by John Darer® CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
Can "court sniffers", or human bloodhounds, employed or retained by structured settlement payment buyers to generate leads, render your settlement agreement's confidentiality agreement useless?
Let's say you settled the personal injury case several years ago. The settlement agreement provided that none of the parties could speak of the terms and conditions of the settlement and could not speak to the media. Yet all of a sudden the plaintiff receives a call or a post card from a cash now pusher who knows all the intimate details of your settlement (i.e. that you received a structured settlement and whatever else is contained in the agreement) and wants to give you cash for your structured settlements.
In recent years, the Structured Settlement Watchdog® has received calls from blog readers, and has heard anectodes from other industry members whose clients have contacted them, sometimes angry, feeling that their privacy has been invaded and asking "why?"
If you are a defendant or plaintiff attorney that has insisted on a confidentiality clause, how do you feel that your not under seal documents can easily be retrieved by some resourceful flack to be used for economic gain? Will there be any ripple effect on the client's feeling about your firm?
While the Structured Settlement Watchdog® does not contend the legality of the sale of structured settlement payments rights, or the utility of doing so where appropriate, he has been a passionate advocate for greater than the virtually non existent regulation of sales and advertising practices of structured settlement factoring companies and intermediaries.
If public policy is in favor of structured settlements, as well as privacy standards like those contained in Gramm Leach Bliley, HIPAA, and solicitation standards for annuities and investments to protect vulnerable seniors, then why is this "crack" being left open?
Think about it!