Saturday, June 12, 2010

Danny Tate, Forced to Pay Brother's Legal Fees

A judge ruled Friday that a Nashville singer-songwriter who was recently given back control of his life still has to pay up.

There was a lot of what the judge called theatrics Friday in the ongoing saga involving Danny Tate's conservatorship. Fans of the man -- who, for many, was an 1980s icon -- showed up in court wearing T-shirts in support of him.

In 2007, Tate's brother, David, was granted control of his life following concerns and evidence of Danny's cocaine abuse. That temporary conservatorship was dissolved in May, but the bitter battle continued Friday with attorneys on both sides fighting about who should be responsible for paying legal fees and other court costs that range in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Danny's attorney said he's on the verge of bankruptcy and should not have to pay his brother's attorney's fees. The opposing counsel disagreed.

In the end, probate Judge Randy Kennedy had the last say, forcing Danny to pay reasonable court costs and attorneys' fees.

Full Article and Source:
Singer Must Pay for Brother's Legal Fees

See Also:
Free Danny Tate!!!

Facebook: Friends for Danny Tate's Defense

Britney Spears Conservatorship Continues

Britney Spears’ dad has had a secret meeting in court to discuss the singer’s conservatorship.

Jamie Spears had a meeting with Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Reva Goetz in chambers on June 3.

According to a report on, the top-secret meeting also included Jamie's lawyer Geraldine Wyle, Britney's court-appointed lawyer Sam Ingham, and Andrew Wallet, who along with Jamie is co-conservator over Britney.

Under discussion were the findings of a court-appointed custody evaluator appointed by Goetz.

In California, an evaluation usually happens when there are concerns or unresolved issues surrounding a parent's mental health problems and parental skills that could have a negative impact on a child.

In a legal document obtained by RadarOnline, it was revealed Goetz reviewed and discussed the report with the child custody expert, Britney's dad, and all the lawyers in a chambers meeting that lasted a little over 70 minutes.

Goetz ordered the expert to prepare a report quarterly for the conservatorship, with the first report due no later than September 30, 2010.

The next scheduled status hearing for Britney is July 27, 2010.

Full Article and Source:
Secret Court Meeting Held to Decide Spears' Future

Friday, June 11, 2010

Scott Rothstein Gets 50 Years in the Federal Pen

Former lawyer Scott Rothstein was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison Wednesday for using his Fort Lauderdale law firm to run a $1.2 billion Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that brought him yachts and sports cars and allowed him to make sizable contributions to Florida politicians.

Rothstein had faced up to 100 years behind bars after pleading guilty in January to two counts of fraud and three counts of conspiracy. The sentence imposed by Judge James Cohn, however, is ten years more than prosecutors requested, and 20 years longer than the term Rothstein had hoped to receive because of his reportedly extensive cooperation with federal investigators.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer said that the "rags-to-riches-to-jail saga" of Rothstein, who rose from blue-collar roots in the Bronx to the society pages of South Florida, was a "humbling reminder of what can happen when greed and ambition run amok."

"Today's sentence punishes the defendant for his thievery," said Ferrer, "and hopefully brings some sense of justice to the victims of this massive fraud."

Full Article and Source:
Scott Rothstein Gets 50 Years in 1.2 Billion Ponzi Scheme

'My Mother Goes Before The Judge'

My 95-year-old, 100 lb.- mother has said yes in front of a judge to placing all of her assets in a revocable trust to be drawn up by her attorney and filed with the court next week. The decision came in a dramatic courtroom finale on Thursday.
In November, my mother's long-time attorney had recommended a conservatorship as a solution to the ongoing tug-of-war involving money, power of attorney and farm issues after my bi-polar sister called the police to report my mother had been kidnapped when I took her to lunch without my sister. Since then, I've heard about many similar family incidents where conflict erupts as an aging parent begins to lose it. The ultimate hammer: If you don't hand over this or do that, we'll put you in a home.

A conservatorship, said the attorney, would allow an independent third party appointed by the court to manage my mother's assets thus eliminating money as a point of contention among the three of us. A conservatorship may be set up even though the person is competent, which is my mother's case.

Full Article and Source:
My Mother Goes Before the Judge

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Danny's Diary

After the Flood of 2010, which will live in infamy, I’m back at one of the motels I stayed at while “living on the lam” (Court Ordered Hell). Funny, I still move about as if I’m calculating movements based on writs of attachment, etc. I forget I’m free to go wherever. Yet, I still look over my shoulder sometimes, actually often, and measure my words. I’m aware of where the county line is and forget that it’s ok for me to pass over.

It’s taken tremendous restraint to act civilly towards the adversaries in my case. You don’t survive the world I’ve come from by “turning the other cheek”. But these perps are truly cowards and only act brave in the safety of their protection. I’ve seen the fear in their eyes. And they know I’m not afraid. But they are; and with good reason.

Friends, it’s not over and I knew it when the judge said it was. They think this will all go away unaccounted for. Not as long as there is breath within me. I don’t continue to fight for me, I fight for the father of my children and those who have no voice. This fight reaches far beyond my case and it will not be a victory if it doesn’t bring about a reckoning. We have all been put on the national stage to effect a change. We are fighting for the fundamental freedoms provided all of us as citizens of the United States. We are fighting against Big Brother. It’s happening whether you recognize it or not.

Full Article and Source:
Free Danny Tate!!!

See Also:
Facebook: Friends For Danny Tate's Defense

Court of the Judiciary Disciplines TN Judge

The Court of the Judiciary found Cocke County Judge John Bell guilty of ethical violations in his handling of a civil lawsuit.

Presiding Judge Don Ash announced that the panel had decided to suspend Bell with pay for 90 days beginning Aug. 1. The panel also imposed sanctions, including a requirement that Bell complete 42 hours of ethics training over the next three years.

Disciplinary counsel Joseph Steve Daniel concluded his case against Bell with testimony from David Pleau.

Pleau filed a complaint against Bell after the judge waited nine months to make a ruling in a lawsuit over a car crash in which Pleau was involved.

Bell was also accused of having attorney Tom Testerson call Pleau about dropping his complaint and failing to tell others involved in Pleau’s lawsuit that Pleau had a pending complaint against the judge.

Bell testified that he had done nothing wrong and was the victim of a political plot.

Full Article and Source:
Judiciary Panel Finds Cocke County Judge Guilty of Violations

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Update on Bob Queener Case

A doctor said this week that state officials have not acted in the best interests of Bob Queener, a 79-year-old Des Moines man with dementia who was removed last December from his home and moved to a locked nursing home ward.

"I think the man has not been afforded an opportunity to live," Des Moines neurologist Michael Jacoby testified during a court hearing about who should be Queener's guardian and conservator.

The battle over Queener's welfare has grown increasingly contentious since news of his family's clash with Iowa's Department of Human Services first appeared in The Des Moines Register in April. Assistant Polk County Probate Judge Ruth Klotz will decide who will have permanent oversight over Queener's affairs.

June 21 is the next hearing in the case, which has focused attention on the difficulties the elderly, their families and the state face in respecting a person's right to remain as independent as possible while also ensuring appropriate care for the person.

Much of the current fight is over the desire of DHS employees to block Queener's niece, Cheri Jensen of Altoona, from becoming his guardian or conservator. Jensen has support from other relatives and from Robb Goedicke, a lawyer appointed by the court to represent Queener's interests.

Full Article and Source:
DHS, Family Disagree on Who Should be Man's Guardian

See Also:
Hearing Set for Queener Case

Former Guardian Gets 6-20 Years

"The 10 commandments, one of ten, says though shall not steal," said Washoe County District Court Judge Patrick Flanagan while sentencing Angela Dottei Friday.

Flanagan sentenced the woman to six to 20 years in prison and ordered her to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution.

The former Washoe County legal guardian stole nearly a quarter of a million dollars from six elderly wards to fund her gambling problem. Those involved in the case say the sentence sends a strong message when it comes to crimes against the elderly.

"The defendant in this case, Angela Dottei was appointed by the court to watch over wards of the state to provide financial responsibility for them because they couldn't do it," said Scott Dugan of the Reno Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit. "She violated the court and a just sentence was handed down."

Some of Dottei's elderly victims were in court during the sentencing. She turned around and apologized to them before being led out of the court room.

Full Article and Source:
Former Washoe County Guardian of Elderly Receives 6-20 Yrs, Fine

See Also:
More Trouble for Former Guardian

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Danny Tate Case Not Over by a Long Shot

Despite Davidson County (TN) Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy having terminated the temporary conservatorship of Nashville musician Danny Tate, commitment to steps ensuring an outcome as the ruling implied are not yet visible. Instead, the initial conservatorship (also known as guardianship) termination has generated a new wave of financial assaults by the former temporary conservator, Danny Tate's brother David, and his attorney, Paul T. Housch, on what's left of their former ward's estate. Tate and his legal team continue, however, to persevere on and along the way are finding some interesting twists. And as new developments unfold, courtroom observers and other probate case watchers are questioning if the May 24 final hearing was a public relations effort to defuse court criticism and dissuade efforts of a "Free Danny Tate" campaign or was it a ruling based upon fair-minded application of law which, in theory, would disallow legal process and gamesmanship to undermine a legitimate ruling.

David Tate's first motion seeks to divert Danny Tate's BMI royalty payments from the musician and instead have them sent to him as temporary conservatorship despite termination of the capacity. The second motion asks the court to authorize selling of Tate's remaining investment assets, including pension funds, to pay outstanding court costs related to the conservator-initiated legal battle to keep Danny Tate in the conservatorship now deemed as unwarranted. Funds held in custodial accounts for Danny Tate’s two daughters are noted, but not currently targeted with the motion reading the temporary conservator prefers “not to encroach on the custodial amount, unless the Court deems it necessary to pay the aforementioned expenses.”

A separate filing finds attorney Paul Housch asking the court to award nearly $26,000 in attorneys fees for work performed February 24, 2010 through May 28, 2010 which includes preparation of former conservator David Tate's latest motions seeking confiscation of Danny Tate assets - again, seemingly in contradiction to Judge Kennedy’s ruling that terminated the temporary conservatorship. As Michael Hoskins earlier anticipated, the motion also calls for an “Attorney’s Lien in favor of Paul T. Housch, Attorney” to be placed against Danny Tate’s house “to further secure payment of any attorney fees and expenses awarded by the Court in said motion…” Danny Tate's house was severely damaged in the recent Nashville flood such that a forced sale at this time would likely be difficult and disadvantageous to the musician. As a side note, Tate's flood losses also included equipment uninsured due to the temporary conservator's election to discontinue certain insurance coverage.

In a new twist, Michael Hoskins has filed a motion asking the court to charge all costs of legal proceedings and other "discretionary costs" related to the process of petitioning for conservatorship of Danny Tate back to the petitioner, David Tate, the former temporary conservator. He cites Tennessee law which says:

If a fiduciary is appointed, the costs of the proceedings, which are the court costs, the guardian ad litem fee, the required medical examination costs and the attorney's fee for the petitioner, shall be charged against the property of the respondent to the extent the respondent's property exceeds the supplemental security income eligibility limit. If no fiduciary is appointed, the costs of the proceedings shall be charged against the petitioner...

After 32 months of Danny Tate only being temporarily conserved, no fiduciary was appointed, which by this law, directs costs of the proceedings to David Tate.

Full Article and Source:
Nashville Probate Court Still Center of Musician's Conservatorship (Guardianship) Dispute

See Also:
Free Danny Tate!!!

Facebook: Friends For Danny Tate's Defense

Scott Rothstein Asks Judge for Mercy

Lawyer Scott Rothstein sought the mercy of a judge in a letter released Friday, saying he "begged God to help" him as he contemplated committing suicide before returning from Morocco last fall to accept blame for orchestrating South Florida's biggest financial fraud.

Rothstein -- who has pleaded guilty to operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme and could face a life term at his sentencing on Wednesday -- implored U.S. District Judge James Cohn to consider "giving me an opportunity to live at least part of the remainder of my life as a free man, with an opportunity to do some good in this world."

Full Article and Source:
Scott Rothstein Asks Judge for Mercy

Monday, June 7, 2010

Judge Lindsey Ellis Plays Judicial Immunity Card

Retired Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Lindsay Ellis -- under fire for giving select attorneys a sneak peak at her draft order approving the draining of an elderly widow's life savings -- is asking a Superior Court judge to halt his inquiry into her conduct.

Ellis contends that she can't be hauled into court and asked why she gave favored treatment to one side, the side that wound up with most of Marie Long's money.

Her reason? She has judicial immunity.

Ellis has hired a trio of attorneys who contend that Presiding Judge Barbara Mundell and Presiding Probate Judge Karen O'Connor exceeded their authority in ordering an investigation into Ellis' “alleged improprieties”.

“If absolute judicial immunity means anything, it must mean that a judge cannot be hailed into court and asked to participate in a hearing aimed at piercing the core of her judicial function – the decision and her decision-making process,” attorneys Kevin O'Malley, Paul Charlton and Kiersten Murphy wrote in asking that the court inquiry be cancelled.

Ellis' neutrality has long been questioned in the case of the 88-year-old widow who went from having $1.3 million to nothing while under the protection of probate court. O'Connor twice denied requests to remove Ellis from the case, claiming there was no evidence of bias.

But last month's remarkable revelation that Ellis, through a judicial assistant, communicated with one side in the case has led to a collective jaw drop in the legal community. Her March 15 draft order, ruling that a group of fiduciaries and probate attorneys were justified in collecting nearly $800,000 from Marie, was sent only to those who stood to benefit from the ruling. Attorneys for Marie and her sisters didn't find out about the improper “ex-parte” communication until mid May when attorney Brenda Church finally disclosed Ellis' e-mail and her reply, suggesting several factual changes.

The revelation prompted O'Connor to immediately transfer this hot potato out of probate for a hearing into Ellis' conduct. Mundell, in turn, quickly tossed it to Judge Robert Budoff, who ordered everyone involved in the case – including Ellis -- to his courtroom on June 7.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Ellis to Superior Court: Bite Me"

See Also:
Judge's E-Mail Raises Eyebrows

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pharmaceutical Pinball


There's a pervasive (but false) idea in western medicine that the more pharmaceuticals you take, the healthier you'll get. That's how pharmaceuticals are marketed, in fact: Take these pills if you want to be healthier!

If you take one pill, the ads claim, you'll have a healthy heart. Another pill gives you healthy moods. Yet another pill claims to give you healthy bones... or pancreas function... or blood pressure.. or even a day-long erection. If you believe all this, it stands to reason that the more chemical pills you take, the healthier you'll become, right?

But hold on a second. Think of the people you know who are taking five, ten or even over a dozen medications. Are they the healthiest people you know?

Probably not. Not by a long shot. In fact, if you really look closely at this issue, you'll find that the more pharmaceuticals you take, the WORSE your health becomes.

Full Article and Source:
Pharmaceutical Pinball

Note: Artwork concept: Mike Adams; Art: Dan Berger

What Motivates Whistleblowers

As Big Pharma has gone to the Justice Department woodshed lately--and come out with some record-setting settlements of off-label marketing claims--we've heard about the whistleblowers who often get those Justice investigations going, by suing over misbehaviors at their own companies. Specifically, about the cash they get when they share in government settlements, as the whistelblower law provides.

But a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that the money isn't what motivates most whistleblowers to begin with, and the final payment may come only after severe upheaval in a whistleblower's professional and personal life.

So if their impetus wasn't money, what was it? Integrity, for one. Fear of legal consequences for themselves, personally, if they participated in what they saw as fraudulent behavior. And worries about how off-label use of drugs could hurt patients' health. Many said they protested internally first, filing suits only after those efforts didn't work--or even backfired.

As they pursued their whistleblowing, these folks often spent so much on legal fees that their marriages and personal finances suffered. The stress may have triggered panic attacks, insomnia, shingles, psoriasis, autoimmune disease and so on.

Full Article and Source:
NEJM: Wherefore Art Thou Whistleblowers?