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. 

    "The general trend in Florida is that a third-party beneficiary of your legal services can sue you for malpractice"

    WOW, If I were Brian O'Connell, Ashley Crispin, or Alan Rose and their law firms and co-conspirators, I would sure think it would not turn out well if  "a third-party beneficiary" could sue them for MALPRACTICE. Or even Tescher and Spallina, or Mark Manceri, or John Pankauski, Diana Lewis,  I would be quite concerned

    Check Out This Article

    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    Mirable Dictu! Florida Activists Help Depose Terrible Foreclosure Judge; Judge Diana Lewis who came into the Estate of Simon Bernstein Case, I say, in order to cover up Judicial Corruption, Attorney Corruption, Estate and Probate Fraud and more in the West Palm Predatory Guardianship Racket.

    "It’s rare that we get to celebrate a victory here, especially in the mortgage and foreclosure arena, but we saw one this week. 

    Down in Florida, where the anti-foreclosure activist movement really took root, one of the worst judges in the state lost her job, and many of the same players had a role in the defeat.

    It’s hard to achieve a reputation as the worst foreclosure judge in Florida, the home of the “rocket docket” and other abuses of due process, but Palm Beach County Judge Diana Lewis had a claim on it.

    The best way to get a sense of her judicial style is to read this transcript excerpt:
    Mr. Stopa: Judge, you acknowledged yourself, on multiple occasions, on the record, that, you know — Initially, you had multiple times where you said you were ruling for the defendant, and then you said if you didn’t, it would be reversed. I’m not arguing with you, but my point is that I think there are legitimate grounds to go to the Appellate Court, and before my client is divested of the property and a third party purchaser tries to buy it and, potentially, take possession, ultimately to potentially be removed, then a stay should be entered so that we can pursue our right on an appeal…
    The Court: You’re welcome to do that.
    Mr. Stopa: Can I submit you an Order that grants a stay?
    The Court: No. Your stay is denied.
    Mr. Stopa: On the issue of stay, can I ask for an explanation, or what have you, because, you know –
    The Court: My job is to move cases.
    Mr. Stopa: I’m sorry?
    The Court: My job is to move cases and that’s what I’m doing.
    Lewis basically embodied the concept that homeowners with arrears are automatically deadbeats, and that the actual procedures of law establishing property rights, existing for over 300 years in America, meant absolutely nothing. 
    There’s not even the semblance of impartiality here; foreclosure cases simply move to final judgment by default. Not to mention that she was boorish, rude, and dismissive of people simply trying to have their day in court. 
    Here are a series of testimonials – the words “vile,” “despicable” and “disgrace” frequently crop up.
    Lewis comes from a political family; her father was a state senator with a focus, paradoxically, on homelessness. 
    There’s a homeless facility in the area with her father’s name on it, and the running joke among the legal community is that his daughter kept it well stocked. Lewis won a judicial election in 2002 and was up again for re-election this year.
     Jessica Ticktin, a 35 year-old foreclosure attorney with experience in Lewis’ courtroom, decided to challenge her.
    Ticktin insists there was no single incident or case that made her decide to go after the jurist who took the bench the same year Ticktin graduated from law school.
    “It’s not just me or my law firm,” she said. “It is a problem many, many attorneys in Palm Beach County and out of county attorneys have experienced with this judge. They and their clients were treated unfairly and inappropriately. Her demeanor is a big problem.” […]
    The flap is mainly over her use of the results of biannual surveys the county Bar Association takes, asking its members to evaluate local judges. In the most recent survey, 147 of the 216 attorneys who responded said Lewis’ judicial demeanor needs improvement. Almost half — 99 — gave her similar marks for impartiality and 74 said she should do more to enforce standards of professionalism. The results were similar in surveys conducted in 2011 and 2009 […]
    She said she suspects most of the complaints come from lawyers, like many of those in Ticktin’s office, who appear before her on foreclosure cases. Many are ill-trained, never having had the advantage of being mentored by older lawyers, she said.
    This is a typical take from Lewis. The lawyers she harassed and demeaned in her courtroom every day simply had to be unqualified. But when so many lawyers have the same complaint, it’s obviously indicative of the problem.
    The legal community across the state backed Ticktin, as did several editorial boards. “At some point in her current six-year term, incumbent Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis’ reputation for rudeness stopped being a forgivable quirk and became an embarrassment for the judiciary,” said the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 
    Activists, lawyers and ordinary Floridians donated money and time to Ticktin’s campaign (here’s an example). I’m told that friends of the blog Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman stayed on their feet in the hot sun on Tuesday for several hours, encouraging voters to choose Ticktin over Lewis.
    It paid off. Last Tuesday Ticktin defeated Lewis 54-46. My spies tell me that Judge Lewis was more peevish than usual on the bench the next day. No matter; she won’t be there much longer.
    One judicial election certainly does not make up for the outrage and human tragedy that has defined this foreclosure crisis era. But it feels good to see some measure of justice prevail, at least by subtracting one of the worst of the worst in bank-loving judges. 
    It does show that the spirit of the movement that gave its best shot at forcing accountability on the most powerful forces in America remains alive. They may have gone local, they may be focused on small and unheralded issues, but they can still pack some force. Just ask ex-Judge Diana Lewis."

    For More On former Judge Diana Lewis, check out what she is doing now as Guardian Diana Lewis in a South Florida Predatory Guardianship Case, the Estate of Simon Bernstein and the Estate of Shirley Bernstein. 

    Friday, February 16, 2018

    Whiny Alan Rose of Mrachek, Fitzgerald, ROSE, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss is still trying to cover up 5 years of BLATANT wrong doing, unethical actions, theft, alleged murder, asset loss, scripted attorney schemes, judicial corruption, lies and flat out fraud. And Alan Rose still thinks he can win any of this or come out on top, just because he has had 5 years of VERY HIGH attorney fees paid to him and the law firm of Mrachek, Fitzgerald, ROSE, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss. Ya I don't think so. One Day the TRUTH will Roll Across all their desks and the Liability and Loss will come with it.

    Note in this Transcript below we see whiny Alan Rose of Mrachek, Fitzgerald, ROSE, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss saying “we”, ya know the co-conspirators, they had an agreement in 2016 but waited to get other stuff done.

    See they were having “trouble” getting stuff done according to Alan Rose. Ya sure. Blah Blah Blah

    I say they were waiting for the Illinois insurance scam to be over or them to believe it over, and waiting for approval on the “settlement” in the insurance fraud case, so “they” (the bad guys "we"), could wrap up over 5 years of fraud, predatory guardianship, real estate fraud insurance fraud, asset theft, mortgage fraud, life insurance fraud, civil rights violations, alleged murders, fraud, forgery and more unethical and criminal activities, I Allege.

    “We've been having trouble getting that one set” says Alan Rose of Mrachek, Fitzgerald, ROSE, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss. My guess on that is Alan Rose wanted to keep his super duper secret confidential settlement agreement with Tescher and Spallina, a SECRET. ya know the law firm that forged a dead guys signature on estate documents to actually benefit Alan Rose’s client, Ted Bernstein.  So Alan Rose waits years to get court approval on this super secret settlement.
    Meanwhile beneficiary Eliot Bernstein was denied rights and standing during that time and Eliot’s children, 2 of which were adults, well they had a predatory guardianship seizing their rights. So ya know, I don’t believe they had trouble setting that one, they simply did not want to, as it was part of their strategy, to deny rights, to wait for the Illinois Insurance Scam to swing in their favor and then seek court approval, with no objections you see as they had used the courts to silence beneficiary Eliot Bernstein and used a former judge, Diana Lewis to enact a predatory guardianship and seize the rights of Eliot’s children. WaLa, magic.
    Diana Lewis
    Let’s take a look at the latest court Transcripts from the Estate of Simon Bernstein
    and the Estate of Shirley Bernstein in West Palm County Florida Courts.

    “MR. ROSE: We have a motion to approve
    There was an objection that was
    filed yesterday, so I'm not sure if --

    THE COURT: I haven't seen it.

    MR. ROSE: This is a motion to approve a
    settlement of a claim.

    THE COURT: Which case? Because I've got
    both motions. For the record, I believe that's
    for the Shirley Bernstein case.

    MR. ROSE: Well, there's a settlement in
    both cases with the same law firm, differing
    amounts. A confidential settlement, it was
    entered into in July of 2016. We've been
    waiting to have the approval hearing heard.

    We've been having trouble getting that one set
    while we did other things first. So, you know,
    we moved to have the settlement approved.

    There's an objection.

    THE COURT: Who filed the objection?

    MR. PERRE: We did, Your Honor. We just
    came new to the case. We're representing the
    trust beneficiary, Joshua Bernstein.

    Our client -- basically, what's happened
    is that a guardian ad litem was appointed by
    the Court.

    At the time that that happened, our
    client was already 18 years old and had full
    capacity to represent himself.

    The reason we're objecting to this motion
    is that our client had no idea that there was a
    settlement, had no idea what was going on, was
    not a part of it, was not consulted by the
    guardian ad litem

    We don't believe his interests are represented here.
    The motion itself actually says that the guardian ad litem
    has been consulted, that she has --

    THE COURT: This is not something we're
    going to be able to have today.
    All right. So
    we'll have to special set. "

    Sure wish Mr. Perre could have continued, that was some good stuff. Can’t wait to hear the end of that sentence. How in the world can the Judge, the Attorneys, the PR, and all of them Justify what they have done over the last 5 years?
    So Alan Rose let the hearing proceed, wasted time and money of ALL, knowing there were objections still hoping to slide it all under the proverbial Rose Rug? Yeah see there was a whole lot of things that Guardian Diana Lewis had no legal right to be deciding for her ADULT competent wards. And as an experienced former Judge, an expert in Florida Guardianship Law, what excuse could she possibly have? Oh ya you see Judge John Philips ordered it so ya umm I went along with the crime. Oh I mean the predatory guardianship. Knowing full well those whose rights she seized were adults and under Florida Law she had no right to sieze their rights. Judge Martin Colin and Judge Rosemarie Scher went right along with it, and all for years. WOW. South Florida sure is a great place to be a lawyer, a judge and a BAD place to retire, leave assets, or have actual civil rights.

    Also keep in mind that former Judge Diana Lewis was not a Guardian prior to this. And Diana Lewis was not picked randomly. She was an old family friend of Brian O'Connell, the PR in this case. I say specifically picked to aid and abet Alan Rose, Ted Bernstein, and Brian O'Connell to cover up years of unethical and fraudulent activities. And to ensure that Judge Martin Colin's unethical and unlawful orders, as well as those of Judge John Philips, were upheld and essentially cover up for the whole gang of predatory guardians, thugs and thieves. (in my Opinion of Course)

    Diana Lewis started a new business for her Guardianship simply because she was asked by an attorney in the case, either Alan Rose or Brian O'Connell. Guardian Diana Lewis came into the Bernstein cases for specific reasons and that was NOT the best interest of ALLEGED, yet NOT, minors. 

    Check Out the West Palm South Florida Court Transcript,
    Judge Rosemarie Scher Court quoted above.