Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ohio Amish argue against guardian in chemo case

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A court was wrong to appoint a guardian to make medical decisions for an Amish girl whose parents stopped her chemotherapy against doctors’ wishes, and the guardian should be allowed to resign, the family’s attorney said in court filings this week.

The lawyer for Sarah Hershberger’s family argued for a reversal of the appointment in a filing in their state court appeal.

Ohio’s guardianship statutes appear to let courts substitute their judgment for that of suitable parents while ignoring the parents’ ”moral and constitutional interests,” Maurice Thompson wrote in his filing with the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Akron. The court should take a narrower view that limits such second-guessing and is consistent with constitutional safeguards of their rights, he wrote.

To do that, the court must hold “that the decisions of suitable parents may not be attacked by anyone anytime in an Ohio Probate Court, and that these careful and gut-wrenching life and death decisions cannot be second-guessed and overruled where the parents are suitable, and simply seek to try a less invasive treatment first,” wrote Thompson, who leads the libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Ohio.

Clair Dickinson, an attorney for guardian Maria Schimer, said Thursday that he will submit a response to Thompson’s filing later, but he declined to reveal what it might say.

Hershberger and her parents fled their Medina County home more than two months ago so she wouldn’t be forced to resume chemotherapy for her leukemia. Instead, they decided to use natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins.

The Hershbergers shun many facets of modern life and are deeply religious. They have said they stopped chemotherapy not for religious reasons but because it was making Sarah too sick and they feared it could end up killing her.

Full Article and Source:
Ohio Amish argue against guardian in chemo case
Unclear if Amish Girl Resumed Chemo Amid Fight With Hospital, Whereabouts Unknown

Ohio Appeals Court Again Sides With Hospital Seeking to Send Amish Girl Back to Chemotherapy

OH Judge Delays Decision on Guardian's Request to End Effort to Forced Chemo for Amish Girl

Elderly woman found locked in squalor

Investigators say a 93-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s was found locked in a bedroom in squalor by investigators checking out a tip of possible drug activity.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Trent Wilson said that 61-year-old Ida Elizabeth McNeill, her daughter 33-year-old Meredith Onata McNeill, and 32-year-old Mark Gunby were all arrested late Monday on drug charges after meth and drug related objects were found in the home off North County Line Road in Lithia Springs.

The McNeills also face elder abuse charges, as well as three counts of cruelty to children. Gunby faces the same charges, as well. From the conditions described in a bond hearing Thursday, it’s remarkable that the woman was still alive. Wilson said the women claimed that because of the victim’s disease, they locked her in for her own protection.

“As a part of the search of the home and in clearing the scene, investigators located a locked room on the lower level of the house,” Wilson said. “When there were able to gain entry, they found the 93-year-old victim locked inside. The room was locked, with windows boarded up and the only way she could get out was if they let her out.”
Wilson said that Ida McNeill indicated that her mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s and that was the way that they had decided to keep her from roaming off. But Wilson said the conditions of the home were some of the worst he has ever seen. There was no restroom inside the room and the signs of neglect were obvious.
“She told us that she put the locks up about four to six months ago and judging from what we found, it doesn’t look like there had been much cleanup during that time,” Wilson said. “There were at least 14 cats inside the home and dogs inside along with the child children who were 2, 7, and 9. Judging from what we found ,it appeared that we were dealing with a hoarder.”
Wilson said there was trash scattered about the residence and animal feces was also present in multiple locations. Dirty dishes, discarded food, soiled laundry, pet hair and multiple bags of trash filled the living space, Wilson said. Investigators immediately called the Department of Family and Children Services, which took custody of the children, while Adult Protective Services is making sure the elderly victim is being cared for and is assessing her health, Wilson said.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly woman found locked in squalor

Friday, December 27, 2013

Supreme Court Upholds Ruling in Guardianship Case

A state representative from Stoddard has lost his second appeal to the N.H. Supreme Court to recoup legal fees in a guardianship dispute over his elderly mother.

On Friday, the N.H. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mary Louise Eaton and her guardian, son Michael R. Eaton, in a dispute with Daniel A. Eaton.

Since 2010, Daniel A. Eaton of Stoddard has tried to reclaim $45,000 he said he spent in legal fees trying to become his mother’s guardian. The issue in the current appeal was solely about whether Eaton had authority to act as his mother’s power of attorney.

The high court also ruled against Eaton in the guardianship matter in April 2012. 

He and another brother, Dean J. Eaton of Keene, had each sought guardianship of their ailing mother, who has dementia, in 2010. 

At the time, Daniel Eaton said his mother had asked him to become involved in the guardianship proceedings, telling him she would pay for his legal fees. He maintained he was acting on her wishes. 

However, Eaton’s brothers disagreed, saying that Daniel Eaton was acting in his own interest.

This belief was first upheld by the 8th Circuit Court Probate Division in Keene in 2010.

In 2012, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys sided with Daniel Eaton, arguing that denying the payment of $45,000 created “financial disincentives” for filing guardianship petitions, court documents stated.

According to state law in guardianship cases, “the court costs and fees for the counsel and resource person shall be borne by the proposed ward.”

But a lawyer for Daniel Eaton’s brother Michael maintained that Michael was the guardian, whereas Daniel was a petitioner. As such, he did not have the same rights as a guardian in the case and was not entitled to the money.

Full Article and Source:
Supreme Court Upholds Ruling in Guardianship Case

Well-known Milwaukee criminal defense attorney suspended again

"It is imperative that to resume the practice of law in Wisconsin, Attorney Boyle must show this court that she has taken steps to avoid similar misconduct in the future," the court wrote.

In May 2012, the court suspended Boyle for 60 days and ordered she pay about $5,000 in restitution and $11,000 in costs.  The suspension followed a February order from the 7the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that banished her from practicing in the federal courts in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

Thursday's Supreme Court order cited many of the same types of violations that led to Boyle's 2012 suspension -- lack of communication with clients, including about fees; charging an unreasonable fee; and failing to reimburse unearned portions of fees.

The court ordered Boyle to repay a former client in the current disciplinary case $2,500.

The case involved ten counts involving two client matters  from 2007 to 2010. In one, Boyle took on a criminal appeal in federal court for $20,000 without detailing what efforts she expected to make in  the case. The client later complained that Boyle did not do much of anything on his case, and refused to answer dozens of letters and calls from prison.

Full Article and Source:
Well-known Milwaukee criminal defense attorney suspended again

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Two Houston Sisters Expose Guardianship Abuse and Neglect

Two Houston Sisters join Candy to expose severe neglect and abuse of the guardianship system by Silverado Care Facility in Kingwood, Texas and the guardians appointed to the case.

This will be an eye opening expose of 1,000,000 reasons why you do not want to ever agree to a public guardianship for your loved one.

Join us as we delve into the rule, rather than the exception--abuse, neglect and exploitation.

LISTEN to the archive of the show

Join Sherry & Candice as we host Sharon from Garland, Texas to tell a story of abuse and neglect by Harris County Court Appointed Guardians that will leave your speechless. The story unravels in Texas.

LISTEN to the archive of the show

See Also:
NASGA - Willie Jo Mills, Texas Victim

Distraught Autistic Woman (Ward) Speaks Out

"She's a nuisance. She complains about her guardian abusing her. True, various professionals witnessed the abuse...they even documented it.  She set about restricting the last shred of the woman's few remaining freedoms, even diverting authority over medical decisions from the woman's dedicated physician to herself...demanding that any medical decisions go through HER (a social worker) before making any decisions about the woman's treatment, and demanding that the woman herself-the patient- have NO input into her own care. She became obsessed with abusing the tremendous power she had been granted over the vulnerable woman's life...over her every move. She was actively and intentionally tormenting the Autistic woman.

She even went so far as to kill the Autistic woman's dog - a sweet, loving, 3 year old Sheltie named Ben with no prior history of any health problems."


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Remembering the Wrongfully Isolated on This Holiday

As we do on every Christmas, we light a candle for those of our loved ones who have been wrongfully separated from us through guardianship and/or conservatorship abuse. NASGA remains firm is its resolve to make the growing barbaric practice of guardians isolating elderly or disabled persons from family, friends, clergy, and/or advocates (without court order) recognized and punished as the crime it is. 

 We so deeply appreciate your support and your efforts on behalf of the many victims of guardianship abuse and their families who have been attacked and suffer deeply from the nightmare of guardianship abuse.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

This video was made in the UK -- but it's just as relevent for all nations!

YouTube:  Happy Christmas and Merry New Year

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. ~ Frederick Buechner

*Please make the call and volunteer to visit the lonely and forgotten elderly. They need our love so desperately.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

NJ Man Free of Guardianship He Said He No Longer Needs!

A 75-year-old placed under the care of a public guardian after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a fall almost two years ago finally has won back his independence.

But Ken Schmidt's savings and many of his assets are gone — sold off to pay for his assisted-living care, his guardian told him.

" 'It's all gone.' That's their classic answer: 'I'm sorry, it's all gone.' And they won't give me anything in writing," Schmidt said in September. "Everything's just disappeared."

The state placed Schmidt, a retired insurance salesman, in a $5,000-a-month assisted-living facility more than a year ago. He had had many of his civil rights stripped away after he fell and hit his head in Jan. 30, 2012, on the sidewalk outside his home here. A judge declared him mentally incapacitated and ordered the state public guardian to take charge of his assets and medical care under New Jersey's guardian laws.

But Schmidt said he fully recovered from his injuries in September 2012. The problem was getting the judgment of incapacity lifted; that happened Dec. 16.

In the meantime:
• His $65,000 in savings is gone.
• The townhouse that he owned mortgage free six miles from the assisted-living center is in foreclosure because of a reverse mortgage he previously had taken out.
• The property also has $5,960 lien against it for unpaid condominium maintenance fees.
• All of the utilities were turned off, presumably because of $1,700 in unpaid bills.
• Much of his furniture, his books and all his dishes and flatware are missing — sold off by the public guardian.

"This doesn't seem fair. Not that anything in life is fair, but it's sort of ridiculous," Schmidt said during his first visit back home last week, shortly after discovering that his computer was gone, too.

"It's unbelievable. I've spent my whole life building things up, and now I have to start over again — and this time with no money," he said.

Full Article, Video and Source:
N.J. man free of guardianship he said he no longer needs

Silver Tsunami

As the baby boomer generation gets closer to retirement they become more concerned about their financial security and health care services.  Conscientious senior citizens have planned for their future by working with an attorney to draw up an estate plan and will. However, even the most diligent seniors have fallen prey to a disturbing crisis in the form of elder abuse. Alleged friends, family, and neighbors have been filing for guardianship of the elderly, in numbers so alarming, that it raised red flags to government officials in Florida. Guardianship abuse reports reach across a broad spectrum including theft, kidnapping, forgery, assault, and criminal financial exploitation. Conspiracy to have seniors involuntarily committed to nursing homes and hospitals in order to gain control of their assets is a frightening reality faced by the elderly.  Exploitation of the elderly has reached epidemic proportions in Florida; the country’s leading and most popular home for our senior citizens. This crisis forced state officials to take preemptive measures. Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller, Sharon Bock, Esq. spearheaded a new division in her office, designated to address this abuse. Four to five years ago, Bock noticed a 15% increase in guardianship filings.  That trend, an increase in nearly four hundred new cases per year, has continued.

 In Palm Beach County, it is estimated that the court governing guardianships maintains oversight of $500 million in assets. Oversight and monitoring of attorneys, caregivers, friends, and family members has proven to be daunting considering the staggering extent to which guardians and caregivers will go to misappropriate money. Stories of over-medicating, physical restraint, and psychological manipulation are not uncommon in the world of guardianship trustees.

Full Article and Source:
Silver Tsunami by Karen Desoto

Monday, December 23, 2013

Danielle Jessser: What to Do About Elder Abuse

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2010 there were over 500,000 elder abuse cases in the U.S. alone.   Understanding the issues related to elder abuse has become even more important as the elderly population of the country continues to grow.  Join Legalocity host Jacqueline Crosby, Esq. and legal advocate Danielle Jesserer to learn about the warning signs of elder abuse as well as prevention and reporting advice.

Jacqueline Crosby is a New Jersey attorney writer and educator who conducts legal education seminars and webinars for the public in the areas of employment and family law.

Danielle Jesserer attended Appalachian State University majoring in Pre-law and English. Shortly after working for an attorney in North Carolina she began working as an elder abuse advocate where she realized that elder abuse is rampant. Danielle now works with the Senior Veterans Council (Raleigh, N.C.), the National ADA Advocates (main office, N.Y.), and in her free time volunteers with NASGA (National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse), local Senior Centers, and other families that contact her for assistance.  Her goal is to  help raise awareness, find justice for victims, educate the public, and fight to change legislation in order to better protect people from this type of abuse.

LISTEN to the archive of this show

Cleveland attorney questioned about Chizek estate; his home damaged after water pipes froze and burst in May

WNIR talk show host Howie Chizek,
who died in June of 2012 is shown in
 an undated photo. (Shane Wynn Studio)
A Cleveland attorney named by local radio icon Howie Chizek as the executor of his $1.6-million-plus estate is in hot water in Summit County Probate Court over an apparent oversight that caused extensive damage to Chizek’s Twinsburg home earlier this year.

Testimony at a probate hearing Tuesday morning showed that Chizek’s home was not properly winterized in the months after his June 2012 death.

Water lines eventually froze inside the two-story home and, some time later, burst during the spring thaw, causing more than $118,000 in damage from flooding and extensive development of mold, according to testimony.

The flooding was so serious, Chizek’s brother Larry said during the hearing, that water could be seen gushing out the front doors. He said that Twinsburg police notified his wife about the problem in May.

The apparent oversight, along with the fact that Chizek’s estate has not closed in probate court some 18 months after his death, could lead to the removal of the estate’s executor, attorney Charles M. Morgan.

Chief Probate Magistrate George R. Wertz told attorneys from both sides that he would take the matter under advisement and notify them about a decision.

Morgan, who was granted three extensions on the filing of probate documentation because of his involvement in a Cleveland murder case, declined to comment following Tuesday’s hearing.

But in sworn testimony to direct questioning by Wertz, Morgan told the magistrate: “As far as winterizing, I went over and I thought I had turned off the water. Obviously I probably turned it the wrong way. I thought I had turned it off.”

Morgan went on to testify that he remembered being at Chizek’s home about five or six weeks before the May flooding call by Twinsburg police.

“That five or six weeks, that’s a guess,” Morgan said. “I didn’t write down every day I was there.”
Morgan said he “peeked inside” the home before it flooded, but did not walk through it to check on whether everything was secure.

An assistant to Twinsburg police Chief Christopher Noga told the Beacon Journal later Tuesday that the department received a call about the flooding on May 20. Someone who lived in Chizek’s neighborhood made the call.

Full Article and Source:
Cleveland attorney questioned about Chizek estate; his home damaged after water pipes froze and burst in May

Oregon public guardian, conservator program could be created by lawmakers

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland
Vulnerable, low-income Oregon adults could obtain a public guardian and conservator through a statewide program that lawmakers might create in February.
Oregonians who have developmental disabilities, dementia, chronic mental illnesses, or other serious illnesses or injuries would be eligible for the program, said Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, who plans to sponsor a bill to set up the program. The guardian and conservator would make personal and financial decisions on behalf of the at-risk client.
A similar bill in the 2013 session passed unanimously out of the House Human Services and Housing Committee but died in a budget committee because of a lack of funding. The program will likely pass in 2014 because of new money expected from changes lawmakers made to the state’s senior medical tax deduction, Dembrow said.
“There’s a growing number of vulnerable Oregonians who are at risk of falling through the cracks, of not having the appropriate living conditions or health care, and who really don’t have the means to hire a guardian or don’t have the family to do that,” Dembrow said. The program “is an idea whose time has come and whose need has become obvious.”
A state task force that studied the issue last year estimated that 1,575 to 3,175 Oregonians lack the public guardianship services they need. The need will grow as baby boomers age, advocates say.
The proposed program would create a new Office of the Public Guardian and Conservator within the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
The public guardian, along with one deputy, would serve as the guardians for some Oregonians and would contract with counties, nonprofits and others to provide services for some clients, such as rural residents who live far from Salem, Dembrow said.
Estimates peg program costs to about $1.5 million each biennium, Dembrow said. Enrollment would need to be capped initially to serve the most needy Oregonians.
Oregon enacted a guardianship law in 1971 that allows counties to develop and fund public guardianship programs. Multnomah County is the only county in the state that offers a public guardian program. Jackson County started a pilot program but transferred it to a nonprofit.
Clackamas, Washington and Lane counties previously attempted to create public guardianship programs but were not successful.

Full Article and Source:
Oregon public guardian, conservator program could be created by lawmakers

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mary and Francis Leuschner - Massachusetts Victims

I am an only child, adopted by my parents when I was an infant. I am also the only living heir to my parents’ modest estate, their home in Dedham, Massachusetts. I was living in Indiana when my Mom asked me to please come home. Both of my parents needed help and in November, 2012, I moved back home.

Moving back home was bittersweet; my childhood home held many pleasant and some unpleasant memories. My parents needed help. The house needed some heavy cleaning and a number of repairs. Mom wanted to pay down their debts and make provisions for home care for herself and my Dad in the event it ever became necessary.

One night in February I awoke to the dogs barking and my father yelling for help. I ran to my father and found him in the bathroom with my mother. She had hit her head on something and was bleeding, but still conscious. I immediately called 911. The ambulance arrived and asked me if there was a preferred hospital; I immediately told them Beth Israel in Needham, MA. However, they took her instead to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in downtown Boston.

While the paramedics were there, one of them told me that because of the condition of the house, he had to report it to the Board of Health. While it was not in the best condition, the problem was the clutter, which I had been working on since I got home. I was only worried about my Mom at that moment and told him to just do what he had to do.

Once we got to the hospital, the doctor told us that Mom had taken a nasty fall and needed a few stitches. He wanted to keep her there for a few days for observation. He also mentioned that she might be suffering from dementia, but that it could be temporary because of the blood on her brain which was a result of the injury to the top of her head.

A few days later, Dr. Caliath called me and advised me that I needed to convince my mother to go to a rehab in order to get physical therapy to regain her strength. Because I was concerned about the injury to her head, I agreed that this might be the best move for her.  After much discussion and arguments from my mother as to why she did not need to go to a rehab, she finally agreed.

March 1, 2013 started off like any other day. My Dad and I got up, had breakfast, took care of the dogs and got ready to go visit my mother at the nursing home. The visit went well. For some reason Mom was getting speech therapy, which she did not need, as well as physical therapy. My Dad visited her daily and together they walked around the premises which gave her a fair amount of daily exercise. Before we left, I stopped at the nurses’ station to find out when Mom would be going home but as usual, I was unable to get an answer.

A caseworker from Adult Protective Services, Tara Lemieux and the social worker Kaohna approached me and said we needed to have a meeting. My Dad and I went with her to her office. Once we were all seated, she proceeded to tell me that Mom was not going home and they were going to apply for Medicaid for her continued care. I was in tears and proceeded to tell her that everything was being done at home to provide for her care. My father then spoke up and said “I just want my wife home.” Tara said to my father “You, sir, cannot make decisions for yourself.”

Full Profile and Source:
NASGA - Mary and Francis Leuschner, Massachusetts Victims