In a controversial ruling, the Illinois Court of Appeals (4th District) has decided that a structured settlement seller can renege on that sale over 3 years after the fact. The court held that the sale could be set aside based on “anti-assignment” language in the structured settlement documents (provisions that purport to restrict the ability to sell or assign payments). Shockingly, and in a sharp break from prior cases, the court decided that these anti-assignment clauses rendered the more than 3 year old sale “void” – even though no party to the agreements containing these restrictions raised the issue, and, in fact, waived them at the time of the sale.

This decision will most likely be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. If it were to stand, consumers in Illinois might not be able to sell structured settlement payments, which is often their only asset. Structured settlement recipients sell some or all of their future payments for cash in order to pay off oppressive debts, buy cars that enable them to get to work, and afford appropriate housing, among other things.

Read the decision here: