Understanding Your Options: What the Department of Justice isn’t Telling You


by Rick Bishop
Principal, Settlement Planners

Plaintiff attorneys understand the importance of subject matter expertise. In all aspects of a case, lawyers bring in their own experts to support their position and refute the defense.

The settlement phase of a mediation or trial shouldn’t be any different. Almost everyone in the legal profession agrees that the plaintiff has a right to expert representation in the settlement process as well as the trial.

The Department of Justice, however, has a long track record of disregarding plaintiff rights during the settlement process. Most attorneys aren’t aware of DOJ settlement practices, but they can dramatically affect your ability to get a fair settlement. Examples include:

  • A recent GAO study, found that over 70% of DOJ settlements across the country were awarded to 4 brokerage firms.
  • In the same GAO study, the DOJ official could not (or would not) provide any documentation or support for why these preferred brokerages were selected.
  • The DOJ has warned their approved brokers that working with a plaintiff’s broker will cause their termination from the “approved list.”
  • The DOJ has consistently advocated the unfair practice of demanding “reversionary rights” of guaranteed future payments upon the annuitant’s death – rather than allowing the annuity payments pass to the heirs of the annuitant.
  • The DOJ consistently opposes the right of attorneys to structure their fees.

Despite the practices of the DOJ, we can help. Your client deserves representation by an expert settlement planning professional. We have a history of helping clients work through DOJ roadblocks. And we have a variety of alternatives and options that ensure your client will be able to have input on what may be the most important financial decisions they will ever make.

If you have any questions about how we can help you and your client, call today for a free consultation: 800-727-3885.