Attorney General Frosh On Maryland Lead-Paint Poisoning Structured Settlement Payment Transfers: 'My Blood Is Still Boiling'

The State of Maryland, and Baltimore in specific, is a sweet spot for some secondary market structured settlement buying companies, or as critics would call them "predators."

The reason to this is because of the high number of lead poisoning victims in this area, many of whom have filed and won lawsuits to compensate for their sufferings. A number of the victims have filed a structured settlement agreement to receive their money in periodic payments over many years ahead.

Companies interested in buying out the structured settlement payments in exchange for a momentary one-time lump sum payments have been seeking out these lead poisoning victims, who are said to be overwhelmingly black people, poor and disabled, in order to persuade them to sell their structured settlement payments for a set amount discounted to present value, often at very deep discounting rates that steered up a controversy.

Attorney General ­Brian E. Frosh (D), calling for tougher legislation to restrict the industry of secondary market settlement payment buyers and protect the poor and disabled who are allegedly being exploited by factoring companies, said his "blood is still boiling" by reports of lead-paint poisoning victims who were persuaded to sell their long-term payments and were then left financially insecure.

Interestingly, according to a Washington Post report, most of the petitions for the transfer of the structured settlement payments to the factoring companies were filed in the counties of Howard, Prince George and Montgomery, despite the fact that the majority of the lead-poisoning victims live in Baltimore City.

In an effort to protect the interests of the structured settlement holders, legislators now want to introduce amendments to the Maryland Structured Settlement Protection Act. Among others, the amendments should include a provision to require petitions for structured settlement transfers to be filed in the county where the payee is domicile to prevent factoring companies to seek out counties where judges are more inclined to approve of the transfers.

In this, Maryland will then join some other States where it is already required, including Illinois, where a recent amendments to the SSPA obligates prospective buyers of structured settlement payments to file a petition in the county where the payee resides or where the issuer or obligor of the original structured settlement annuity has its main business. Legislators hope this among other revisions to the statuary law of structured settlement transfers in Maryland will help protect settlement recipients and especially vulnerable lead-poisoning victims who are receiving long-term periodic payments of their settlement.

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