, along with hundreds of other of my online newspapers and publications. My life is focused on my church, my spiritual and healing work. I am selling individual blogs (online magazine publications), all blogs, individually to the highest bidder. If you Like one of my online magazines, my publications, my intellectual property, and want to make me an offer, email me at . This FOR Sale posted by Reverend Crystal Cox, Bringing Back Goddess Church.

Also Note, if you wish to hire me to do any online marketing or investigative blogging work use that same email.

Monday, June 11, 2018

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

"Lieu cited the Ninth Circuit’s 2014 ruling in Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox, which found that bloggers have the same free speech protections as traditional press. ”That was a pretty awesome and amazing opinion,” he said. “And that’s the kind of things we see out of the Ninth Circuit.”

the Crystal COX Free Speech Case CHANGED the World and Continues to ROAR

"WASHINGTON (CN) – Capitol Hill’s crosshairs turned Thursday on the Ninth Circuit just a day after a federal judge under the court’s purview became the latest to thwart efforts by the president to block Muslim immigration.

The Ninth Circuit had already earned criticism from the White House in February after it ruled 3-0 against the first iteration of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

When a federal judge on Hawaii issued an injunction against the revised executive order Wednesday, Trump complained that night at a campaign-style rally in Nashville that his new travel ban had been tailored to the “much-overturned” circuit’s “flawed ruling.”

The Ninth Circuit is the largest federal appeals court in the country, overseeing far-flung federal courts in Hawaii, Alaska, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, as well as those in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Last month’s ruling had Trump to blast the Ninth Circuit as “in chaos” and “frankly in turmoil.” Republicans have long said the court is too big, too liberal and too slow, and they have tried for decades to break it up.

At a hearing Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee on how to restructure the court, a partisan debate erupted over the GOP’s claims that Ninth Circuit rulings are overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court more so than often than any other federal appeals court.

Vanderbilt University Law School professor Brian Fitzpatrick said he has been tracking reversal rates for several decades.

“The numbers did not look good for the Ninth Circuit back then, and they still don’t look good today,” Fitzpatrick said in written testimony. “For the last 20 years, the Ninth Circuit has been the most reversed circuit in America — and it isn’t even close.”

Numbers compiled by the fact-checking organization Politifact dispute this. It says the Supreme Court reversed 70 percent of all cases it heard from 2010-15. Though the average for the Ninth Circuit was slightly higher than that at 79 percent, it was not the highest. Two other courts clock in ahead of it.

The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit had an 87 percent reversal rate, followed by the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit with an 85 percent ruling reversal.

Indeed the Ninth Circuit is only narrowly ahead of the 78 percent reversal rate featured by the court in fourth place, the Philadelphia-based Third Circuit.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., put the Ninth Circuit statistics a different way.

“Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Ninth Circuit decisions are overturned by the Supreme Court,” he said.

This led him to ask the panel’s five witnesses – including three federal judges from the Ninth Circuit: “Does that stat give weight to the president’s opinion, or should the courts stand up to the executive when necessary?”

“Judicial independence is important,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, the Ninth Circuit’s chief. “And I know this committee has recognized that.”

Thomas declined to address the second part of the question.

When asked how splitting the court could affect public perception of the courts as a fair and neutral arbiter, Thomas said such a move would diminish public respect for the rule of law.

“No question about that,” he said. “I hope this committee won’t engage in that kind of endeavor,” he added.

John Eastman, director of the Chapman University Fowloer School of Law, meanwhile regaled the congressmen with other problems the Ninth Circuit faces. Because of its caseload, the circuit takes 50 percent longer than the others to move from appeal to ruling, with that process spanning 18 months.

Describing the Ninth Circuit as the “Wild West,” Eastman said that collegiality among judges also suffers in the Ninth Circuit because the constant caseload buries its 29 judges.

On top of that, Eastman said the extraordinarily high combination of three-judge panels – 17,296 to be exact – prevents a coherent body of law from emerging, and undermines the circuit’s ability to get the law right. 

Because of the high number of opinions, practitioners have a hard time keeping up, which gives rise to intracircuit conflicts.

“Collegiality thus serves to check the tendencies of some judges to ‘fly solo,’ ruling according to their personal views rather than the clear commands of the law,” Eastman’s written testimony states.

Thomas, along with U.S. Circuit Judges Carlos Bea and Alex Kozinski, strenuously disputed the notion that their circuit is inefficient, or that case law is inconsistent.

“A decision by our court binds courts and litigants in the whole Western area,” Bea said.

“This minimizes the risk that the law of intellectual property – copyrights and trademarks, for instance – maritime trade, labor relations, employment discrimination, for instance – will be different in Phoenix, San Francisco or Seattle,” he added.

Splitting the court could even affect fishermen, he said.

“What law will rule Lake Tahoe, evenly split between California and Nevada,” he asked. “Will the tackle used by a Nevada fisherman be an illegal lure if his boat drifts into California waters?”

“This predictability and uniformity of law based on diversity of thought and backgrounds of the judges would suffer under any balkanization of the circuit,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kozinski told the committee that the size of the circuit has forced it to take advantage of modern technology – like video and live streams of court hearings – to bring justice closer to the people.

When the circuit heard the appeal of Trump’s first travel ban, Kozinski noted that 137,300 people used the court’s website to hear the audio stream of the oral arguments.

CNN’s live broadcast of the hearing had 1.5 million viewers, and another 138,615 people listened to the recording of the hearing.

“Think about that,” Kozinski said. “Well over 2 million people from all over the country and beyond listened to a 60-minute oral argument.”

All three judges expressed their opposition to splitting the Ninth Circuit up.

Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, both of Arizona, sponsored the legislation to spin off a new circuit for Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Arizona.

That would leave only California, Hawaii, Oregon, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam in the Ninth Circuit.

In explaining reversal rates, Eastman testified that size matters as much as the ideological make-up of the court. The bigger court, the lower the quality of its output, he said, citing a 2000 paper in the Journal of Legal Studies by the Seventh Circuit’s ever-popular Judge Richard Posner.

Chicago-based Posner found that the Ninth Circuit’s reversal rate was six times higher than the other circuits between 1985 and 1997.

There were no state additions to the Ninth Circuit during those years, but five additional judgeships were authorized in 1984. The court did not have another judgeship authorized until 2009.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asked the judges if Posner got it wrong.

Thomas said size absolutely does not affect the quality of judicial output.

“I think that our deliberations now are even better than when I joined the court, because of technology,” he responded.

Kozinski said he respects Posner, but that “Dick and I disagree all the time on all sorts of things.”

Saying the model his colleague used is only as good as his inputs, Kozinski accused Posner of focusing too much on size while ignoring context.

President Jimmy Carter had from 1977 to 1981 appointed 11 of the “most liberal judges the world has ever seen,” while the Supreme Court was moving in the opposite direction, Kozinksi said.

Chaffetz defended Trump’s attack on the Ninth Circuit amid rulings against his travel ban from it and lower courts in its clutches.

“The president was duly given, by Congress, the authority to protect our borders,” Chaffetz said. “And for these injunctions to come in place and prevent the president from doing his job is absolutely totally wrong.”

Noting that California is a populous and progressive state, and that appeals courts cannot pick and choose cases like the Supreme Court does, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., underscored the importance of the Ninth Circuit for taking on cases that “push the envelope” and “challenge the status quo.”

“That’s certainly right,” Kozinski said. “And of course that would be exacerbated if California were isolated,” he added, noting that one of the reasons for having regional circuits is so that no single state dominates.  

To drive his point home, Lieu cited the Ninth Circuit’s 2014 ruling in Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox, which found that bloggers have the same free speech protections as traditional press.

”That was a pretty awesome and amazing opinion,” he said. “And that’s the kind of things we see out of the Ninth Circuit.”


Saturday, April 14, 2018

'A Lot of Fighting': Retired Attorney Battles Siblings for $100 Million Fortune Retired attorney Ronald Dubner filed trust, probate and tort actions in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

"A retired Boca Raton attorney is in a fight with his siblings over the family’s $100 million-plus real estate fortune, including assets in a frozen Morgan Stanley brokerage account.

Ronald N. Dubner’s attorneys say he spent decades helping his father, Harold, develop a vast real estate empire with office buildings, multi-tenant holdings and commercial shopping centers in Florida. But they say most of that wealth went to Dubner’s half-sister Leslie Strupp and the estate of his half-brother Bradley when their father died in 2004.

“Our client is eager for his day in court,” said Ronald Dubner’s attorney, Daniel L. McDermott of Adrian Philip Thomas in Fort Lauderdale. “Ninety-seven percent of the family empire ended up with his siblings, to the detriment of my client.”

Ronald Dubner filed three lawsuits in Palm Beach County — trust, probate and tort actions — and one in Broward Circuit Court, claiming unjust enrichment, constructive fraud, tortious interference with a business relationship and exploitation of a vulnerable adult, according to an appellate ruling.

He alleged his siblings fraudulently influenced their elderly mother into changing her estate plan to give them millions in gifts during her lifetime. He then added the brokerage firm as a defendant because it held accounts for his siblings and family-owned entities.

“I grew up here in Palm Beach. I can’t tell you how often we see this here,” said family attorney Gregory Coleman, counsel for the personal representative of brother Bradley Dubner’s estate. “Anytime you see a family that has a substantial net worth and one of the children … feels slighted … the first thing they do is lawyer up. They create a case out of whole cloth with nothing to back it up. But the system is what it is. And that’s what they’ve done in the case. It’s a this-isn’t-fair type of case, with no legal basis to it.”

Ronald Dubner’s pleadings claim he only wants his fair share — a third of an estimated $100 million to $135 million fortune.

“We’re not at the end of the road,” his attorney said after a Fourth District Court of Appeal panel decided an interlocutory appeal on the Morgan Stanley funds in his favor Wednesday. “There’s a lot of fighting that remains.”

Dubner, 75, retired as an attorney because of an undisclosed medical condition. His attorneys say he used his professional skills over the years to help his father — a Chicago doctor who retired to Florida — amass a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate portfolio.

But his siblings’ court pleadings paint a different picture —  of greed and dissatisfaction on their attorney-brother’s part.

“It’s insulting to his father to say he helped build this. … That’s just fantasy,” said Coleman, a partner at Critton Luttier & Coleman in West Palm Beach. Stepmother Annette Dubner “found a way to direct millions of dollars to the plaintiff and made arrangements for millions more to go to him after she passed. He just didn’t like the number of millions … and thought it should be more.”

The litigation came before the appellate court on a challenge to a Palm Beach Circuit Court order removing a unilateral freeze of some of the family’s brokerage accounts.

After the brokerage firm froze the accounts without a court order, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Roger B. Colton granted injunctive relief to one of the siblings and ordered the funds released.

The appellate panel disagreed and ordered the trial court to lift the injunction that stopped Morgan Stanley from freezing the funds at the center of the ownership dispute.

“The trial court failed to make the requisite findings, and the defendants failed to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success or irreparable harm,” Judge Melanie May wrote in a unanimous decision with Fourth DCA Judges Burton C. Conner and Jeffrey T. Kuntz concurring.

Ronald Dubner’s side hailed the appellate ruling as a victory as he and his relatives continue their fight."


Attorney Ronald Dubner

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Did Former Judge Diana Lewis, who then became Guardian Diana Lewis, commit fraud or violate Florida Law purposely, knowingly?

It sure seems to me that Diana Lewis has MASSIVE Liability and as a former Judge had superior Knowledge of the Law, and acted as her own attorney in the case right? Judge Scher approved fees for Diana Lewis even after the Court was made of aware that her wards were Adults and should not have a Guardianship.

What does Brian O'Connell or Alan Rose or Judge Martin Colin, or even Judge John Philips have over Diana Lewis, why would she go this far to protect them all

Well she sure knew that her wards were 18, and admitted on the stand under Oath that it had been whispered to her. Guardian Diana Lewis received a Cease and Desist from those Adults, and was well aware of the violations of Law, yet proceeded.


It seems that Bill Stansbury's Attorney Peter Feaman sent Diana Lewis a package when she was appointed  as Guardian over adults, with No Competency hearing, a package with information outlining what possible criminal activities were happening in the Estate of Simon Bernstein case and what was going on with Ted Bernstein, Alan Rose and the case, and even possibly telling her the ages of her wards. She knowingly committed what I allege to be crimes, against her wards. She kidnapped their rights and helped attorney Alan Rose and Brian O'Connell cover up 5 years of what sure seems to me to be fraudulent, unethical, and illegal court actions.

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Notice of Dropping Party in Stansbury v. Estate of Simon L. Bernstein Case

Source and More

Monday, February 26, 2018

West Palm Florida Lawyer Brian O'Connell, PR Under Oath, Judge Rosemarie Scher Court. Florida Guardianship Case. Florida Probate Case. West Palm Estate Case.

 (Mr. O'Connell resumed the stand.)

· · · · · THE COURT:· You're still under oath.

· · · · · Go ahead.· It's all you.


· · ·Q· · Are you aware of a 2000 insurance trust
that was executed that the policy in question has
been assigned to in the year 2000?

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Asked and answered.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.· You already asked
· · ·him that.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· NO, a 2000 insurance policy.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Oh, overruled.· Thank you.


· · ·Q· · That supersedes a 1995 trust?

· · ·A· · You'd have to show me a document.

· · ·Q· · Okay.· Here.


· · ·Q· · Mr. O'Connell, have you seen that trust before?

· · ·A· · Sitting here today, I don't recall it but
it's possible in the volume of documents in this
case that I could have, but I couldn't tell you

· · ·Q· · Do you notice that it's Bates stamped by Tescher & Spallina, the former attorneys who committed forgery and fraud in this matter that you replaced and those documents were transferred to you by Ben Brown and you actually argued -- can you answer that question?

· · ·A· · I see Bates stamps at the bottom.

· · ·Q· · So these would be part of your record, correct?

· · ·A· · I'm not sure.· I'd have to look on my record to be sure.

· · ·Q· · And you're aware that the state has argued in Illinois Federal Court that this 2000 trust
supercedes the '95 trust, thereby rendering it moot, the '95 trust you're entering into settlement with,
is that correct?

· · ·A· · I'd have to see some more documents.· If you're talking about -- has there been something in writing submitted taking that position?

· · ·Q· · Yeah.· Your summary judgment arguments rely on this 2000 trust superseding -- in that 2000 trust, can you read from Page 1, the trust, the first paragraph and the Number 1?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection.· The document is not
· · ·in evidence, hearsay.
· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.
· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· Can I submit it as
· · ·evidence?
· · · · · THE COURT:· Objections?
· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Authenticity.
· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· It's Bates stamped.

· · · · · THE COURT:· It doesn't matter.· Sustained.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· It's been submitted into the record.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· We can't enter this?

· · · · · THE COURT:· No.· I sustained the
· · ·objection.· It's an evidentiary objection.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· Okay.· Am I allowed to ask
· · ·him questions about this document?

· · · · · THE COURT:· If you ask a question and
· · ·there's an objection, I'll entertain it. I
· · ·can't tell you how to proceed.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· Okay.


· · ·Q· · Can you read the first paragraph and
Number 1 of that document?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, hearsay.· The
· · ·document is not in evidence.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· Okay.


· · ·Q· · You argued in Illinois in the federal action on behalf of the estate that this 2000
document superseded the 1995 trust?

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Asked and answered.· He said
· · ·he needed further documentation to see it in · · ·writing.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.


· · ·Q· · In a recent similar case to this with allegations of fraud in the Bivens case, are you
aware of the Oliver Bivens case?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance, materiality.
· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.


· · ·Q· · Have you been charged with breach of fiduciary duties and negligence recently and found guilty by a jury of your peers in a federal court?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance.

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Argumentative.

· · · · · THE COURT:· I have to overrule those
· · ·objections because it would go to bias.

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Your Honor, he used the word
· · ·charged.· That was my problem for the
· · ·argumentative.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Okay.· With regard to the word
· · ·charged, sustained.


· · ·Q· · Is there a verdict that claims you breached fiduciary duties and negligence in the handling of an estate?

· · ·A· · There was a verdict but the matter has
been settled and the case has been dismissed with
prejudice pursuant to a confidential settlement.

· · ·Q· · Who was your attorney in that settlement?

· · ·A· · Wicker, Smith.

· · ·Q· · Was it Alan Rose?

· · ·A· · Alan Rose came in after the verdict to
represent the law firm while Ms. Crispin and I were
represented by the Wicker, Smith firm as we had been
from the inception of the case.

· · ·Q· · So the verdict stood?

· · ·A· · No.


· · ·Q· · So there was a jury verdict that you had
breached and committed negligence with Ashley
Crispin, correct?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance and
· · ·repetitive.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.

 MR. BERNSTEIN:· By the way, Your Honor, something strange here has occurred.  Mr. Rose is O'Connell's counsel.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Excuse me.· Do you have a
· · ·question for this witness?· You have one
· · ·question left.


· · ·Q· · If there is a 2000 trust, would it not be a necessary party to any settlement if it deals with
the same insurance policy?

· · ·A· · I'm not aware that that trust exists, the 2000 trust exists.

· · ·Q· · If it exists?· Since I can't enter it into evidence.

· · ·A· · I'd have to review the documents to make sure.

Q    But after you reviewed them, if you found that it existed, would it be a necessary part to any settlement?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, calls for a legal
· · ·conclusion and the facts are that trust and no
· · ·trustee has intervened or sought to do anything
· · ·in the Illinois case so it's an irrelevant
· · ·question.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:   Your Honor, that's really
· · ·relevant because the reason this trust is
· · ·suppressed is because my sister, Pam ..
· · ·I'd like to enter another piece of evidence
· · ·where they discussed suppressing this and
· · ·hiding it from the court.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.· Last question.


· · ·Q· · When you found out that I was a beneficiary of my father's estate and Judge Blakey removed me on summary judgment claiming that I was not a beneficiary based on res judicata from this court, when you found out again and admitted in court at the first hearing that I attended with Judge Scher here in the courtroom that I was a beneficiary, did you notify the federal court that I was a beneficiary with standing in my dad's estate?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance,
· · ·argumentative, and I think these issues are the
· · ·ones that were decided by the federal judge in
· · ·Illinois.

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Objection, compound.

· · · · · THE COURT:· I'll let him answer the
· · ·question.· He either did or he didn't.

· · ·A· · I guess to answer your question, I'd have
to go back and review your intervention and review
the order and --


· · ·Q· · The order is there.

· · ·A· · It would take some time to do it to say whether that would be --

· · ·Q· · Well, let me ask you a question.

· · · · · THE COURT:· No, that was it.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· It's the same question.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Then it's been asked and
· · ·answered.

· · · · · MR. BERNSTEIN:· Well, let me help him
· · ·answer what he said, Your Honor.· Would that be
· · ·okay?

· · · · · THE COURT:· That would be okay.


· · ·Q· · The question is, after a review, if you found that I was a beneficiary with standing in the estate and the Illinois court was under the impression that I was not and had dismissed me,
would I need to be reinstated as a party in that action who would be a party to this settlement?

· · ·A· · That would be between you and the Illinois
federal court using that hypothetical.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Okay.· That about does it for
that.· Follow up, Ms. Crispin?
· · ·MS. CRISPIN:· None.
· · ·THE COURT:· You may step down,
Mr. O'Connell.

Source of and Full Hearing Transcript

So the Settlement in the Bivins Case somehow VOIDED the VERDICT according to Attorney Brian O'Connell ???

So attorney Ashley Crispin and attorney Brian O'Connell were somehow LET OUT OF MASSIVE LIABILITY for things they really did do to harm people, and all because of a Settlement negotiated by Alan Rose, who is Ted Bernstein's attorney in the Estate of Simon Bernstein and Estate of Shirley Bernstein case whereby there is CLEARLY the Same Pattern and Practice Happening and has been for 5 years.

It sure seems that Though There was no Appeal to Change the VERDICT really, Brian O'Connell sure seems sure of himself and acts, under Oath, as if his confidential settlement in the Bivins Case is some sort of Get Out of Jail Free Card, or some sort of Magic Spell making him and Ashley Crispin simply NOT GUILTY of what they actually did do.

I say that Brian O'Connell is WRONG and that a Settlement in NO WAY removes what he did or that a Jury found him and Ashley Crispin GUILTY of what they REALLY did DO.
Eliot Bernstein, Pro Se Beneficiary questioning PR, attorney Brian O'Connell

"Question:   So the verdict stood?
Answer:       No. "

Full Court Hearing, Brian O'Connell Under Oath Transcript


· · ·Q· · In a recent similar case to this with allegations of fraud in the Bivens case, are you
aware of the Oliver Bivens case?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance, materiality.
· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.

( We See Alan Rose Object of Course, as he was the clearly conflicted attorney for Brian O'Connell who conned the other side into thinking O'Connell and Crispin would simply go bankrupt and so to avoid appeals that may take years and bankruptcy, there was a settlement.

 Seems to me that in the Settlement Ronald Denman attorney for Bivins was rather cozy with Alan Rose and seemed to even believe him, though clearly Denman knew what and who was involved in the Bernstein Cases as I myself gave him that information BEFORE the Settlement in the Bivins Case. Denman must have done what he felt best for himself and his client, however, he sure seemed to me to be believing FLAT OUT LIES by Attorney Alan ROSE, in my Opinion.

Anyway Alan Rose Objects, and as per pattern and history in this case the Court Sustains Alan Rose's Objections and protects the attorneys illegal and unethical actions, ALL of course in my own Opinion of how things have gone. )


· · ·Q· · Have you been charged with breach of fiduciary duties and negligence recently and found
guilty by a jury of your peers in a federal court?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance.

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Argumentative.

· · · · · THE COURT:· I have to overrule those
· · ·objections because it would go to bias.

· · · · · MS. CRISPIN:· Your Honor, he used the word
· · ·charged.· That was my problem for the
· · ·argumentative.

( Ashley Crispin who was also found GUILTY in that same case and ruled 16.4 million against them, and Alan Rose attorney for them who negotiated their settlement, well they Object, Surprise. Ok so Crispin don't like the word charged, well how about a Verdict that found YOU Ashley Crispin and Brian O'Connell seriously guilty of breach of fiduciary duties?)

· · · · · THE COURT:· Okay.· With regard to the word charged, sustained.


Question:  Is there a verdict that claims you breached fiduciary duties and negligence in the handling of an estate?

Answer:   There was a verdict but the matter has been settled and the case has been dismissed with prejudice pursuant to a confidential settlement.

(ok so the matter was "SETTLED" so this somehow means that the case was dismissed, um what? There was a 16.4 MILLION Dollar Verdict. Whatever the Settlement that made them pay less or nothing who knows, well that does not Change the VERDICT. They did it, they were found Guilty of it. Period.  - So the Confidential Settlement somehow makes it so the bad guys who really did harm people for years, violate human and civil rights, well they are somehow NOT GUILTY of any of it because of a "Confidential Settlement" WHAT?

And a "Confidential Settlement" that somehow O'Connell thinks makes them Not Guilty was negotiated with Alan Rose as his attorney, WOW, gee now that seems like obstruction of justice to me as if O'Connell and Crispin really were GUILTY as they were found, well then they did the same thing in the Bernstein Case, where Alan Rose represents and adverse party I believe, well that would be pattern and history right.

There is a Whole Lot Wrong with all this Folks. )

· · ·Q· · Who was your attorney in that settlement?

· · ·A· · Wicker, Smith.

· · ·Q· · Was it Alan Rose?

· · ·A· · Alan Rose came in after the verdict to represent the law firm while Ms. Crispin and I were
represented by the Wicker, Smith firm as we had been from the inception of the case.

· · ·Q· · So the verdict stood?

· · ·A· · No.


· · ·Q· · So there was a jury verdict that you had breached and committed negligence with Ashley Crispin, correct?

· · · · · MR. ROSE:· Objection, relevance and repetitive.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Sustained.

 MR. BERNSTEIN:· By the way, Your Honor, something strange here has occurred.  Mr. Rose is O'Connell's counsel.

· · · · · THE COURT:· Excuse me.· Do you have a
· · ·question for this witness?· You have one question left. "

Full Court Hearing, Brian O'Connell Under Oath Transcript

Gee I hope that West Palm Florida Attorney Alan Rose is Next, and Mark Manceri, Steve Lessne of Gunster, Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin, Diana Lewis and the Whole Gang of Attorneys involved in the Estate of Simon Bernstein and Estate of Shirley Bernstein in Judge Rosemarie Scher's Court, formerly Judge John Philips case and Judge Martin Colin.


"NY Atty, Judge Accused Of Stealing Over $4M From Trusts"

"Law360 (February 23, 2018, 9:08 PM EST) --

A judge in upstate New York and an attorney have been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $4 million from the family trusts they were responsible for overseeing, the New York state attorney general announced Friday.

Richard J. Sherwood, 57, who is an attorney with an Albany law firm and part-time judge for the town of Guilderland, and Thomas K. Lagan, 59, who is an attorney and former financial adviser, were each charged in a felony complaint filed in Albany City Court with various counts of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud.

“As we allege, the defendants orchestrated a complex scheme to steal millions from trusts they were responsible for protecting,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement.

 “We have zero tolerance for those who try to game the system and violate the public trust in order to line their own pockets.”

According to the complaint, Sherwood and Lagan provided estate planning services to former General Electric Co. executive Warren Bruggeman, his wife Pauline Bruggeman and her sister Anne S. Urban starting in at least 2006.

It was in that year, the complaint alleged, that the Bruggemans — who by then were elderly and had a reputation for philanthropy in the Albany region — each set up trusts for themselves that also housed sub-trusts intended to benefit Urban and Julia Rentz, Pauline and Anne’s sister.

Warren Bruggeman died in April 2009, leaving his assets to flow through his trust and on to his wife Pauline, who died in August 2011, leaving behind assets in her trust and elsewhere of more than $19.8 million, the complaint said.

Upon their deaths, the complaint alleged, the trust terms called for Urban and Rentz to each get about $2 million from one of the sub-trusts and for Urban to get another $4 million, half of which was to go into another sub-trust specifically for her “health, education, maintenance and support.”

Once Urban died, the remaining money from that sub-trust was supposed to revert back to her sister Pauline’s trust, the funds from which were then to be divvied up among six charities.

Urban in September 2011 signed paperwork putting Sherwood and Lagan in charge of her sister Pauline’s trust and estate, and two months later, Urban approved the creation of another trust in her name that Sherwood and Lagan were also in control of, the complaint said.

The trust documents allegedly specified that the trustee had free rein to parcel out the trust assets to anyone, as long as the trustee had the successor trustee’s approval.

Given that Sherwood and Lagan were designated as trustee and successor trustee, respectively, the two men were in a position to use the trust to their own benefit, the complaint said.

The complaint alleged that Sherwood then moved $4 million out of the Pauline Bruggeman trust and into the new Urban trust’s bank account, while people close to Rentz — who was suffering from dementia — later sent another $2.9 million to the trust after Sherwood allegedly led them to believe the money was destined for the charities benefited by the Pauline Bruggeman trust.

After Urban died in February 2013, the complaint said, the charities did receive some distributions from Pauline Bruggeman’s trust but didn’t get any of what they were supposed to get from the money that had been set aside for Urban’s care.

That money was in fact being disposed of through the Urban trust that Sherwood and Lagan controlled, according to the complaint.

The two men set up another trust, the Empire Capital Trust, for their benefit in 2014 and funded it with money wired from the Urban trust, the complaint said.

Sherwood also allegedly authorized transfers of more than $6 million in Urban trust money to bank accounts in his and Lagan’s names in January 2015.

The complaint said that an investigator with the attorney general’s office interviewed Sherwood this week at his firm, where he subsequently admitted to conspiring with Lagan to get the more than $2 million from Rentz.

“He also admitted that the [Urban trust] was a mechanism used to steal the estate funds and that he and Lagan divided the proceeds of this scheme in roughly even amounts,” the complaint said.

“Sherwood also stated that the scheme, including the wording of the trusts, was devised by Lagan but that he, Sherwood, drafted the documents in order to effectuate it.”

Contact information for Sherwood and Lagan was not immediately available late Friday.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Christopher Baynes and Matthew Peluso of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Daniel G. Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz.

Counsel information for Sherwood and Lagan was not immediately available late Friday.

The case is People of the State of New York v. Sherwood, et al., case number unavailable, in the Albany City Court. "

--Editing by Joe Phalon.

Source of Post

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oh My Diana Lewis, Alan Rose, Brian O'Connell, Marc Manceri, John Pankauski, Judge Martin Colin, Judge John Philips and the Whole Gang May have some more Accountability and Transparency Coming their way.

"Can a ward sue the attorney for his former court-appointed guardian for malpractice?"

Saadeh v. Connors, — So.3d —-, 2015 WL 3875682 (Fla. 4th DCA June 24, 2015) 

The general trend in Florida (especially in the trusts and estates context) is that a third-party beneficiary of your legal services can sue you for malpractice — and it doesn’t matter that the third party was never your client and had zero privity of contract with you.

Examples of this trend include cases in which the beneficiaries of a deceased ward’s estate had standing to sue the guardian’s lawyers for malpractice (click here), estate beneficiaries had standing to sue a decedent’s estate planning attorneys for malpractice (click here), and 
a successor personal representative had standing to sue his predecessor’s attorney for malpractice (click here).

This case is yet another example of that trend.
Case Study:
I first wrote about this train-wreck of a guardianship case back in 2012 (see here). Two initial observations: First, this case is yet another example of why the public is clamoring for reform of Florida’s court-administered guardianship system (see here). Second, when a case blows up, there’s going to be collateral damage. And the lawyers involved are often prime targets — no matter whose side they were on. This case is no exception.
After unwinding the mess caused by everyone involved in obtaining the underlying “emergency” guardianship appointment, Karim Saadeh (an immigrant and self-made millionaire) got busying suing everyone in sight — including their lawyers. One of his claims was for malpractice against the lawyer for his court-appointed guardian. That’s the claim dealt with in this appeal.
The defendant lawyer argued the claim against her should be dismissed as a matter of law because there was no privity of contract between her and Mr. Saadeh (the ward), and thus she owed no duty directly to Mr. Saadeh. She also argued that Saadeh’s interests were adverse to her client’s interest, the court-appointed guardian. Sound familiar? It should.

A version of this same defense was tried in all of the other third-party malpractice claims (see hereherehere). It didn’t work then, and it’s not working now (although the trial court bought it).
Everything a guardian (and by extension her lawyer) does is supposed to be for the benefit of the ward. If that guardian’s lawyer commits malpractice, the ward can hold her accountable in a direct malpractice suit. . . so sayeth the 4th DCA:
In a 1996 opinion of former Attorney General Robert Butterworth, the existence of this duty of care is explained:
Under the state’s guardianship statutes, it is clear that the ward is the intended beneficiary of the proceedings. Section 744.108, Florida Statutes, authorizes the payment of attorney’s fees to an attorney who has “rendered services to the ward or to the guardian on the ward’s behalf[.]” Thus, the statute itself recognizes that the services performed by an attorney who is compensated from the ward’s estate are performed on behalf of the ward even though the services are technically provided to the guardian. The relationship between the guardian and the ward is such that the ward must be considered to be the primary or intended beneficiary and cannot be considered an “incidental third-party beneficiary.” . . .
Since the ward is the intended beneficiary of the guardianship, an attorney who represents a guardian of a person adjudicated incapacitated and who is compensated from the ward’s estate for such services owes a duty of care to the ward as well as to the guardian.
Fla. AGO 96–94, 1996 WL 680981.
In its amicus brief that we invited and appreciate, the Real Property Probate & Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar indicates agreement with the Attorney General opinion. The Section reminds us that the lack of privity does not foreclose the possibility of a duty of care to a third party intended to benefit from a lawyer’s services. The Section points out that the reasoning in the Attorney General opinion is supported by section 744.1012, Florida Statutes (2009), in which the Legislature states its willful intent to protect incapacitated persons.
Based on the foregoing analysis, we find that Saadeh and everything associated with his well-being is the very essence i.e. the exact point, of our guardianship statutes. As a matter of law, the ward in situations as this, is both the primary and intended beneficiary of his estate. To tolerate anything less would be nonsensical and would strip the ward of the dignity to which the ward is wholly entitled. Whether there was a breach of the duty which caused damages obviously remains to be determined. But Mr. Saadeh has a viable and legally recognizable cause of action against the guardian’s attorney which is available to Mr. Saadeh and which we direct be immediately reinstated. Accordingly, we remand for further proceedings.
Lesson learned?
Trusts and estates lawyers often represent clients in matters that benefit third parties.

Examples include a client’s children in an estate-planning engagement (your client is the testator, but his children are third-party beneficiaries of your work), or the beneficiaries of a trust (your client is the trustee, but the trust’s beneficiaries are third-party beneficiaries of your work), or the beneficiaries of a probate estate (your client is the personal representative, but the estate’s beneficiaries are third-party beneficiaries of your work), or the ward in a guardianship proceeding (your client is the guardian, but the ward is a third-party beneficiary of your work).
In all of these cases the attorney has only one client, and our duties of confidentiality and the reciprocal rules protecting our attorney-client communications apply (see here). However, just because the third-party beneficiaries can’t compel you to disclose confidential attorney-client communications, doesn’t mean they can’t sue you for malpractice. That’s the key take-away from this case and others like it, and one that still comes as a surprise to many. By now, it shouldn’t.
If you represent a fiduciary in a contested Florida estate, trust or guardianship proceeding and you commit malpractice, you need to assume the possible universe of plaintiffs in a malpractice suit against you includes not just your client (i.e., the guy who hired you and thinks you’re brilliant), but also every third-party beneficiary of the estate, trust or guardianship estate who thought your client was a jerk and blames you personally for every real or imagined injury he may have caused."
  • Appellant’s Initial Brief (Mar. 26, 2014)
  • Answer Brief of Appellee (May 14, 2014)

  • Alan Rose of Mrachek, Fitzgerald, ROSE, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss knew that that Judge John Philips, at his request and the request of attorney Steve Lessne of Gunster, put a Guardianship on Adults with NO Competency Hearing. This among what I believe to be a whole lot of liability caused to quite a few third parties in the Estate of Simon Bernstein and the Estate of Shirley Bernstein. I would say that ALL Lawyers involved and former Judges have HUGE Liability.

     Julian Bivins v. Curtis Rogers. Bivins v. Rogers Case:

    "Will a Guardianship Judge’s orders approving your client’s actions shield you from third-party Malpractice Liability?"

    "Bivins v. Rogers, 2017 WL 5526874 (S.D. Fla., June 01, 2017)

    The general trend in Florida is that a third-party beneficiary of your legal services can sue you for malpractice — and it doesn’t matter that the third party was never your client, had zero privity of contract with you, and may have even been adverse to your actual client in related litigation.
    This risk is especially acute in contested probate and guardianship proceedings.
    Past examples include cases in which the beneficiaries of a deceased ward’s estate had standing to sue the guardian’s lawyers for malpractice (see here), estate beneficiaries had standing to sue a decedent’s estate planning attorneys for malpractice (see here), a ward had standing to sue the attorney for his former court-appointed guardian for malpractice (see here), and a successor personal representative had standing to sue his predecessor’s attorney for malpractice (see here).
    Risk management:
    The way most probate and guardianship attorneys manage this kind of risk is to obtain court orders approving the actions of their fiduciary clients (preferably in advance). Surely you can’t get sued for actions a judge has previously ruled are OK, right? 
    That’s the question addressed in this U.S. District Court order entered in the Bivins case (which has already been the subject of some commentary on this blog; see here for my take on the court’s ruling regarding Florida’s attorney-client privilege statute as applied to fiduciaries).
    Will a guardianship judge’s orders approving your client’s actions shield you from third-party malpractice liability? NO
    This case involves a contested guardianship proceeding involving millions of dollars in assets that bled over into a probate proceeding. 
    After the ward died his son (who had been locked in ugly litigation against his father’s court-appointed guardians for years prior to his father’s death) was appointed personal representative of his father’s estate. And guess what he did next? He sued the same lawyers he’d been litigating against for malpractice.
    The guardian’s lawyers cried foul, arguing that the claims against them were barred by either res judicata or collateral estoppel because the wrongful actions they were being accused of had all previously been approved of by the guardianship judge.
    In what will probably come as a shock to most practitioners — the federal judge ruled against the lawyers despite the prior approving orders. Why?

    Because the lawyers weren’t actually parties to the underlying guardianship litigation; they were just counsel for one of the parties (the guardian). And because they weren’t parties, they don’t get the defensive benefits of those great orders the guardianship judge had entered saying they and their client had done a great job.

    Here’s how the court explained its ruling:
    These claims are not barred by either res judicata or collateral estoppel for the simple reason that the Defendant attorneys were not parties or in privity with any party before the guardianship court. In Keramati v. Schackow, the court held that res judicata did not bar bringing a legal malpractice case against attorneys who had represented the plaintiffs in an earlier case even though the earlier case was settled and the clients certified that the settlement was “fair and just.” Keramati v. Schackow, 553 So.2d 741 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989). 
    The court observed that, in the first case, “the adequacy of the amount settled for was not litigated.” Id. at 744. Here, Plaintiff did not have an opportunity to bring its legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duties against the Defendant attorneys before the guardianship court.
    In so finding, the Court rejects the Defendant attorneys’ argument that they are “joint tortfeasors” with the guardians and that there is no way to distinguish the alleged harm by the Defendant attorneys from the alleged harm by the guardians. 
    To the contrary, the Defendant attorneys owe duty of care to the ward as well as to the guardian. Fla. AGO 96–94, 1996 WL 680981 (Fla. A.G. Nov. 20, 1996); see Saadeh v. Connors, 166 So. 3d 959, 964 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) (finding that the ward is an intended third-party beneficiary of the attorney for the guardian and that therefore the attorney owed the ward a duty of care).
    Next, in arguing that summary judgment should be granted on the claims against the Defendant attorneys for malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty, Defendants contend that the guardianship court already determined that all the actions being complained of were made in the best interest of the ward. The Court rejects this argument. 
    As discussed supra, the guardianship court never considered whether the Defendant attorneys engaged in malpractice or breached their fiduciary duties. As such, the Court will not grant summary judgment on these claims on the basis of the guardianship court’s rulings.
    Jury hits lawyers with $16.4M verdict:
    So what do you think happened next?

    Here’s where your natural instincts as a practicing attorney used to thinking un-appealed court orders actually mean something, might be your undoing.

    If a judge has previously approved every transaction you’re currently being sued over, surely a jury of your peers isn’t going to slam you for that same conduct, right? Wrong!
    When the case went to trial things went very, very badly for the defendant attorneys, as reported by the Palm Beach Post in Jury hits lawyers with $16.4M for doing senior wrong in guardianship.

    Here’s an excerpt:
    Advocates for guardianship reform clamored in vain for years that Florida’s system failed to properly protect incapacitated seniors, that its primary purpose had been perverted to line the pockets of greedy attorneys and professional guardians with the hard-earned life savings of the elderly.
    Now they can point to a new federal verdict awarding a whopping $16.4 million in a lawsuit claiming that two West Palm Beach attorneys breached their fiduciary duties while running up “unnecessary and excessive fees” of $1 million
    The jury found on July 28 that attorneys Brian M. O’Connell and Ashley N. Crispin of the Ciklin, Lubitz & O’Connell firm not only breached their fiduciary duty but committed professional negligence.
    The lawsuit claimed they failed to get appraisals on two high-end New York City properties being divided among family. They were not of equal value and as a result, Julian Bivins ended up with one that was worth millions less than other.
    The jury’s decision to award $16.4 million makes up the difference.
    So what’s the takeaway?
    Shortly after the trial the primary parties settled, which means there likely won’t be any appeals of the trial court’s pre-trial orders. So for now, the last word we’ll have on whether a res judicata or collateral estoppel defense works in this kind of third-party malpractice litigation is the Bivins case, which I predict is going to give a lot of probate and guardianship lawyers heartburn."

    Source of Post and Full Article

    Also Check Out the Following Articles

    "5th DCA: Can estate beneficiaries sue the guardian’s lawyers for estate planning malpractice?"

    "4th DCA: Do the beneficiaries of an estate have standing to sue the decedent’s estate planning attorneys for malpractice?"

    "1st DCA: In case of first impression Appellate Court rules successor PR has standing to sue prior PR’s attorney for malpractice"

    "4th DCA: Can a ward sue the attorney for his former court-appointed guardian for malpractice?"

    "Does the common-law “fiduciary exception” to the attorney-client privilege still matter in Florida?"

    Julian Bivins Case Filings, Motions and Information

     third-party malpractice litigation, res judicata or collateral estoppel defense, Judge John Philips, Guardian Diana Lewis, Judge Martin Colin, Ted Bernstein Boca Raton, Donald Tescher, Robert Spallina, Mark Manceri, John Pankauski, Alan Rose, Brian O'Connell, Ashley Crispin, Judge Howard Coates, Judge Corey Ciklin, Pam Simon STP, David Simon, West Palm Beach Probate and Estate Courts, Florida Estate Case, Florida Predatory Guardianship, Estate of Simon Bernstein, Mitch Huhem Death, Real Estate Fraud, Larry Pino, Deborah Huhem, Sotheby's, John Poletto, Gregg Geffen.