Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mom accused of killing severely disabled 8-year-old daughter could get $1M from girl's trust fund

A special education teacher accused of killing her severely disabled 8-year-old daughter by withholding food and medical care could inherit nearly $1 million from the girl's trust fund — even if she's convicted.

Nicole Diggs and her husband have pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent homicide and child endangerment in the 2012 death of Alayah Savarese, who was the beneficiary of a trust fund created from the settlement of a malpractice suit that stemmed from complications during her birth.

The indictment doesn't allege that the trust fund was a motive, but Diggs' attorney says prosecutors are nevertheless implying that her client "somehow disposed of her daughter in order to obtain the money." She wants any mention of the trust fund barred from trial and says her client didn't neglect Alayah.

Prosecutors in Westchester County say Alayah "was not provided required daily food," did not receive necessary medical treatment, was often left unattended and was frequently kept home from school, depriving her of physical and occupational therapy.

Authorities say Alayah suffered lacerations, bruises and welts from the neglect. According to court papers, Diggs and her husband, Oscar Thomas — who isn't Alayah's father — also "failed to maintain the child's hygiene which caused her to have smelly and dirty hair and clothing, a foul odor about her body and bleeding gums."

On the day Alayah died in a Yonkers apartment, she was left in the care of one of Thomas' friends, who wasn't equipped to deal with her medical issues, court papers allege.

If convicted, the 32-year-old Diggs wouldn't be automatically disqualified from inheriting her daughter's fortune because she isn't charged with intending to kill the girl. Many states have so-called slayer statutes to prevent profiting from a crime, but New York courts have generally held that without intent, a homicide doesn't disqualify someone from inheriting from a victim, said St. John's Law School professor Margaret Turano, a trust and estate expert.

Full Article and Source:
Mom accused of killing severely disabled 8-year-old daughter could get $1M from girl's trust fund

Judge Peter Corrigan reprimanded by Ohio Supreme Court for drunken driving conviction

The Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Peter J. Corrigan on Wednesday as a result of his conviction for drunken driving.

Judge Peter Corrigan, center
Corrigan was charged after a Cleveland Metroparks ranger found him slumped over the steering wheel of his car at 4:30 a.m. in December 2012 while it was parked in the Rocky River Reservation.

The vehicle's engine was running, the headlights were on and his foot was on the brake, the Metroparks police report said.

Corrigan told the rangers he had visited a friend and also had been to a restaurant in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.

In January 2013, the judge pleaded no contest to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and impeding the roadway.

Rocky River Municipal Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons sentenced Corrigan to three days in jail, fined him $500 and suspended his driver's license for 2013.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Peter Corrigan reprimanded by Ohio Supreme Court for drunken driving conviction

Two Houston Lawyers Charged With Fraud

Two Houston lawyers, one who also is a Houston firefighter captain, are facing felony charges connected to an alleged mortgage fraud.

Firefighter and attorney Brian Storts, 47, faces a maximum of life in prison after being indicted on the first-degree felony of giving false statements to obtain credit, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Storts is accused of using fraudulent financial documents to buy a $400,000 house for another attorney who was being investigated in a different case, said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Lester Blizzard.

"The DA's office takes very seriously lawyers who have fallen in their duties and responsibilities to their clients," Blizzard said. "We're hopeful that a message will be sent to other lawyers about how they handle the funds of the people they represent."

'It was a scam'

Attorney Ricardo Baca was indicted in connection with the case against Storts. Baca came under suspicion after being accused of bilking a criminal defense lawyer out of $210,000 in exchange for part ownership of five cellular phone stores.

That deal never happened, Blizzard said after plea negotiations in court Tuesday.

"It was a scam," Blizzard said.

Full Article and Source:
Two Houston Lawyers Charged With Fraud

Friday, September 5, 2014

Northshore "Live" - Cooper's Corner: Elder Abuse of the Elderly

YouTube: Elder Abuse

Court Monitors in Florida Guardianship

Jeffrey Skatoff
Some of the problems that potential litigants have in Florida guardianship proceedings are the issue of standing and the ability to get relevant information about the guardianship.  For example, an annual guardianship plan is provided to interested persons in the guardianship along with an accounting, but the information disclosed in such documents can be scant, and the information is provided many months after the activities set forth in the plan and accounting.

What can an interested person do if there are concerns about the treatment of the ward in terms of healthcare?  What if there are concerns about mismanagement of the ward's assets?  Instead of starting with a full scale legal assault on the guardian (which can be expensive and may not work), the Florida Guardianship Rules provide a less drastic step - the Court Monitor.

What is a Court Monitor? 
A Court Monitor is a person appointed by the Florida guardianship court to investigate and report on certain activities and events.  Florida guardianship statute Section 744.107 provides as follows:
The monitor may investigate, seek information, examine documents, or interview the ward and shall report to the court his or her findings.  the report shall be verified and shall be served on the guardian, the ward, and such other persons as the court may determine.
Normally, the guardianship court will issue, in its order appointing the monitor, the specific reasons for the appointment.  For example, if there is concern that the guardian is institutionalizing the ward where there are more appropriate and less restrictive living arrangements, a monitor could be asked to investigate and report.  If the healthcare that the guardian is directing might be causing the ward more harm than good, the monitor could investigate.  the monitor could even be allowed to hire an independent medical expert to assist in reviewing the healthcare of the ward.   If the guardian is spending money inappropriately, the monitor could investigate before the annual accounting is filed.

Full Article and Source:
Court Monitors in Florida Guardianship

Man Faces Felony in Bilking of Elderly Couple

 Police here arrested a Strafford man who they claim bilked an elderly couple out of $6,000 for a painting project at their home that he never started.

Michael Fennell, 45, has been charged with the Class B felony of theft by deception. Nottingham police arrested Fennell Tuesday.

Fennell was hired by an elderly couple as a contractor to complete a painting project at their home in Nottingham for the sum of $6,000. The couple paid Fennell a 50 percent deposit to buy materials for the job.

Soon after that payment, Fennell contacted the victims and asked for the balance citing personal and legal issues. He told the victims he needed the money in advance to avoid jail time. The victims then agreed to pay Fennell the remainder of the money. Fennell never returned to the victim's property, nor did he buy materials or complete any work, police said.

After multiple attempts by the victims to reach Fennell, Fennell admitted to the victims that he had spent their money and had no means of buying the material to complete the project for them.

Full Article and Source:
Man Faces Felony in Bilking of Elderly Couple

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Korean War Veteran Norman Hughes Makes a Passionate Plea to go Home. He is Being Held Against His Will in Assisted Living

Korean Veteran

Hughes Jr., 81, is a Korean and Vietnam War veteran who’s currently paying $7,000 per month to live in the Kirby Pines Retirement Home in Memphis even though he told The Daily Caller he wants to live with a caretaker named Debbie McCoy — at her home paying $2,700 per month — where she has run a VA-certified living assistance facility for fifteen years with no complaints until this case.

“I need somebody to help me get out of here,” said Hughes.

Korean War Veteran Inside VA System Held Against His Will

Sacramento Elder Law Attorney Delbert Joe Modlin Charged With Financial Elder Abuse

A Sacramento attorney whose website extols his expertise in “championing the elderly and ensuring they are not taken advantage of” was arraigned Thursday on felony charges of financial elder abuse, grand theft and securities fraud.

Attorney Delbert Joe Modlin, 63, who was being held on $500,000 bail since his arrest Tuesday, agreed to stop practicing law and seeing clients until the criminal proceedings are complete. In exchange, bail was reduced to $100,000 for the attorney, who has been licensed to practice law in California since 1987.

Modlin’s appearance in an orange jumpsuit in Sacramento Superior Court, and his identification as a lawyer, drew gasps and whispered comments from audience members. He did not enter a plea Thursday.

Modlin already faces criminal charges in Placer County, where he was accused in 2011 of defrauding a frail, elderly couple from Auburn and selling their home and assets without their approval.

Both criminal cases were filed by the California attorney general’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

Prosecutor Steven Muni said after the hearing that his boss, Attorney General Kamala Harris, is committed to “protecting elderly victims, who are some of our most vulnerable citizens.

“There are many ways to commit elder abuse,” said Muni. “But no one, not even an attorney, is exempt.”

Full Article and Source:
Sacramento Elder Law Attorney Charged With Financial Elder Abuse

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CT Lawyer Faces Discipline for Representing Women

State officials want a Torrington lawyer disbarred for violating a ban on representing women.

The state Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel asked a state judge earlier this month to disbar Ira Mayo, saying he violated a recent court order by representing a woman in Litchfield Superior Court in July.

The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that Mayo was reinstated to the bar in 2007 after a 15-month suspension for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances toward female clients. A judge in 2010 banned him from representing women in domestic violence and family cases.

Mayo agreed in July to a four-month suspension and a lifetime ban on representing women in any type of case, after admitting to representing at least 11 women since 2010.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer Faces Discipline for Representing Women

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Illinois: Senator Steve Stadelman's Bill to Prevent Guardian Abuse Receives National Attention

A bill sponsored by Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman to strengthen the protection of adults in need of a legal guardian was signed by Governor Pat Quinn this week.

Senate Bill 1051 amends the Illinois Probation Act of 1975 by emphasizing that judges consider the welfare of the dependent adult when appointing a guardian. The bill also requires the inclusion of contact information for physicians providing evaluations, reports or opinions on a person's mental or physical disability for the purpose of naming a legal guardian.

"The legislation now specifically states 'best interest and well-being' of the dependent adult shall be the court's main concern in selection of the guardian," said Stadelman, D-Rockford "The goal is to help prevent guardianship from being used in a convenience or retaliatory manner."

Stadelman worked with Sylvia Rudek, director of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, to pass the legislation, which both houses of the Illinois General Assembly approved unanimously.

Rudek, who lives in Mount Prospect, Illinois, was subsequently named by Money Magazine to its "50 Heroes: 50 States" list for her efforts on SB 1051 and other reforms.

"SB 1051 provides clear language along with protections for the elderly and disabled adults of Illinois who are under guardianship," Rudek said. "Senator Stadelman is to be commended for reaching across the aisle and working with Rep. David Harris to gain bipartisan support. NASGA looks forward to working with Senator Stadelman in the future to further protect Illinois seniors and infirm adults."

Stadleman Bill to Prevent Guardian Abuse Receives National Attention

See Also:
NASGA Members in Legislative Action

Representative David Harris, who sponsored Senator Stadelman's bill in the House, gave NASGA the following statement:

"As the House sponsor of Senate Bill 1051, I was delighted to see that the Governor signed the bill into law. I was glad to work with state Senator Stadelman to get this legislation enacted, and I compliment him on his advocacy on the issue.

It is important to keep promoting bills that protect against guardianship abuse.  I expect to introduce several pieces of legislation on the issue of guardianship abuse when the General Assembly begins its new session in January of next year."

NASGA very much appreciates both Senator Stadelman and Representative Harris for their individual commitments to guardianship abuse reform and for working together on SB 1051 which will provide better protection of the elderly and disabled citizens of Illinois.  Sylvia Rudek looks forward to working with both of them again in the next session!  

TX: APS Urges Texans to Lend a Hand to Stop Elder Abuse and Neglect

In fiscal year 2013, Adult Protective Services (APS) investigated over 87,000 allegations of elder abuse or neglect in Texas. Services were provided in over half of these cases.
In Region I, which includes Lubbock and the Texas Panhandle, there were over 5000 allegations elder abuse or neglect with 3500 cases confirmed. Many of these cases however, included self-neglect as a factor. 

 Many of our older generation, simply do not want to ask for help because of the fear of loss of independence or because their families are not nearby or are too busy.

 There are other factors which can contribute to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. We are an aging population. Due to advances in healthcare and changes in diet, people are living longer than in years past. The unfortunate side to this is that, even though individuals are living longer, many still retire at 65 and due to the increased cost of living, find themselves unable to adequately provide for themselves on a fixed income. This leads to inadequate access to healthcare and an inability to purchase medications.

 In cases in which self-neglect is not a factor, sadly, family dynamics can come into play. Pathological family relationships often lead to a learned behavior of violence as a coping mechanism.
Even in families where care and concern have been taught and family violence has never been an issue, the physical demands and mental stress of care giving can take its toll over time. There are also instances where the denial of benefits has come into play.

 In the fall each year, APS emphasizes their “If It’s Not Your Money, It’s a Crime” campaign. This campaign serves to remind care givers that it is not okay to spend any of the funds which belong to the elder in their care.

Adult Protective Services recognizes that they cannot single-handedly locate and address every alleged case of abuse or neglect of the elderly. This is where the community comes in. Social isolation is a very significant risk factor for abuse and neglect of the elderly.

Full Article and Source:
Adult Protective Services Urging Texans to Lend a Hand to Stop Elder Abuse and Neglect

Judge Stanley Ott Has Ex Parte Communication in High Profile Kristy Gaffney Adoption Case; Case Must Be Overturned Adoption Advocates Say

This is a statement from Amy Walczak, Board Member of Jacob's Staff Foundation, an adoption and custody advocacy group.

Amy Walczak, Board Member of Adoption Advocates Jacob's Staff, was just notified of inappropriate and illegal communications between Pennsylvania Judge Stanley Ott and local adoption attorney Jay Ginsburg during a closed adoption and custody case, Walczak says.
"The adoprion case must be overturned," Walczak said. "The improper communications violate the law and put all Judge's Ott's previous rulings on this case in question."
The email shows that Judge Ott called Ginsburg to the side of the court room after a routine case to gossip about the case. Ginsberg was the former adoption attorney in the case and this ex parte communication was illegal, says Walczak. At the time Gindburg had a case before Judge Ott about this matter, Walczak added.
According to Walczak, this is the second complaint about Judge Ott's role in this case. Walczak says Ott held a secret meeting with attorneys who are part of the case. The secret meetings dropped charges against one party but not another and suppressed evidence, says Walczak. The meetings and dropped charges against one party were not revealed to the client, a violation of the law, she says.
"It's clear these rulings can not be allowed to stand," said Walczak. "We need a new Judge and new attorneys to give this beautiful baby girl a new and fair trial."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ohio Attorney Kevin Purcell Indicted for Theft From Veteran's Estate

A local attorney has been indicted for stealing more $250,000 from the estate of an Army veteran, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced.

The Grand Jury indicted Kevin Purcell, 61, on two counts of aggravated theft and one count of tampering with records; all are third-degree felonies.

The State of Ohio charges that Purcell served first as a guardian for disabled Army veteran John A. Kane, and then as administrator of his estate after Kane died in Columbiana County on March 15, 2012 at age 56.

Purcell used those positions to steal $262,920.24 for his personal use.

The case was referred to the Prosecutor's Office by Cuyahoga County Probate Court.

Kane's sister had filed suit against Purcell after discovering that her brother's funeral bills had not been paid.

On January 9, 2014, Purcell was found guilty in Probate Court of concealing assets belonging to the Guardianship of John A. Kane.

Full Article and Source:
Rocky River Attorney Indicated for Theft From Veteran's Estate

Texas Nursing Homes Rank at Bottom in Care Quality

A recent survey by the AARP gave nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Texas very low marks for a number of metrics including the quality of care patients received and the overuse of anti-psychotics in facilities throughout the Lone Star state.

According to the AARP survey Texas nursing homes ranked:
  • 10th for affordability
  • 49th for quality of care
  • 47th or effective transitions
Although Texas nursing homes ranked 30th overall, homes in state garnered and for the quality of care residents receive and staff turnover. Staffing has a direct impact on the safety and health of nursing home residents. Lacking enough staff or having too many inexperienced employees on a floor can lead to neglect, and creates more opportunities for abuse.

According to the Dallas News, the staff turnover rate for the nursing homes in Texas is 72 percent, much higher than the 38 percent national turnover rate for nursing homes.

Full Article and Source:
Texas Nursing Homes Rank at Bottom in Care Quality

See Also:
READ the AARP survey

MN Woman Charged WIth FInancial Exploitation

Authorities acting on a tip from a Rochester financial institution have brought charges against a Chatfield woman they say spent more than $100,000 of someone else's money.
Ashley Loraine Dotzenrod, 28, faces two counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and one count of theft by swindle, all felonies.

She's scheduled to appear Sept. 18 in Olmsted County District Court. 

The investigation began Sept. 27, when police were told Dotzenrod had deposited about $50,000 in checks written on the alleged victim's account into her own checking account. The victim is described in the criminal complaint as having "significant difficulty in speech and motor movements," as well as having seizures, all the result of a stroke several years ago. 

The woman requires the assistance of others for basic needs, and has a power of attorney to assist in financial matters, the report says, classifying her as a functional vulnerable adult.
In January 2011, the woman named Dotzenrod as her power of attorney; in May 2011, Dotzenrod opened a joint savings account with the woman.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim's former power of attorney said the victim was "frugal" and was "aware of Dotzenrod's spending habits." The woman set up the financial arrangement so if Dotzenrod was going to be paid, the woman would have to write her the check. Since 2009, only one check has been written to Dotzenrod, the records show.

Full Article and Source:
Area Woman Charged With Financial Exploitation

Monday, September 1, 2014

Anna Nicole Smith's Daughter Loses Fight for Marshall Millions

A federal judge has ended what may be the last chance for Dannielynn Birkhead — better known as the daughter of Anna Nicole Smith — to collect tens of millions of dollars from the estate of E. Pierce Marshall, the son of Anna Nicole’s billionaire husband, J. Howard Marshall II.

In an order expressing regret over the outcome, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter dismissed as moot the attempt by Birkhead’s lawyers to win sanctions from the Marshall family over tactics the deceased heir and his lawyers employed in the long-running battle over the Marshall fortune. Carter last year indicated he might award more than $40 million in sanctions for behavior he described as “too pervasive and too egregious to be ignored.”

Carter noted he was “one of the few remaining observers still alive” after nearly 20 years of litigation, which included a precedent-setting ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, and he said the record shows Marshall and his lawyers had “a distinct disinterest in rules or ethics.” But Birkhead’s lawyers failed to provide sufficient evidence of actual damages for him to award sanctions, the judge said.
The Court is not immune to the equitable pleas from Vickie Lynn’s estate. It is tempting to invoke the broad doctrines of discretion, equity, and inherent powers to follow the pull of one’s heart and one’s conscience. But the powers granted to the federal courts are not all encompassing… The Court also must consider the very real concerns attendant in sanctioning Pierce Marshall, who is deceased and therefore cannot be present, cannot attend the hearing, and cannot answer for himself the allegations against him.
The decision appears to ends a case which, aside from its celebrity quotient, triggered important changes in bankruptcy law.

Full Article and Source:
Anna Nicole Smith's Daughter Loses Fight for Marshall Millions

Read the Order

Judge's Attorney Argues for Reprimand Against Suspension

The state Judicial Hearing Board has come down hard on Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Wilfong.  The board has recommended unanimously that Wilfong be suspended for three years without pay, fined $20,000 and be censured.

Judge Wilfong was charged earlier this year with two violations of the Judicial Code of Conduct in connection with an extramarital affair with Travis Carter who was the director of North Central Community Corrections at the time.

The board, in a recommendation released Friday, found Wilfong “demonstrated, over a two-year period, a fundamental lack of candor, judgment, integrity and fairness”  by carrying on the affair in her courthouse office and failing to disqualify herself in matters where her impartiality might be questioned.

One of the attorneys for Wilfong has argued that she should not lose her job because of an affair. Instead, Harry Deitzler said he thinks a reprimand for Wilfong from the state Supreme Court would be appropriate.

“I think that she should be treated fairly and reasonably,” Deitzler said Friday. “You don’t take law licenses and remove from the bench for that kind of thing.”

Deitzler said, even though Wilfong would consult with Carter and others in his office at times, the affair, which she self-reported, did not affect any cases.

“They’re saying, ‘Well, now she’s had this extramarital affair. We can’t trust her as a judge because she had bad judgment.’ That is so ridiculous,” Deitzler said. “She understands that the public had a perception that this was an impropriety, but there was never any effect on any case.”

The Judicial Hearing Board will next offer a recommendation to the state Supreme Court about a possible punishment for Wilfong. It’ll be up to the Supreme Court to make a final decision, though the Court cannot remove Wilfong from the bench. Only the Legislature can do that.

Full Article and Source:
Randolph County Judge's Attorney Argues for Reprimand Against Suspension

See Also:
Read the Judicial Board's Recommendation

US Government Unveils New Resource to Fight Elder Abuse

The federal government has introduced a major new initiative to combat rising abuse and exploitation of the elderly — the “Elder Justice Roadmap,” a comprehensive framework for neutralizing financial, psychological and physical risks to older Americans.

The Roadmap outlines newly launched educational programs and policy steps designed to increase reporting and prosecution, but it mainly focuses on encouraging individuals, families and institutions to identify risks and take steps toward prevention.

Elder law attorney Michael Gilfix recently authored an article entitled “Addressing Financial Elder Abuse: Should the Bar be Lower?” that will appear in the September issue of Trusts & Estates Magazine. He agrees that planning and prevention are the best defenses against elder abuse.

“Decreased cognitive ability and financial strain are two major risk factors for elder abuse,” Gilfix said. “The facts of this report confirm that every family should consider concrete safeguards long before a serious threat or scam appears.”

The Roadmap’s publication followed President Barack Obama’s vow to eliminate the victimization of older Americans. On June 11, President Obama proclaimed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, stating that the government must improve the criminal justice response and work harder to ensure all Americans have the “right to enjoy their retirement years with a basic sense of security.”

The map attempts to simplify a complex set of decisions that magnify in importance over time. Families can plot their place on the Roadmap to find missed, current and upcoming actions to take. “Durable power of attorney, asset protection and long-term care insurance planning make excellent starting points for many families,” Gilfix added.

According to an article by Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, the Elder Justice Roadmap is the product of an ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that began in 2012.

Full Article and Source:
US Government Unveils New Resource to Fight Elder Abuse

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Sheila Mathews - The Right to Refuse Psychiatric Services

Sheila Mathews, co-founder the organization AbleChild joins us to talk about the labeling and drugging of children and the Hatch Amendment meant to protect them from this kind of abuse.  Sheila will join the show at 7:45 pm CST.

After Sheila Matthews had her own personal experience with coercion by the education system to label and drug her child, she teamed up with another mother, Patricia Weathers, to found the non-profit organization AbleChild – a national parent’s rights organization, dedicated to protecting fully informed consent and the right to refuse psychiatric services.

Ms. Matthews is a resident of Connecticut and in 2001 she was the first mother to successfully testify on behalf of the first state law in the United States prohibiting school personnel from recommending psychotropic drugs to parents. She continues nationwide participation in conferences and seminars and testifies on the federal level on behalf of AbleChild and families who need AbleChild services.

She has been featured on a number of high profile media outlets, including CNN, FOX, Time Magazine as well as numerous radio stations throughout the country.

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST7:00 pm CST 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

As More Hospices Enroll Patients Who Aren't Dying, Questions About Lethal Doses Arise

Jeff Coffey
Clinard “Bud” Coffey, 77, a retired corrections officer, did the crossword in The Charlotte Observer after breakfast every morning, pursued his hobby of drawing cartoons, talked seven or eight times a day to his son Jeff and, just two weeks before his death, told a pal that he still felt “like a teenager.”

He did, however, have some chronic back pain, and in late March he was enrolled in hospice care “essentially for pain management,” his doctor said. Over a two week period, he received rising doses of morphine and other powerful drugs, grew sleepy and disoriented, and stopped breathing, dying peacefully at home, according to his family and medical records they provided.

His death certificate, which was signed by the hospice doctor, listed the cause as “renal cell carcinoma” or kidney cancer. But that doctor had never examined Coffey, his family said, and medical records from just a few weeks earlier do not mention it.

“My dad wasn’t dying of cancer,” said his son, Jeff Coffey. “Once he was on hospice, their answer for everything was more drugs. Everything we know about his death is consistent with an overdose.”

An attorney for the hospice company, Curo Health, said it could not comment on the case without authorization from Coffey’s family. When Jeff Coffey authorized the company to comment, however, the attorney said that the company would not comment because the Coffey family had hired an attorney in preparation for a lawsuit.

The hospice industry in the United States is booming and for good reason, many experts say. Hospice care can offer terminally ill patients a far better way to live out their dying days, and many vouch for its value.

But the boom has been accompanied by what appears to be a surge in hospices enrolling patients who aren't close to death, and at least in some cases, this practice can expose the patients to the more powerful pain-killers that are routinely used by hospice providers. Hospices see higher revenues by recruiting new patients and profit more when they are not near death.

There are no statistics on how often such abuses may be occurring. But complaints from around the country illustrate the potential dangers of enrolling patients in hospice even though they are not near death, the families involved say.

Full Article and Source:
As More Hospices Enroll Patients Who Aren't Dying, Questions About Lethal Doses Arise

See Also:
Terminal Neglect?  How Some Hospices Treat Dying Patients

Is That Hospice Safe?  Infrequent Inspections Means it May Be Impossible to Know

Rising Rates of Hospice Discharge in U.S. Raises Questions About Quality of Care

Killer Denied Bid to Inherit $250,000 From Estate of Mother in Law He Strangled

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a Brooklyn appeals court has determined that a killer can’t indirectly inherit his victim’s fortune.

Long Island druggie Brandon Palladino was trying to get his hands on more than $250,000 from his mother-in-law’s estate, despite spending 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

He had admitted to strangling Dianne Edwards, 59, when she caught him stealing her jewelry in 2008. Her will listed her only daughter, Palladino’s high school sweetheart and wife, as the sole beneficiary. Deanna Edwards Palladino, 24, died of overdose about a year later, leaving the killer as the beneficiary of the slain woman’s estate.

Crime was about to pay big time for the Huntington Station man, who’s set to get out when he’s 45. But Edwards’ estranged sister Donna Larsen intervened, arguing a wrongdoer cannot profit from his or her misdeed.

Finding that “there is a clear causal link between the wrongful conduct and the benefits sought,” the appellate panel agreed Wednesday, upholding a Suffolk County court’s decision to strip Palladino, 28, from the dough.

Full Article and Source:
Killer Denied Bid to Inherit $250,000 From Estate of Mother in Law He Strangled