Maryland Senate Bill 734, which amends the procedures for structured settlement transfers took effect on October 1, 2016. Senate Bill 734 requires that factoring companies register with the Maryland Attorney General before filing transfer petitions or applications within the State of Maryland. The bill further requires that factoring companies (known as transferees under the structured settlement protection statute) post a surety bond before doing business in Maryland. In an effort to prevent “judge shopping” or “forum shopping” the new law also requires that all transfer petitions be filed in the county in which the payee lives. In September, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced that his office was accepting registrations under the new law. If a factoring company is not registered with the OAG (Office of Attorney General) the factoring company may not file a transfer petition in Maryland. This new legislation came on the heels of investigative journalist Terrence McCoy’s article in The Washington Post (“How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks”) on the predatory business practices of many structured settlement factoring companies. Attorney General Frosh’s suit against Access Funding, LLC and other structured settlement factoring companies filed on May 10, 2016 is pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Maryland’s new Structured Settlement Protection Act is among the most comprehensive of the 49 state structured settlement protection acts.
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