Saturday, July 25, 2009

Former Administrator Rita Hunter

95-Year-Old Fights Back

Attorney Fees Challenged

Class Action Filed

Former Ward Files Suit

Mother and Daughter File Suit

Victims of Guardians

(This site was launched due to an unlawful guardianship experience in NY State, but is fairly typical of corrupt guardianships/conservatorships across the country.)

Some people have described it as a "bounty hunting" operation, with headhunters running computer searches for financial and personal data on potential victims who wind up in a hospital and transfer to a nursing home (whether by reason of illness or even just a fall on the sidewalk).

The nursing home lawyer or someone else then petitions for a guardianship. The assigned judge then distributes his patronage to his pals, in the form of fiduciary appointments as guardian, court evaluator, counsel to the AIP, etc.

Would it shock you to learn that there is no requirement in New York for mandatory counsel to represent a person believed to be incapacitated? It won't when you read on. Many adjudication "hearings" are held which are totally sham, replate with constitutional due process violations, and conducted in complete contravention of statutory protections promulgated by the states, and practice rules issued by the courts.

Who's supposed to watch the guardians?
The judges.
Who's been watching the judges?

Lawsuit to Get Abuse Report

A legal advocacy group is expected to announce that it filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Human Services on behalf of a family denied information about an episode they say traumatized their 41-year-old severely disabled son living in a state institution.

Rosamund and Daniel Caliendo of Hampton said they arrived at the Hunterdon Developmental Center in Clinton for a holiday party on Dec. 1, 2007 to find their son, Damian, in his electronic wheelchair facing a wall with the chair's front wheels suspended in the air and the tray table jabbed into his stomach.

Their son, who cannot speak and is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder and other medical conditions that required neck surgery a year earlier, "was scared to death he was going to fall." No one at the party came forward to explain what happened to Damien, who has lived at the institution for 30 years. The family believes an employee placed him in an unlawful restraint to punish him. They filed a complaint and demanded an investigation.

But when the Caliendos asked for the investigative report, the department gave them only a summary saying "staff did not act according to policy," and "additional training will be conducted." The summary did not include information about who was responsible or whether anyone had been punished.

Disability Rights New Jersey tried to obtain a copy of the report on the family's behalf but was told state law does not permit the department from sharing investigative reports without a court order.

Full Article and Source:
Disability Rights group sues N.J. to get report about disabled man's alleged abuse

Friday, July 24, 2009

Allred Nominates NGA Director

El Paso lawyer and guardianship specialist Terry Hammond has been nominated in a court petition to be the financial guardian for the octuplets delivered in January by Nadya Suleman, known to many as the Octomom.

The nomination came in a petiton for guardianship of a minor filed last month in an Orange County, Calif., superior court by Hollywood lawyer Gloria Allred and John Deily of Irvine, Ca., on behalf of former child actor Paul Peterson, who heads A Minor Consideration, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection of child actors and celebrities.

The first hearing on the petition is set for Monday.

Hammond, who specializes in elder law with with his wife, Stephanie Townsend Allalla, is a recognized authority on guardianships and has been executive director of the National Guardianship Association since 2006.

Full Article and Source:
El Paso lawyer Terry Hammond nominated as financial guardian for Octomom's 8

See also:
Legal Abuse of Octomom?

Gloria Allred Files Petition for Octo-Guardian

Guardian Abuse of Maecker

Bill Maecker & 98 year old Mother, Virginia Maecker (NY): Guardian Abuse

Family Court Crisis

Working with Kathleen Russell Consulting and Ludlow Media, Center For Judicial Excellence (CJE) produced a 42-minute documentary addressing the serious systemic breakdown of our family courts.

The film, Family Court Crisis: Our Children At Risk, features interviews with individuals whose lives have been affected by the dysfunctional family law system and expert analyses of what has gone wrong. Issues addressed in the documentary include:

* Parental Alienation Syndrome is the reigning paradigm in family law

* Mediators, Therapists & Evaluators are usurping judicial authority

* The Family Law Machine is operating as Big Business

Full Article and Source:
Family Court Crisis: Our Children at Risk

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Patient-Protection Bill Introduced

Three Shore area legislators who intervened on behalf of the family of a 29-year-old woman who weighed 43 pounds when she died at a community care residence last November have introduced legislation to protect other people in the state human services system.

Flanked by relatives of the late Tara O'Leary, State Sen. Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon announced the introduction of legislation which, if passed, would provide greater oversight and protection for patients. It includes establishing a 24-hour hotline to report suspected abuse and would create a registry of caseworkers and caregivers found guilty of neglecting or abusing patients and prohibit them from working in that field again.

Full Article and Source:
Patient-protection bill introduced after malnourished woman's death

See also:
Family Wants Answers

Death Prompts Investigation

The Children of Martin Luther King Jr.

King's four children have a long history of exploiting their father's good deeds for cash. Low lights include...

* Attempting to auction off their father's private papers (which they had previously withheld from the public unless the public wished to pay a fee). These papers, including an early draft of the "I Have a Dream" speech were spared from auction when a group of philanthropists banded together and paid off the King children to the tune of $32 million.

* Demanding millions in "licensing fees" for campaign paraphernalia (mostly homemade) linking their father to then-candidate Barack Obama.

* Hurling lawsuits at one another over their parents' estate after Coretta Scott King died in 2006.

The latest disgrace hit newsstands when it was revealed that the King children are charging the National Memorial Project Foundation for the privilege to create a memorial to their father.

Full Article and Source:
Martin Luther King's Children Continue to Cash In on Their Father's Legacy

More information:
Family Trouble Over Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic

Martin Luther King Jr.: Children Have Differing Dreams for Father's Estate

Martin Luther King's Children Sue Brother Dexter

MLK Family Feud

Cashing in on Martin Luther King Jr.

Attorney Liable in Tort

As a general rule, attorneys aren’t liable to third parties in tort.

However, a July 14 opinion by the Wisconsin Supreme Court created an exception, permitting an attorney to be sued for intentionally aiding a client in drafting a will to evade his obligations under a divorce agreement.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote for the court: “We agree that in most cases, an attorney is immune from liability to third parties based on the attorney’s failure to perform a duty owed to a client. However, failure to perform an obligation to a client is entirely distinct from conduct that assists the client committing an unlawful act to the detriment of a third party.”

Robert Tensfeldt and his first wife, Ruth, had three children. When they divorced in 1974, the divorce judgment provided that Robert would maintain a will granting at least two-thirds of his net estate to the adult children.

Robert remarried, and in 1981 (and in several later revisions), drafted a new will contrary to the divorce judgment. Attorney Roy C. LaBudde drafted the new wills.

After LaBudde scaled back his practice, Tensfeldt was represented by attorney F. William Haberman. It was undisputed that Haberman did not know about the divorce provision until after Tensfeldt died in 2000, and did not draft any will for Tensfeldt, but was negligent in providing advice in an unrelated aspect of the law.

The estate was probated in Florida, and was settled after extensive litigation. The children then sued LaBudde and Haberman in Wisconsin, alleging negligence against both, and intentional tort against LaBudde.

The Supreme Court held that both attorneys were entitled to summary judgment on the negligence claims, but that the intentional tort claim could proceed against LaBudde.

Full Article and Source:
Attorney is liable to third parties for tort

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Kathleen Simane now Kathy Larson?

From TV to Prison

Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame

Award Winning Newspaper

ASA Honors Elder Abuse Series

Elder Abuse Series Honored

Profile of the Sociopath

Audit of Family Courts

Prodded by Sen. Mark Leno and other lawmakers, the state Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to investigate the family courts in Marin and Sacramento counties.

The audit will focus on the use, and potential misuse, of court-appointed specialists in family-law disputes, such as mediators, investigators and therapists.

Critics say such appointees can form incestuous and incompetent networks more concerned with generating fees than helping children through painful custody fights.

Marin and Sacramento counties were chosen for the audit because of the number of litigants reporting problems and filing complaints.

Full Article and Source:
State orders audit of Marin family court

Lawyer Argues Against The Billable Hour

Evan Chesler, head of the old line New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore L.L.P., caused jaws to drop in early January when he challenged lawyers to dispense with the hourly billing system that had sustained the industry for generations.

He argued: the system rewards inefficiency, frustrates clients and has little economic logic.

Chesler verbalized what many law-firm leaders had been silently mulling for years and triggered an enormous debate over the potential benefits of alternative billing arrangements, such as flat fees, or discounted rates linked with incentive payments for favorable results.

But to what degree has the industry actually changed the way it is charging clients?

So far, the answer appears to be not so much.

Full Article and Source:
Closing arguments on the billable hour

See also:
Billable Hour System

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whistleblower Sues Attorney

Jill Jones-Soderman, a New York based social worker and the executive director of The Foundation for the Child Victims of the Family Courts, has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against her former attorney in federal court for alleged negligence, fraud, deception, malpractice and infliction of emotional distress.

According to Jones-Soderman, she paid Richard Mazaway thousands of dollars over the period he was "representing her." During this time he never filed a motion or legal order on her behalf despite the fact that he had personally uncovered evidence and had access to all pertinent information to prove that she was the victim of malicious judicial fraud and misconduct.

He even found "smoking gun" evidence during discovery from the New Jersey Attorney General's office which showed why the state's licensing board was so aggressively pursuing the revocation of her license - to the point where they were fabricating charges - Jones-Soderman said. On top of that, she was told she could not know the nature of the complaint against her. Yet Mazaway did nothing. The information he obtained proved that Judge Mary Margaret McVeigh had filed fraudulent charges against Jones-Soderman, stating that a report had been written to influence the court. But according to Jones-Soderman, no such report was ever written.

The problems started when Jones-Soderman was fraudulently removed from a case on which she was serving as a forensic consultant. After discovering and attempting to expose the alleged fraud occurring in the family court, she was ordered off the case.

Full Article and Source:
Whistle-blower Jill Jones-Soderman Files Lawsuit Against Her Former Attorney

Rank Greed

A half-priced downtown condo on the Intracoastal.

A $50,000 piece of land.

More than $500,000 in cash that was was used to pay off mortgage, buy a second home in Pennsylvania, and pay tuition at an expensive private school.

Family jewelry, a Dell computer, and a widescreen TV.

These are just some of the things Judge Larry Seidlin obtained from elderly widow Barbara Kasler, according to a civil suit filed by the widown's attorney. The Fort Lauderdale lawyer representing Kasler, Robert Bissonette, filed the suit claiming that "rank greed" led Seidlin to pilfer the widow's assets and belongings.

The suit alleges that Seidlin exploited Kasler after her second son, Frank Gardner, died, leaving her virtually alone. That's when Seidlin pounced, according to the lawsuit.

Full Article and Source:
Lawsuit: 'Rank Greed' Led Judge Seidlin To Exploit Elderly Widow

See also:
Elderly Sues Judge Seidlin

The "Snitch" Rule in Effect

Kentucky’s Supreme Court has approved comprehensive revisions to its rules governing attorney conduct, including a new rule that requires attorneys who know about professional misconduct by other attorneys or judges to report the misconduct.

If Kentucky follows the pattern set in other states which have a similar requirement, few, if any lawyers will ever be cited for ignoring the “snitch” rule. Nevertheless, supporters of the new rule believe it will have a prophylactic effect upon the ethical conduct of attorneys.

The amended rules become effective July 15.

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr.: “The revised rules reflect thoughtful changes that will bring Kentucky into line with national standards for attorney conduct. Our goal is to improve public confidence in our state’s legal profession by strengthening attorney accountability.”

Full Article and Source:
Kentucky lawyers now required to snitch on judges, one another

See also:
"Squeal Rule" Clarified

Monday, July 20, 2009

Judge Don Windle

Judge Windle Caught

Denton County Judge and Guardian

The Cash In

Attorney General Intervention

The state attorney general claimed victory in a legal battle stemming from 2005 that challenged the legitimacy of a sales agreement in which an elderly woman agreed to sell her home to two men for less than half of what it was worth at the time.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal intervened after Mona Lee Johnson agreed to sell her home, estimated to be worth $1.2 million, for $500,000, a month before she passed away.

The Attorney General's Office alleged that her neighbor, Mark Lovallo, had urged Johnson to sign off on the sales option while she was sick in the hospital. The deal also included her longtime accountant, David Alfano.

Blumenthal said that Johnson never intended to approve the deal, which would have significantly lowered the amount of money that would have been donated to eight of her favorite charities. Johnson's will divided nearly all of her $1.5 million estate to charities including the Greenwich Library and Perrot Memorial Library in Old Greenwich.

Blumenthal: "I fought successfully to stop this suspect agreement denying hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities intended to benefit from the home's sale. In charity law, the donor's wishes are paramount. This donor never wished to sell her home at a bargain-basement price, significantly slashing the proceeds to charities named in her will."

Full Article and Source:
Attorney general intervenes in Greenwich estate case

Credit Card Investigation

Lester Mitchell, an 84-year-old retired farmer, has battled back pain -- "For a long, long while." His first back surgery in 1956 was the first of many.

Lester received a consultation with Dr. Brian Winslow, a West Des Moines chiropractor. Lester was told he could benefit from spinal decompression, a method of stretching the spine and decompressing the discs.

Lester: "They were gonna use a traction like treatment." But before beginning treatment, financing would have to be approved.

The call may have been to "Care Credit," a G.E. financing company. Care Credit is like a credit card for health care. Lester did qualify. Care Credit financed $3500 at a 13.9% interest rate over five years. A late payment would boost the interest rate up to 29.9%.

"I didn't realize I was opening up a new account," says Lester.

Neither did Lester's daughter, Denise, until she saw the bill. "I'm conservator of the account so I pay the bills. I came across a new credit card and the 35-hundred dollar charge."

As conservator, Denise has legal authority to make financial decisions for her father. On May 7, she faxed guardian and conservatorship papers to Care Credit and Dr. Winslow. She asked the account be closed and her father be refunded.

"He was told that that would not happen, by these corporate people and that the program was not $3500, but $9000 and my dad had been given a $500 discount and the rest was being paid by Medicare," says Denise.

The response from Care Credit, "We are not able to accommodate your request at this time."

Full Article and Source:
Back Pain Treatment Investigation

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guardianship Hearing Postponed Again

The guardianship hearing for Michael Jackson's three children that was scheduled for July 20 has been postponed (again) to Aug. 3, according to

The reason: Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe reportedly are close to striking up a custody settlement. TMZ's sources say that an agreement is expected soon and that the discussion "is amicable and involves the children -- not money."

Katherine Jackson will remain the children's legal guardian until the Aug. 3 hearing.

Full Article and Source:
Michael Jackson: Guardianship hearing postponed

See also:
Second Delay in Guardianship Hearing

Judge Violated 1st Amendment

The Court of Appeals sided with a minister who said his free speech rights were violated after he was imprisoned for criticizing a judge using biblical verses.

Michael Steinberg, Michigan legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Pinkney in his free speech claims: "The Court of Appeals opinion reaffirms the basic American value that citizens cannot be imprisoned for criticizing government officials or expressing their religious beliefs. To our knowledge, this case marks the first time in modern history that a preacher has been thrown in prison for predicting what God might do."

The minister had been sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for writing a newspaper article that criticized the judge who presided over his trial. In his criticism, he talked about what God would do to the judge. Quoting from the Bible, Pinkney said, "the Lord shall smite thee."

Full Article and Source:
Michigan news briefs: Court rules judge violated 1st Amendment

More information:
Minister Wins Right to Threaten Judge with Biblical Curses

Appeals court hears case of Rev. Pinkney

Rev. Pinkney barred from his own hearing

Rev. Edward Pinkney article:
Corrupt judge denies new jury trial in Pinkney case

Kinship Guardianship

When a child’s parents are in trouble and can no longer care for their child, often foster care is called for. But, for some fortunate children, grandparents or other family members step in to fill the role of parents.

In Mason County a support group for those with kinship guardianship of children meets every month at Mason County Reformed Church to share the joys and trials of raising those children. Most of them are grandparents, and the group is informally called Grandparents Raising Grandchildren although according to the group’s leader, June McMann, it is more accurate to think of it as kinship guardianship.

Full Article and Source:
Kinship guardianship: Parenting all over again