80-F-1 - Structured Settlements

FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 80-F-1-Supplemental

Requests have been received for clarification of certain language in Formal Ethics Opinion 80-F-1.

Certain members of the Bar feel that the following statement in that Opinion is overbroad:


The conflict of interest that arises from the fee interest potential of structured settlements is so inherently conducive to divided loyalties as to amount to a conflict of interest with the client.


It is not the intention of the Opinion to condemn all structural settlements, as the sentence might imply.  The quoted sentence was intended to be restricted to the facts of the inquiry which the
Opinion addressed.  The holding of the Committee is restricted to the last sentence of the Opinion:


It is the opinion of the Committee that any arrangement by which the opposing party participates in the setting of the fee charged by the attorney to his client conflicts with the language and intent of DR 5-107 and EC 5-22 of the Code.  [sig., Canons]  The subject of structural settlements deserves a comprehensive review and will be addressed in more detail by the Board in the near future.


This 16th day of April , 1981.


ETHICS COMMITTEE:


Randall Burcham
W. H. Lassiter
George E. Morrow


APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD