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Unstructured Settlement

Me'Lisa Delaney, 43, is brain-injured as a result of a 1984 medical error that caused a stroke during surgery. The hospital agreed to settle via a structured settlement, as overseen by a county conservatorship.

Delaney soon married Terry, who took over the conservatorship of the settlement and proceeded to make loans against the settlement, which equaled about $350,000. It wasn't long before all the money was gone. According to the civil complaint filed by Me'Lisa, Terry had used the loan money to purchase "controlled substances, illegal drugs, jewelry, liquor and other non-business items." Of course Delaney is suing for 10 million in punitive damages.

A lot of time energy, and effort was put into structuring a settlement in the best interest of Me'Lisa and it was too easily undone. Should we consider making settlements "unstructurable"? There is some concern that "factoring" or "cash out" companies take advantage of customers, taking a large portion of the settlement in exchange for a significantly smaller lump sum.

In Me'Lisa's case it makes sense to put in place more safeguards to protect her rights and interests in her settlement, specifically because she is brain injured. We should look to protect minors, senior citizens, and mentally impaired or injured settlement winners. Everyone else has access to resources and information to help them make the best choices and should be entitled to choose whatever they wish. I personally know of cases where cashing out was life saving, dream fulfilling, and absolutely a positive choice. I am also personally aware of situations where customers have cashed out their settlements and it was absolutely a bad decision. Unstructuring a settlement seems to be a great American Freedom, but it doesn't have to be as morally insipid as what happened in the Delaney case.

Jason Rigler
"Settlement Advocate" and consultant for Prosperity Partners Customer Service Department.

In The News:

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Eureka Times Standard

You and the Law: Have a structured settlement with Pacific Life?
Eureka Times Standard
This month, Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Life hosted a fabulous six-day event halfway around the world for the U.S. structured settlement industry. According to the invitation, the gathering at the Four Seasons Maldives wasn't a junket but ...


Hanford Sentinel

You and the Law: Do you have a structured settlement with Pacific Life?
Hanford Sentinel
Accident victim lawyers I know expect and view structured settlement brokers as acting in a fiduciary capacity for their clients and develop trusting relations with these people. Yes, brokers are paid fairly standard commission by the insurance ...


Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Bora Bora or Bust: Annuity Sales Incentives May Taint Structured Settlements for Accident Victims
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
That's why every year, tens of thousands of injury victims settle legal claims with a structured settlement. This involves trading a cash settlement for long-term, tax-free income funded by an annuity. It's a smart choice and encouraged by the federal ...


Legal Talk Network

Non-Qualified Structured Settlements & Taxes Part Two
Legal Talk Network
In part two of Ringler Radio's podcast on non-qualified structured settlements, host Larry Cohen and co-host Cindy Chanley talk with returning guest, tax attorney Robert Wood from Wood LLP, about the tax implications of structuring a settlement in a ...


Law360

Tax Benefits Of Structured Settlements In Employment Cases
Law360
Structured settlements can drastically reduce the plaintiff's tax liability in employment cases. This is because the settlement proceeds are not paid directly to the plaintiff. The money is paid to fund an annuity which then provides a future income ...
Not Your Grandfather's Structured Settlement (Or Is It?)Legal Examiner

all 4 news articles »

Legal Examiner

What is a Structured Settlement?
Legal Examiner
A structured settlement is a planning solution used by some people who receive a settlement from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit or a workers compensation claim. Those who decide to structure will receive compensation from their settlement ...


Asset Securitization Report

JG Wentworth's next ABS features less exposure to annuities
Asset Securitization Report
The initial collateral for J.G. Wentworth XLII LLC, Series 2018-2 is 97.4% structured settlements, up from 96.6% for the prior deal and the highest concentration of any deal over the past five years. Annuities account for 2.4% of the collateral, down ...


Cardinal Health exec pay should include opioid settlements, shareholders say
Becker's Hospital Review
"As it is structured now, Cardinal may insulate senior executives from legal risks by removing associated costs from the metrics that determine their incentive compensation." Cardinal's board of directors urged shareholders not to adopt the proposal.


Legal Talk Network

ABA Young Lawyers Help Hurricane Florence Victims
Legal Talk Network
... discussing details with attorney Dan Wade, coordinator of the Disaster Legal Services Program, and Alia S. Graham, program specialist for the ABA's Young Lawyers Division. Visit Ringler to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.


Big News Network (press release) (blog)

Have your say on medical negligence claims in public healthcare
Big News Network (press release) (blog)
The new State Liability Amendment Bill proposes scrapping lump sum settlements for medical negligence claims of more than R1 million and replacing them with a structured settlement plan with scheduled payments. Successful claimants will receive future ...

Google News

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