Guardianship News:

Holding guardians & attorneys accountable

Texas: Pretrial hearing set in legal malpractice case against attorneys Don Ford and Richard Bergner

August 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

HOUSTON – A pre-trial conference is set for Aug. 25 in the malpractice suit filed against attorneys Richard Bergner and Don Ford by former client Juliette Fairley in the Southern District of Texas. Fairley’s complaint against the Houston probate attorneys in the wake of what she feels was a gross mishandling of an adult guardianship case involving her father and a San Antonio nursing facility. Fairley, a New York resident, had hired the attorneys to aid her in a lawsuit against Lakeside [- more...]

Florida: Judge rules guardian can’t bond out of jail with suspected clients’ money

July 31, 2017 // 0 Comments

Editor’s Note:  Long-time Florida guardian Fernando Gutierrez was arrested in late June 2017, on suspicions of using his clients’ money to fund his personal expenses (where have we recently heard these same accusations? New Mexico, perhaps. Or was it Nevada?) It was a very different Gutierrez who appeared before a judge in Florida, than the cocky, arrogant guardian who debated AAAPG Founder, Dr Sam Sugar, on Oct 19, 2015. CLEARWATER, Fla. – Professional guardian Fernando [- more...]

Embattled Florida Lawfirm faces another reversal in Federal Court

July 31, 2017 // 0 Comments

The news is not good for a prominent Florida law firm accused of bilking a Ward out of huge sums in a guardianship.  See our prior post at O Connell Verdict These landmark rulings may be the beginning of justice for victims around the state.   DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA FOURTH DISTRICT LINDA W. BOTTA, individually, BETHANY B. BOYD, individually, and NANCY D. COLACHICCO, individually, Appellants, v. CIKLIN, LUBITZ & O’CONNELL, a Partnership of Professional [- more...]

Florida: Jury awards $16.4 Million against guardianship attorneys

July 31, 2017 // 4 Comments

On Friday, July 28, 2017, a unanimous jury in the U. S. District Court, West Palm Beach Courthouse, awarded $16,400,000 to the Estate of Oliver Wilson Bivins, Sr., and against West Palm Beach guardianship attorneys, Brian O’Connell and Brian O’Connell of the Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell law firm. The hotly contested two-week jury trial was handled by BBLF partners Ron Denman, Chuck Bavol and Grant Kindrick. The jury found that attorneys Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin had breached [- more...]

U.S. Department of Justice looking into Guardianship Abuse

July 27, 2017 // 12 Comments

The moment a judge signs the order for an involuntary guardianship they have designated your loved one “disabled”.  These individuals are protected by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1993 and the Olmstead Act provision enacted in 1999 to protect those unlawfully institutionalized and isolated.  Most adult guardianship adjudicating courts completely ignore these obligations.  These violations provide federal authorities the opportunity to step in and demand [- more...]

Why WINGS doesn’t fly

July 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

How can the very people who are the problem solve the problem? The National Guardianship Network is a collaborative group of national organizations dedicated to effective adult guardianship law and practice. First convened in 2002, the National Guardianship Network has played a leadership role in advancing guardianship standards, best practices, and education. It awards seed monies (of as much as $20,000 per state unit) and technical assistance to states to create innovative, consensus-driven [- more...]

New Mexico: Employee blows whistle on guardian embezzlement case

July 21, 2017 // 2 Comments

For more than a decade, one of the state’s largest guardianship firms was routinely appointed by the courts to protect clients whose disabilities left them unable to handle their money or pay their bills. Behind the scenes, federal officials say, Susan Harris and Sharon Moore were allegedly running up the company credit card of Ayudando Guardians to the tune of $4 million by living the life of luxury and paying the American Express bills with client trust money. Then last June, according [- more...]

New Mexico: Guardianship firm seized by marshals

July 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 at 11:45pm A Final Four basketball junket. Caribbean cruises and other luxury vacations. Purchases at an Albuquerque RV Center and a Mercedes-Benz dealership. The alleged lavish spending by the co-founders of one of the state’s largest nonprofit guardianship firms was financed out of the accounts of their special needs clients, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. And on Wednesday, a multiagency federal task [- more...]
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