ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Legal Newsline) — Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has taken action to defend lead-paint victims by testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in support of legislation meant to safeguard these victims.
Leading lawmakers, consumer and lead-paint victim advocates and the Attorney General’s Office are pushing for stronger safeguards that would protect injured Marylanders from financial exploitation.
As it stands, financial firms often offer small cash lump sum payments to consumers promising a more-valuable stream of future payments from settling their personal injury lawsuits. According to Frosh, these transactions provide only a fraction of the settlement value to victims. Additionally, Frosh’s office believes that victims may not be receiving independent financial advice as required by law.
"We can't let the most vulnerable among us, including those whose brains have been harmed by the poison of lead paint, become victimized a second time," Frosh said. "These companies rely on aggressive marketing that entrap these victims. We can't sit by while futures are stolen. We can do better."
The legislation is backed by the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, and has received support from Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch.
The legislation would require that victims receive independent advice on deals and mandate that courts rule whether the deal is in the best interest of the victim. All applications for transfers would have to be filed in circuit court and the attorney general would have authority to adopt and enforce regulations in support of victims.