by John Darer® CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
Some in the structured settlement secondary market fear that legal malpractice lawsuit against Derwood Maryland lawyer Charles E. Smith and CES Law Group LLC is bad for structured settlement annuitants.
Why would a lawsuit that effectively alleges that a lawyer didn't do his job properly and act in his client's best interest be bad for annuitants? It seems counter-intuitive. The fear, as expressed to me by one industry participant, is that the lawsuit may make those who provide IPAs skittish and hesitant to provide independent professional advice. Interesting from members of an industry sub-culture in which some bad actors sometimes suggest to unsophisticated sellers that an IPA will delay the process. Is $500-$1,500 a pop, fair compensation for the potential exposure? Is it worth the risk, some may ask. If some charge more to cover the exposure, in some states it comes out of the hide of the annuitant. Those IPAs who are sharp enough to have errors and omissions coverage may see rate increases as insurers analyze the exposure.
But what is that saying? Should we overlook advisor mediocrity when it comes advice given to the cognitively impaired, the elderly, the disabled or the naive?
Many settlement purchasers showcase real or imagined magnanimity as if they are super-heroes. If Robin was just some schlub how good would Batman really be?
It's bad enough that settlement purchasers have been the subject of allegations in other recent lawsuits, in multiple states, which charge that the representatives of the structured settlement buyers coached the respective sellers to waive their statutory right to independent professional advice to create an expectation that the transaction would go quicker.