by Structured Settlement Watchdog
A number of personal injury lawyers, including those admitted to the New York State Bar, are representing structured settlement factoring companies in
transactions that result in recipients of structured settlement payments receiving no better than pennies on the dollar. The same lawyers and/or firms also advertise and solicit business from personal injury victims.
One such law firm, known to have represented structured settlement factoring companies in thousands of cases advertises the millions it has recovered for injury victims, while at the same time asks if you have an an annuity or structured settlement to support its "facilitating access to your money".
Another personal injury firm, which is now disbanded, advertised that it was a personal injury law firm "committed to representing innocent accident victims who have suffered serious and catastrophic personal injuries" while also representing some of the biggest structured settlement factoring companies in the business.
Recently I came across another firm in the New York City area which advertises it does personal injury but has popped up in representation of pennies on the dollar merchants. The law firm also shares an office address with another lawyer who is listed as an Independent Professional Advisor on a number of the first law firm's cases.
I can't help thinking that this may be going on all across the United States. While not dismissing a person's right to make a living, in my opinion such representations deserve scrutiny by such firms for potential conflicts of interest.
Areas of potential conflicts of interests include:
- How data acquired during the legal representation for the personal injury case is used.
- How that data is protected? Is there a Chinese Wall?
- Has the lawyer considered structured settlements for his or her clients in the past? Are they making structured settlements available to their clients for consideration?
- If one of the lawyers past clients returns with questions about selling their structured settlement payments, what happens? Does the lawyer refer the matter out or do they handle their former client's sale.
- Does the lawyer/law firm disclose that he/she or it derives income, perhaps substantial income, from pennies on the dollar merchants?
- Susceptibility of the lawyer/law firm or one of his/her or its employees, to potential inducements that the lawyer/law firms secondary market clients may offer for referrals
- Directly or indirectly buying factored structured settlement payment streams of clients
The is something that should concern not only judges, but consumers and other lawyers.