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Fri Aug 5, 2016, 07:20 PM

British insurance company accused of preventing payments to Baltimore lead poisoning victims

Source: Byb Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun

August 5, 2016, 5:48 PM

State officials are investigating an allegation that a British insurance company is conspiring to prevent lead-poisoning victims in Baltimore from recovering damages.

The Maryland Insurance Administration said it has launched an "active investigation" into the London-based CX Reinsurance Co. after officials received a complaint from the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl.

Lawyer Scott E. Nevin accused CXRe of pressuring landlords to rescind insurance policies so it doesn't have to pay potential judgments from cases filed by the families of lead-poisoned children in Baltimore.

Nevin and other area lawyers say the company's actions could put the cases of at least 100 families in jeopardy because smaller landlords typically don't have enough cash or assets to cover damages awarded to families in lead-poisoning lawsuits.

"I am writing this complaint to inform you of facts that support the existence of a conspiracy to commit fraud," Nevin wrote in a complaint to state officials. "The fraudulent activity seeks to prevent my client from recovering personal injury damages in a lead paint poisoning case. It also affects many other victims of lead poisoning in Baltimore City who have similar claims."

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-lead-complaint-20160805-story.html

More: http://www.baltimoresun.com/topic/health/diseases-illnesses/lead-poisoning-HEIAD0007-topic.html

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Reply British insurance company accused of preventing payments to Baltimore lead poisoning victims (Original post)
proverbialwisdom Aug 2016 OP
forest444 Aug 2016 #1
proverbialwisdom Aug 2016 #2
proverbialwisdom Aug 2016 #3
proverbialwisdom Aug 2016 #4
area51 Aug 2016 #5

Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 07:41 PM

1. Just like their countrymen at BP. Imagine that.

The British Empire may have ended around 1960 - but try telling the London plutonomy that.

The divine right of kings is alive and well as far as they're concerned.

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 01:25 AM

3. It gets worse, this '15 article is sickening. Incidentally, OP link from article about Korryn Gaines


How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks

By Terrence McCoy
August 25, 2015

BALTIMORE — The letter arrived in April, a mishmash of strange numbers and words. This at first did not alarm Rose. Most letters are that way for her — frustrating puzzles she can’t solve. Rose, who can scarcely read or write, calls herself a “lead kid.” Her childhood home, where lead paint chips blanketed her bedsheets like snowflakes, “affected me really bad,” she says. “In everything I do.”

She says she can’t work a professional job. She can’t live alone. And, she says, she surely couldn’t understand this letter.

So on that April day, the 20-year-old says, she asked her mom to give it a look. Her mother glanced at the words, then back at her daughter. “What does this mean all of your payments were sold to a third party?” her mother recalls saying.

The distraught woman said the letter, written by her insurance company, referred to Rose’s lead checks. The family had settled a lead-paint lawsuit against one Baltimore slumlord in 2007, granting Rose a monthly check of nearly $1,000, with yearly increases. Those payments were guaranteed for 35 years.

She remembered a nice, white man. He had called her one day on the telephone months after she’d squeaked through high school with a “one-point something” grade-point average. His name was Brendan, though she said he never mentioned his last name. He told her she could make some fast money. He told her he worked for a local company named Access Funding. He talked to her as a friend.

Rose, who court records say suffers from “irreversible brain damage,” didn’t have a lot of friends. She didn’t trust many people. Growing up off North Avenue in West Baltimore, she said she’s seen people killed.

But Brendan was different. He bought her a fancy meal at Longhorn Steakhouse, she said, and guaranteed a vacation for the family. He seemed like a gentleman, someone she said she could trust.

One day soon after, a notary arrived at her house and slid her a 12-page “purchase” agreement. Rose was alone. But she wasn’t worried. She said she spoke to a lawyer named Charles E. Smith on the phone about the contract. She felt confident in what it stated. She was selling some checks in the distant future for some quick money, right?

The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000.

In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000.

‘They fall through a crack’

Rose, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition that her full name not be used, had just tumbled into the little-noticed, effectively unregulated netherworld of structured settlements.

Traditional settlements are paid in one immediate lump sum. But these structured agreements often deliver monthly payments across decades to protect vulnerable recipients from immediately spending the money. Since 1975, insurance companies have committed an estimated $350 billion to structured settlements. This has given rise to a secondary market in which dozens of firms compete to purchase the rights to those payments for a fraction of their face value.


Before his April death while in police custody, before this hollowed-out city plunged into rioting, the life of Freddie Gray was a case study in the effect of lead paint on poor blacks. The lead poisoning Gray suffered as a child may have contributed to his difficulties with learning, truancy and arrests — all of it culminating in a 2008 lead-paint lawsuit and a windfall of cash locked inside a structured settlement. By late 2013, Gray was striking deals with Access Funding.


A Washington Post review of thousands of pages of court records and interviews with industry insiders and eight victims of lead poisoning have revealed these loopholes in Baltimore.

Access Funding, located in Chevy Chase, isn’t the biggest player in the industry. But the company’s court documents nonetheless illuminate the mechanics of this trade, as well as how little scrutiny it receives. The firm has filed nearly 200 structured settlement purchases in Maryland since 2013. A review of two-thirds of those cases, which primarily funnel through one judge’s courtroom in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, shows nearly three-fourths involved victims of lead poisoning.

Every case spells out the deal’s worth. It lists the aggregate value of the lead victim’s payments, their present value and the agreed purchase price. A random survey of 52 of those deals shows Access Funding generally offers to pay around 33 cents on the present value of a dollar. Sometimes, it offers more. And sometimes, much less. One 24-year-old lead victim sold nearly $327,000 worth of payments, which had a present value of $179,000, for less than $16,200 — or about 9 cents on the dollar. Another relinquished $256,000 worth of payments, which had a present value of $166,000, for $35,000 — or about 21 cents on the dollar.

Taken together, the sample shows Access Funding petitioned to buy roughly $6.9 million worth of future payments — which had a present value of $5.3 million — for around $1.7 million.


8/28/2015 1:58 PM PDT
Just to put to rest the false claim that Access Funding and their ilk risk losing all the future payment upon the death of the original claimant, the standard order signed in these cases specifically orders that the payments shall continue beyond the death of the person in whose name the settlement was originally made... More.

The Guardian and The Washington Post are reporting that both Korryn Gaines and Freddie Gray were involved in lead-paint lawsuits against landlords.
More: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1016164831

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #3)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 01:43 AM

4. 4/25/16: White House Correspondents' Association honors Terrence McCoy on lead poisoning series.


White House Correspondents' Association Announces 2016 JOURNALISM AWARDS

The White House Correspondents' Association, founded in 1914 and dedicated to full coverage of the President of the United States, is proud to announce the winners of its annual awards for distinguished print and broadcast journalism.


The Edgar A. Poe awards, which recognizes excellence in coverage of events or investigative topics of regional or national interest, will be shared this year by Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post and Neela Banerjee, John Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of InsideClimate News.

The Edgar A. Poe Award

The Edgar A. Poe Award honors excellence in news coverage of subjects and events of significant national or regional importance, written with fairness and objectivity. A prize of $2,500 was established by the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Newhouse Newspapers in honor of their distinguished correspondent, Edgar A. Poe.

From the Judges on Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post: After African-American Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore, McCoy investigated the fact overlooked by others that Gray ingested lead paint as a child, leaving him permanently disabled. McCoy learned Gray was among tens of thousands of poor black Baltimore residents similarly poisoned as children. Gray had received a settlement from a 2008 lead poisoning lawsuit, with the money distributed over years to assure that plaintiffs, often unsophisticated in financial matters, didn't spend all the money at once. But Gray sold the payouts to a company called Access Funding in return for a lump- sum payment that cost him several hundred thousand dollars in lost payouts. McCoy's investigation found access funding had struck similar deals with many other lead poisoning victims. His findings led to substantial reforms aimed at protecting these vulnerable citizens.



White House Correspondents' Association Honors ICN's #ExxonKnew With Poe Award
The Edgar A. Poe Award annually honors journalistic work of national or regional significance.

By ICN Staff
Apr 25, 2016

President Obama speaks at the White House Correspondent's Association annual dinner, where the journalism awards are presented. Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

InsideClimate News' Exxon: The Road Not Taken series was awarded the Edgar A. Poe Award by the White House Correspondents Association, which annually honors "excellence in news coverage of subjects and events of significant national or regional importance, written with fairness and objectivity."


The award was shared by Terrence McCoy of the Washington Post, who explored the issue of lead poisoning among poor black children in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in custody in a high-profile case of alleged police abuse. Gray, like many similar poisoning victims, had been exploited for his cash settlement.


Who knew?

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Original post)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 03:25 AM

5. Nice of those Brits,

especially considering that unlike them, Americans don't have a right to health care.

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