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Revised Florida Structured Settlement Protection Act

In March, 2016 the Florida legislature passed a bill revising the Florida Structured Settlement Protection Act § 626.99296 et seq., adding new requirements designed to protect individuals selling their structured settlement payments in the secondary market.  The revised Act requires that (1) transfer petitions be filed in the county where the payee resides; (2) all payees attend the hearing on the transfer petition (unless the court determines that good cause exists to excuse the payee from attending); (3) the transfer petition include a summary of all transfers by the payee to the transferee (or an affiliate of the transferee ) filed within the four years preceding the date of the transfer agreement; (4) the transfer petition include a summary of all transfers by the payee to any person or entity other than the current transferee within the three years preceding the date of the transfer agreement, if actually known to the transferee or disclosed by the payee; (5) the transfer petition include a summary of any proposed transfers by the payee to the transferee that were denied within the two years preceding the date of the transfer agreement; and (6) the transfer petition include a summary of any other proposed transfers that were denied, if known by the transferee or disclosed by the payee.  These revisions are definitely steps in the right direction and go a long way towards supplying a Florida Circuit Court with information necessary to make a determination that a transfer is in the payee’s “best interest.”

However, the revised statute allows the court to hear an application for a transfer even if the settlement agreement prohibits the transfer of payment rights.  This means that no matter how hard a personal injury lawyer may work to protect his/her client from the secondary market, the carefully crafted structured settlement designed to protect an injury victim for an entire lifetime can be undone with the stroke of a pen.  Without a doubt, this leaves vulnerable settlement victims at the mercy of unscrupulous factoring companies and their high pressure sales tactics.

These revisions to the Florida Structured Settlement Protection Act § 626.99296 et seq., are effective as of July 1, 2016.