WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A question in a lawsuit against a legal funding company that allegedly scammed 9/11 responders and former NFL players has swapped judges’ hands.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Loretta A. Preska referred a question of "whether the NFL Concussion Litigation settlement agreement forbids assignments of settlement benefits" to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Anita Brody in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. RD Legal Funding case, according to a Sept. 8 order.

“The court finds that a referral to Judge Brody would spare the court from expending its own resources by leaving the question to the district court that presided over the multidistrict litigation for over five years and is presently overseeing the implementation of the settlement,” according to the order from the Southern District of New York.

Legal Newsline reported on the case in February, speaking to Ballard Spahr attorney Scott M. Pearson, who said since the case charges fraud, the CFPB had to seek New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in order to pursue it.  

“All we know at this point is what the CFPB and the AG have alleged,” Pearson told Legal Newsline. “The actual facts could be different, and the contracts used by companies in this industry often provide strong legal defenses.”

Ballard Spahr attorney Bowen Ranney has blogged on the case, reporting in September that Brody granted a request of Co-Lead Class Counsel Christopher Seeger for a list of any retired NFL players contacted by the plaintiff and defendant, a list of all discharged NFL players who may have settled into agreements related to the NFL Concussion Settlement and a copy of any contract related to the settlement.

Ranney did not respond to emails and phone calls from Legal Newsline.

"The CFPB and New York attorney general allege that the illegal scheme deceived 9/11 first responders with cancer and other illnesses and football players with brain injuries out of millions of dollars by luring them into costly advances on settlement payouts with lies about the terms of the deals. In the suit filed in federal court, the CFPB and the New York Attorney General seek to put an end to the company’s illegal practices, obtain relief for the victims, and impose penalties," a CFPB press release on the suit stated.

Preska expressed her thanks to Brody for her assistance in the order.

“She has graciously agreed to accept a referral on the question of whether NFL Concussion Litigation settlement agreement forbids assignments of settlement benefits,” Preska wrote in the order.  

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau New York Attorney General U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

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