Portsmouth judges rubber-stamped agreements that let out-of-state firms represented by a Virginia delegate buy millions of dollars worth of payments owed to sick or injured people, sometimes for a fraction of their value, according to a federal lawsuit.
Del. Stephen Heretick and his clients say the deals were legal, approved after court hearings held in accordance with state law.
But in the lawsuit, a Southwest Virginia man and his attorneys allege the large number of cases filed in Portsmouth and the scant court review they received show a conspiracy between Heretick and “complicit judges” who sometimes approved dozens of agreements on a single day.
The case revolves around “structured settlements” that let people collect lawsuit payouts over many years. Sometimes, however, recipients decide they don’t