Santa Barbara, CA - Foley & Bezek, a Southern California law firm with a practice specializing in class actions, confirms that a California State Court has certified a class action in the In Re: Structured Settlement Litigation, Case No. BC249692, in Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Judge Peter Lichtman certified the class on January 29, 2002. Judge Licthman found that the Plaintiffs' claims against numerous defendants for alleged failure to make timely payments to individuals who settled personal injury cases and agreed to accept periodic payments utilizing "structured settlements," should proceed as a class action and appointed Foley & Bezek as one of the class counsel.
The Plaintiffs filed suit in January 2001 alleging that they have relied upon the integrity of Treasury Bond Trusts established by IBAR, Merrill Lynch and Merrrill Lynch Settlement Services Inc., under trust agreements with Bank of America and Wells Fargo, to secure over $200 million in outstanding settlement obligations. The complaint further alleges that in November, 2000, the current structured settlement company, SSTAI, defaulted on those payments. The complaint alleges that this default has had an enormous impact on the Plaintiffs, who represent an acutely vulnerable class of persons, many of whom are dependant on these settlement payments for medical care and the daily necessities of life.
In certifying this action as a class action, Judge Licthman defined the class of persons as all persons and entities who are parties to structured settlements with a company variously known as IBAR, Inc., Merrill Lynch IBAR, Inc., Merrill Lynch Settlement Services, Inc., ML Settlement Services, Inc., or Settlement Services Treasury Assignments, Inc., whose structured settlements provided for payments to be paid out of the interest and principal paid on U.S. Treasury bonds held in trust and who have not received payment in full of the amounts due to them under their structured settlements.