Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tara's Law

A bill designed to protect individuals with developmental disabilities who are living in community care residences has been introduced by 12th District legislators.

Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assembly members Declan O'Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande hosted a press conference July 21 at their office in Red Bank to announce the introduction of Tara's Law.

Tara's Law would require written monthly case manager reports about individuals with developmental disabilities who are residing in community care residences and would establish a registry of offending community care residence providers.

O'Scanlon: "This law will strengthen the accountability of monitors. People at every level will be responsible for reporting abuse. People will be held personally responsible."

The creation of the law was inspired by the tragic death of 29-year-old Tara O'Leary, a developmentally disabled woman who despite her family's best efforts to gain custody of her, remained in the care of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), which placed her in a setting where she is believed to have been maltreated and neglected. She subsequently died in November 2008, weighing 49 pounds, according to a press release from the 12th District legislators.

Full Article and Source:
Tara's Law to give 'voice to the voiceless'

See also:
Tara's Law - Legislation

Is Hammond or Isn't He?

Conflicting reports by KFOX TV:

Famed Hollywood Attorney Gloria Allred wanted El Paso attorney Terry Hammond to serve as guardian for Nadya Suleman's eight children.

"Monday in an Orange County, Calif., courtroom, a hearing was held granting Hammond guardianship of the children."

Judge Appoints El Paso Attorney As Financial Guardian Of Nadya Suleman's Octuplets

Attorney Terry Hammond, who's also executive director of the National Guardianship Association, has been nominated to serve as a financial guardian for Nadya Suleman's eight babies.

"Hammond has not been appointed to that role by the judge in the case."

Monday, the judge appointed a separate independent counsel to look into the children's financial interests before deciding whether to appoint a permanent guardian something Suleman's attorneys said is not needed.

El Paso Attorney Nominated As Octomom's Financial Advisor

See also:
Judge Appoints Financial Guardian

Hammond To Serve As Guardian

Allred Nominates NGA Director

Battle in Jackson Probate Case

Katherine Jackson's lawyer is officially squaring off with the two men Michael Jackson selected to handle his estate, claiming the co-executors are intentionally trying to keep Jackson's mom in the dark.

Londell McMillan just issued a statement making it clear -- he wants Katherine to become a co-executor. McMillan claims the co-executors -- John Branca and John McClain -- are not letting Katherine see the agreement Jackson signed with AEG. ... which McMillan says could be a huge source of income for the estate.

McMillan claims the co-executors are imposing unreasonable demands on Katherine -- requiring her to make special promises of confidentiality for the benefit of AEG.

The co-executors have maintained all along they were the ones Michael selected to manage the estate and they are doing their job.

One thing is clear -- it's getting ugly.

Full Article and Source:
Dogfight Shaping Up in Jackson Probate

More information:
Battle brewing over Michael Jackson's music empire

Friday, July 31, 2009

Court Reverses Sanctions

Linda Paquette represented Vida Negrete in her petition to obtain a conservatorship over Bibiano Becerra in 2007.

Becerra had suffered serious brain and other injuries in a 2003 construction accident. He later recovered approximately $1.6 million in settlement, which was placed into a trust for which Negrete served as trustee.

San Diego attorney Parisa P. Farokhi was appointed as Becerra’s attorney and requested that all contact with her client be made through her.

In April 2008, Farokhi accused Paquette of having contacted her client without her consent and knowledge, which interfered with her representation of Becerra. Farokhi requested an order to show cause for sanctions or a contempt ruling, on the grounds that Paquette had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct in that manner.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed an award of over $3,500 in monetary sanctions and attorney fees against a Pasadena attorney based on her alleged violations of the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

Div. One explained that San Diego Superior Court Judge David G. Brown’s imposition of sanctions was legally unsupportable because Linda Paquette had not violated a court order by disregarding a request by counsel for a proposed conservatee that all communications to her client go through her.

Full Article and Source:
Court Reverses Sanctions Against Pasadena Attorney

Judge Clark Munger

Death Served the Purpose

Youth Inspires Others

Attorney Bernardini and Judge Munger

Bernardini & Munger

A Grandchild's Fight

Judge Considering Permanent Guardian

Nadya “Octomom” Suleman signed a contract in May with production company Eyeworks for her family to star in a reality show. Production on the show has begun, but Suleman’s 14 children are currently being kept off camera while work permit issues are considered.

Meanwhile, an Orange County judge is considering whether a permanent financial guardian should be appointed to oversee the children’s earnings from the show (reportedly $250,000 over the next three years) and ensure that they are not exploited.

On Monday, a California judge appointed a lawyer to temporarily oversee the estate of the octuplets.

Suleman's lawyer said a hearing on guardianship is scheduled for Aug. 31 and that Suleman has a motion to dismiss the guardianship order set to be heard on Aug. 20“The appointment of a guardian most assuredly will affect the ability of Nadya to contract with a production company.”

Full Article and Source:
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman's upcoming reality show now in production, lawyer says

See also:
Suleman Guardianship

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Follow-Up: The Gary Harvey Story

Sara Harvey recently made an appearance in Elmira court where she was told her brain damaged husband's feeding tube would not be removed by Chemung County.

Hear her story here:
FLN News / Follow-Up: The Gary Harvey Story

More information:
Dying with Dignity: Follow-Up

The Gary Harvey Story

See also:
Interview With Harvey

Guardianship of Gary Harvey

FLDS Last Custody Case

The last FLDS child in Texas state custody is home -- but not with her parents.

A Texas judge signed an order Thursday permanently placing the last child taken from the polygamous sect's ranch into a relative's care, ending the state's involvement in the massive case.

The girl, now 15, was allegedly spiritually married to FLDS leader Warren S. Jeffs in July 2006 when she was 12. She was the only child of the 439 removed during a state investigation at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in April 2008 still in state custody.

Tom Green County Judge Barbara Walther ruled that Naomi Carlisle, an aunt, will have permanent managing conservatorship of the girl and has exclusive right to determine where she lives.

Walther granted Barbara Jessop, the girl's mother, supervised visits with her daughter, to be overseen by Carlisle. The judge limited the rights of the girl's father, Merril Jessop, to providing $180 a month in child support and getting her medical insurance.

Barbara Jessop also was ordered to pay Carlisle $180 a month to support her daughter.

The judge said the girl is to have no contact with Warren S. Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Full Article and Source:
Texas judge closes last custody case in YFZ raid

See also:
CPS Overruled Efforts

CPS Drops Case

CPS Seeks Permanent Conservatorship

CPS: Court Abused Discretion

Appellate Court: Right or Wrong?

No Right To Seize

Judge Bars CPS

Hammond To Serve As Guardian

Famed Hollywood Attorney Gloria Allred wanted El Paso attorney Terry Hammond to serve as guardian for Nadya Suleman's eight children.

Monday in an Orange County, Calif., courtroom, a hearing was held granting Hammond guardianship of the children.

A petition was filed on behalf of a former child actor who is an advocate for kids in entertainment.

Paul Petersen said he wanted a guardian to ensure labor laws are followed and the money the babies earn is kept safe. That's the role Hammond will now play.

Hammond told KFOX last week there are a number of contractual arrangements being made by Suleman and her attorneys that don't protect the childrens' financial interests.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Appoints El Paso Attorney As Financial Guardian Of Nadya Suleman's Octuplets

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Power of One - Sheila Gast

Sheila Gast Faces Judge

Sheila Gast Sentencing

Investigators: The Power of One - May 2009

Gast Pleads Guilty to Perjury

Gast Charged with Perjury

Sheila Gast - Case Files

Investigators: The Power of One: A Call For Change

Investigators: The Power of One

"A Big Victory" for Harvey

A request by the Chemung County Attorney’s Office to remove Gary Harvey’s total-parenteral-nutrition (TPN) tube was formally dismissed.

The county Attorney’s Office filed the motion to remove the feeding tube in early June but informed state Supreme Court Judge Judith O’Shea late last month it was withdrawing the request, according to a letter from Assistant County Attorney Donald Thomson.

In early June, the St. Joseph’s Hospital Ethics Committee recommended the removal of Harvey’s feeding tube because it was no longer a viable source of nutrition and was causing fungal septicemia, according to an affidavit completed by Rita Gould, the supervisor of Adult Services for the Chemung County Department of Social Services.

Fungal septicemia is an infection that in Harvey was located where the feeding tube was inserted. Later in June, however, the infection began responding to treatment, and the county withdrew its application to remove the feeding tube.

Harvey’s case is still far from over, said his wife, Sara Harvey, who called Monday “a big victory.” Remaining open is the issue of a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. According to Thomson’s letter, a DNR order has been issued in the case.

Sara Harvey is fighting the order. She said her ultimate goal is to regain guardianship of her husband – who is in what doctors describe as a persistent, vegetative state with little to no chance of recovery – and take him home and provide care there.

Full Article and Source:
Comatose man's feeding tube won’t be removed

See also:
Guardianship of Gary Harvey

Special Needs Trusts Workshop

A workshop on guardianship and special needs trusts for individuals with disabilities will be held on August 18, 2009 at United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham.

A track for care coordinators, families, and professionals will run from 1 - 4 pm. For families unable to attend the afternoon session, a track for individuals with disabilities as well as families will be held from 5 - 7 pm.

Topics for the workshop include discussion and examination of guardianship issues, financial planning, resource limitations, Medicaid, SSI, SSID, special needs trusts, and the Alabama Family Trust.

To register for the workshop contact Anita Davidson by e-mail at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Judge Appoints Financial Guardian

An Orange County judge has agreed to appoint a guardian to examine the finances of Octuplets mother Nadya Suleman's 14 children.

A child-labor activist has filed suit against Suleman in Orange County Superior Court, alleging that video shot of her children violates a law aimed at protecting child entertainers from overwork. The suit seeks to create an independent trust for the children.

Suleman said there was no need for a guardian.

Full Article and Source:
Judge appoints financial guardian for Octuplets mom Nadya Suleman's children

More information:
Nadya Suleman's octuplets receive court-ordered oversight for finances

Finance guardian for US octuplets

See also:
Allred Nominates NGA Director

Conservatorship Nears End?

Britney Spears is about be let loose!

The 27-year-old's father Jamie Spears is set to ask the court to review the terms of his conservatorship over his pop star daughter after her concert tour wraps in November.

While Spears cannot directly ask the judge to end the conservatorship, he can request that it be reviewed.

Daddy Spears has taken on his daughter's well-being as a full time job since February 2008, and reportedly seems to think his famous daughter is ready to stand on her own.

Full Article and Source:
Jamie Spears to request review of conservatorship over daughter Britney Spears

More information:
Spears' conservatorship nears end

Britney’s dad may relinquish his conservatorship

See also:
Britney Spears Conservatorship

Win For Farash

A state Supreme Court judge has ruled that ailing real estate baron Max M. Farash's Brighton estate and other family property should be preserved for inheritance by his daughter.

The court-appointed property guardian for Farash, who was declared mentally incapacitated in April 2007, had sought permission earlier this year to cut expenses by selling off Farash's 106-acre Westfall Road estate, his Mendon horse stables, Keuka Lake summer home and a Florida oceanfront condominium.

But Farash's only child, Lynn A. Farash, 61, made both sentimental and practical arguments for why the terms of her father's will should be honored and the property held for her.

Her 95-year-old father, whose personal wealth has been estimated from $200 million to $500 million, has lived in a Webster nursing home for several years.

In a brief written decision, state Supreme Court Justice John Ark sided with Lynn Farash. "She's very pleased by the decision," said Lynn Farash's lawyer, Michael Wolford.

Full Article and Source:
Farash daughter wins case

See also:
Guardian Versus Family

Guardianship Cost $1 Million

Outrageous Guardianship Fees

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Guardianship Revoked

Three of Earnestine Starks' children sat down with News 8 after a visit to see their mother at a Fort Worth nursing home ended with three trespassing warnings. The staff ordered them to leave the property.

"You go from just trying to see your mother to you can never see your mother again."

Days later, another daughter, Sharon Richardson, found out she was no longer her mother's guardian.

"I don't know how a court can award guardianship in one week and then revoke it the next week."

Court documents show that a Tarrant County judge revoked Richardson's guardianship on July 8. According to a letter filed in court by the nursing home, Richardson made allegations of abuse against the facility.

She also wanted staff to re-evaluate her mother, who suffers from dementia and delusions, and move her from a secured to an unsecured unit.

Doctors disagreed with Richardson's request.

Richardson: "My mother did not want to go back to the facility; she said she would not go back in there and did not like the facility and did not like how she was being treated."

The courts appointed a new guardian for Earnestine Starks — Guardianship Services Inc., a non-profit agency that helps incapacitated individuals who do not have family members or friends who can serve as guardians.

Guardianship Services is now in charge of making all of Earnestine Starks' decisions — from medical to financial.

Colleen Colton, director of the agency: "We are guardian until somebody else becomes guardian or they die." She could not comment on the Starks case, but said families struggle with court guardianships because the state is always watching.

The courts have the right to step in if there's any sign of a dispute or allegation.

Full Article and Source:
Aging in America: Family struggles with guardianship issues

Colleen Colton/Guardianship Services, Inc. is registered with National Guardianship Association

Elderly Rights in Nursing Homes

A recent court case of Sarah Grammer v. John J. Kane Regional Centers-Glen Hazel that a private cause of action does exist under federal civil rights laws gives families who suspect abuse of their elderly loved one more options to bring action against a federally supported nursing care facility.

The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) passed in 1987 gave the elderly more specific rights by stating that certain actions, such as restraining a patient, had to have a doctor's written order. This newest ruling in the Grammer case further empowers the rights of the elderly and the option of the family to pursue civil actions against suspected abuse.

This decision furthers the cause of elderly rights that need to be widely publicized as much as possible in order to make public nursing homes have a bit more fear of reprisals if they do not insure that care workers are doing the most to treat the helpless elderly with the respect and dignity that every human being deserves.

Full Article and Source:
Pittsburgh based court case ruling gives stronger recourse against elder abuse

Wanted for Theft From Elder

CA - Tom Traylor is wanted by the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force on a no bail felony warrant for theft or embezzlement of property from an elder or dependent adult.

Traylor is known to frequent the Carlsbad and East County areas of San Diego. He is currently on parole and is considered a parolee at large.

Traylor, 39, is a white male with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs about 185 pounds.

He has a tattoo on his back of a dragon coming out of a wave, a skull tattooed on both arms and the name 'Sarah' on his chest.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to his arrest. If you have any information, call the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 888-580-8477. You can also email or text anonymously. To do so, click here.

Crime Stoppers Seeks Fugitive Of The Week

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama Healthcare Lies - Assualt on Seniors

Assault on Seniors
By Betsy McCaughey

Since Medicare was established in 1965, access to care has enabled older Americans to avoid becoming disabled and languishing in nursing homes. But legislation now being rushed through Congress -- H.R. 3200 and the Senate Health Committee Bill -- will reduce access to care, pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely, and doom baby boomers to painful later years.


While the House bill being pushed by the president reduces access to such cures and specialists, it ensures that seniors are counseled on end-of-life options, including refusing nutrition where state law allows it (pp. 425-446). In Oregon, the state is denying some cancer patients care that could extend their lives and is offering them physician-assisted suicide instead.

Full Article and Source:
Assault on Seniors

Guardian Could Face Charges

An adult guardian could face charges for taking money in exchange for allowing a Houston doctor access to a child. The child was one of at least four who had been sexually abused for years by the grandfatherly surgeon, prosecutors said.

Orthopedic surgeon Bernard Zacharia Albina was arrested on five charges stemming from years of alleged sexual abuse of four prepubescent boys. He is expected to be arraigned in state district court.

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Eric Devlin said a guardian for one of the children could face charges for taking money for allowing access to one of the children. He said statutes of limitations may hinder prosecution, but a charge could be levied as part of an ongoing conspiracy.

Full Article and Source:
DA: Accused molester paid victim $155,000

Siphoning Off Millions

2001 - Court-appointed lawyers are siphoning off millions of dollars in fees from the assets of helpless elderly New Yorkers they are sworn to protect.

Nine years after a legislative overhaul of the state's guardianship laws, reforms meant to protect the assets of the elderly have had the unintended effect of creating a money trough for well-connected attorneys.

Since 1993, New York-area attorneys have been paid at least $63 million in fees from the assets of mostly elderly people whose money they were assigned to protect, according to a Daily News computer analysis of data provided by the state.

A News investigation into the guardianship system has found:

* Case after case of elderly wards whose life savings have been whittled away. Some lawyers are charging $300 an hour or more to perform routine functions, such as going over bank statements.

* A small cadre of lawyers - party loyalists, former judges and partners in the firms of some of the city's most powerful politicians - who receive the overwhelming majority of lucrative guardianship cases.

* Attorneys and judges who routinely ignore court rules designed to limit the number of guardianship-related appointments to no more than one per year that pays $5,000 or more.

* Judges and lawyers who do not report all guardianship appointments and legal fees to the state's Office of Court Administration. Court officials acknowledge many fees go unreported, a problem they say they are trying to correct.

* Few lawyers who are willing to take on the cases of those elderly people, often in nursing homes and without court-appointed guardians or family, with little or no assets.

Full Article and Source:
SENIOR TAKEN FOR MILLIONS Lawyers rack up fat fees as guardians to the helpless