the tax code, the taxation of periodic payments used in the settlement of litigation is associated with the type of damages the periodic payments represent , not something that you will see in Architectural Digest, Cosmo or Vogue.
Bair's Fib-onacci Sequence"
- "Once upon a time", John Bair was a "plaintiff-exclusive structured settlement broker" who signed a declaration under the penalty of perjury to the United States Department of Justice in 2005. The declaration is part of minimum qualifications of annuity brokers to do work on behalf of the government, where the United States is a defendant pursuant to 28 CFR §50.24 (6). To wit ..."The broker must have had substantial experience in each of the past three years in providing structured settlement brokerage services to or on behalf of defendants or their counsel". Bair signed it. A copy of that declaration can be found using the Google search function in the column to the right of this post. Only months after signing the declaration under penalty of perjury, on May 20, 2005 Bair was captured in an audio recording when then Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys' President Marsha Kazarozian asked if he did mostly plaintiff work, Bair corrected her and said exclusively, in his own words, recorded on Legal Talk Network.
" I think I have a conflict in doing that" (working for big insurance...i.e.defense)
" I don't have to ask myself who I'm working for"Bair then back pedaled after the dots were connected and his being called out by the Structured Settlement Watchdog in 2007,the bark reaching the highest echelons of AAJ. A copy of an explanatory February 2007 email Bair sent to a higher up at AAJ was shared with me contemporaneously by the late Richard Halpern. The flimsy walk back was "we have significant experience consulting with defendants. Our firm does a qualified assignment (sic) practically on every case, and in many cases the defendant or defense counsel whether represented or not consult with us"
- advertising to attorneys that it could get an "equivocated guaranteed rate of approximately 15%"; Oh the choice of words!
- Stating on a sales solicitation letter to New York trial lawyers that then Presidential candidate, John Edwards gave him the highest professional recommendation when Edwards was already in Washington and couldn't have possibly done structured settlement business with Bair's former company Forge.
- Advertised, through his self-proclaimed structured settlement origination firm that it could beat JG Wentworth by 50% in June 2018
- In April 2020, Bair uses the term secondary market annuity to describe factored structured settlement payment streams, despite the fact that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, case law and past and ongoing litigation associated with such instruments underscores that they are not annuities.
- In June 2020, Bair's structured settlement origination firm CrowFly, advertised that he was a veteran of the structured settlement industry and falsely advertised that Bair was a former board member of the National Trade Association. CrowFly back pedaled when the fib was exposed.
Massive fib about life insurance returns as a component of the Milestone Fee Master attorney fee deferral solicitation. "The most groundbreaking option relies on one of the greatest existing wealth accumulation tools—permanent whole life insurance. By becoming a policy holder in one of these large mutual, you reap the benefits of their financial strength and dividend-paying histories". But that's not the shocking part. This Milestone Consulting page header from the FeeMaster brochure, is a classic case of baffling them with this bullshit: "Where else have you seen historical dividends of 6% or greater?" The brochure implies that the non guaranteed interest rate was the rate of return. The 2020 brochure omits that dividends not guaranteed disclaimer that was in the 2018 brochure as I pointed out here
- Mischaracterized that Milestone has a "Revenue Procedure Ruling" in a March 2020 QSF webinar. No such thing.