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From DSS: Judge rules suit valid against State Bond for probate court abuse of Willie Jo Mills

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On May 15, 2018, federal judge Lee H. Rosenthal in Houston issued a landmark ruling allowing a wrongful death lawsuit to proceed against the $500,000 public official bond of state probate judge Christine Butts in Harris County. The claim against Judge Butts’ bond was brought to the Southern District federal court of Texas by Sherry Johnston who alleges Judge Butts turned a blind eye to the preventable decline of her aging mother Willie Jo Mills while she was a ward of the State of Texas under guardianship.

“It is unconscionable that this abuse can occur under the watch of the U.S. Attorney General in 2018,” said Taso Pardalis, an attorney and partner with Pardalis & Nohavicka Lawyers in New York. “Approximately 5 to 10% of adult guardianships in this country are reported to have a fraudulent aspect — yet the percentage is most certainly much higher.”

In North Carolina, Ginny Johnson claims she had been named her father Hugh Beverley Johnson’s power of attorney and health care proxy but after a sibling filed for guardianship in Wake County’s Special Proceedings Estate Division Probate Court, a professional guardian was appointed instead.

Johnson says she cared for the 95 year old Hugh in the colonial home she was raised in for 35 years until one day, three months after her dad had been guardianized, she came home to find herself locked out of their Raleigh house with no trace of her Dad.

“My father was in great shape until he was warehoused by the court appointed guardian in a care center that starved him, restricted him from seeing me and didn’t shower him regularly,” Johnson said.

A year later, the elderly military veteran, who had owned a dry cleaning business, passed away at 96 years old, according to Johnson who has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

The Commission declined to comment.

“We are the state’s designated tribunal/court for tort claims against the State of North Carolina and, as such, we simply cannot comment on any potential, pending or adjudicated claim before us,” said J. Brian Ratledge, general counsel with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Johnson is among a growing number of adult children who regret involving their local court to stop the negative dynamics of their dysfunctional families.

“Family dysfunction and sibling rivalry are the primary reasons the matriarch or patriarch of a family is typically guardianized and ultimately starved, drugged or isolated to death unless they are restored to capacity,” said Dr. Sam Sugar, founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship(AAAPG) in Hollywood, Florida.

Errol Rappaport has taken to standing in front of the residence daily where his 100 year old mother Frances resides with a sign that says, “I want to see my Mommy” in order to draw attention to the emotional pain he is experiencing at being alienated from his parent who is under a court appointed guardianship.

“I am my mother’s son, her flesh and blood,” Rappaport said. “I don’t understand why I cannot visit unannounced. My mother wants to be around family members when she passes away not caregivers.”
Rappaport says he was taking care of his elderly mother and father just fine but after his father died, relatives allegedly asked to sell the family’s $6 million apartment located at 200 Central Park South apartment and 59th Street.
When Rappaport opposed the sale, he says he was hauled into housing court where a judge appointed a guardian over his mother who was then moved to an apartment in Queens. Originally, the devoted son could visit the elderly Frances 5 hours a day but now he is allegedly only allowed to visit 2 hours and he has to schedule that time 48 hours in advance.

“What are they hiding?” Rappaport said.

The court appointed guardian in Rappaport’s case is Sabrina Morrissey, an attorney who declined to comment.

“Even though a guardianship should be used to honor the best interest of the ward, it’s become clear that the system has become a business,” said Pardalis.

A “ward” is a legal term used to describe a senior citizen who has been guardianized due to cognitive decline, such as memory loss. But younger adults are also at risk for becoming a ward of the state due to autism, mental illness or car accidents that lead to disabilities.

The AAAPG’s Dr. Sugar says he gets new calls daily from adult children who are either left penniless, restricted from visiting their parents or both.

“It’s the worst punishment to inflict on an adult child whose parent is at the end of their life because they may never see their mother or father again,” Dr. Sugar said. “Court insiders collude on these restricted visitation orders to crush any challenge to the Judge or guardian’s ultimate authority.”

Active pending adult guardianship cases in the U.S. range from fewer than 1 million to more than 3 million, according to the National Center for State Courts, but with baby boomers entering their golden years and experiencing Alzheimer’s or dementia, that number is on the rise.

By 2020, some 14 million seniors are expected to be afflicted, according to the Alzheimer’s Association data, and they will be at risk for guardianization by the courts.

“The court and the court appointed guardian cannot strip the person of all their assets unless they first declare the individual incapacitated at which point the guardian owns them the way a master owns a slave,” said Dr. Sugar who authored the best selling book Guardianships & The Elderly:The Perfect Crime.

That’s because once an individual is placed under guardianship, he or she becomes a ward of the state, forfeiting their assets while losing all of their rights.

Critics claim guardians appointed by judges, whether they are greedy family members or court insiders, rob the estate by overcharging for tasks and duties that family members perform out of love.

“Private guardians are legally allowed to charge a ‘reasonable’ fee but the State has not defined the term,” Pardalis said. “Some private guardians charge rates as high as $600 an hour for tasks as menial and mundane as writing emails. Fees are billed to the ward’s estate and without sufficient supervision by the State of the guardian’s operations, there is a high potential for financial abuse.”

Orders of restricted visitation can also be very expensive.

For example, Mary Bush in West Chester, Pennsylvania is required to pay $50 to visit her 87 year old mother Genevieve Bush who resides at Park Lane nursing home.

An APS worker and a Sheriff must also be present, according to Bush’s visitation order.

“The court has unjustly labeled me a criminal and violated my due process rights,” Bush said. “My mom had a million dollar estate that has been liquidated by court appointed guardians.”

The Honorable Judge Katherine Platt of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas declined to comment specifically on the Bush guardianship but stated that neither the county nor the state profit from senior citizens who are wards of the state of Pennsylvania under guardianship.

“If anything, they are a drain on judicial resources,” Judge Platt said. “Judges are law trained. We are not social workers and most of us don’t have advanced degrees in the mental health arena. Family dynamics, in some cases, go beyond what our constitutional commission requires of us.”

Judge Platt says she has witnessed court appointed guardians and judges alike being pulled into the dynamics when a parent of a dysfunctional family is guardianized.

“If a court appointed guardian has to deal with dysfunctional relatives of an incapacitated person, they are entitled to be compensated for the time it takes to intercede,” said Judge Platt, an Orphans’ Court judge.

As for orders of visitation that limit an adult child’s visitation with a relative at the end of their life, Judge Platt said, “There’s nothing written in our statute that defines severity.”

But Philadelphia Attorney Alan Denenberg defined severity in a federal lawsuit he filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against two Westtown East Goshen Police Officers whom he alleges conspired to violate Ms. Bush’s 4th Amendment Rights under the U.S. Constitution by using excessive force in the parking lot of Park Lane nursing home where Ms. Bush’s mother resides under guardianship.

Bush v. East Goshen Township et al, against Sergeant James Renegar and Ted Lewis of West Chester, outlines four counts including assault and battery under state law.

“Sgt. Renegar lunged at the Plaintiff Mary Bush, grabbing her cell phone and throwing it to the ground,” stated Counselor Denenberg in an August 29, 2018 Amended Complaint. “Sgt. Renegar then body slammed the Plaintiff onto the pavement causing her head to strike the hard surface. Although she was not resisting arrest, Sgt. Reneger got on top of the plaintiff, twisted her left arm way up her back and threatened to shoot or taser the Palintiff.”

The adult guardianship system in the U.S. is in plain need of greater oversight. But in the meantime, in order to avoid a full-on custody court battle that leads to restricted visits with relatives at the end of their lives, Judge Platt recommends professional mediation.

“Sometimes real contentions exist between family members and there’s quite a discernment that needs to take place to evaluate deep seated historical grievances,” she said. “Mediators have more time for the nuances.”

Meanwhile, the adult children who feel defrauded and are restricted from visiting their elderly relative are increasingly joining immigrant parents who are protesting being separated from their children under detention.

“We feel their pain,” Bush said. “It’s the same situation except it’s our elderly parents who are being detained and we are Americans being separated from them.”

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Good news: from FB post: Jury awards $16.4 million against probate lawyers for abusing an elderly man in a nursing home

For those of you who are trying to decide whether you can sue in Federal Court for the abuses your loved one suffered, read on:

Alleged Elder Negligence in Florida Leads to Multimillion-Dollar Jury Award

Case shows just how easy it is for seniors to lose control of their lives and finances.

Oliver Bivins was allegedly living in a dirty and uncared for condo in Palm Beach, Florida, when his son Julian wanted to relocate him back to  Amarillo, Texas, where the Bivins family had made their fortune in oil and gas.

“I thought it would be a no-brainer to transfer Oliver home,” said attorney J. Ronald Denman, litigator with the Bleakley Bavol Law, whom the younger Bivins had hired in 2011.

Instead, the case dragged on for six years. Denman had unwittingly signed on to an elder guardianship case in which a diagnosis of incapacitation had turned Oliver Bivins into a ward of the state of Florida along with his tens of millions of assets.

“Once Oliver was in that system, my client Julian couldn’t get his dad or assets out of it,” said Mr. Denman.

In his doting age, Bivins had reportedly fallen prey to a care manager’s emergency application for court-appointed guardianship on a weekend trip to Florida.

Court-appointed guardians Curtis Rogers and Stephen Kelly allegedly filed a motion to prevent Mr. Bivin’s son from living with his grandfather and when a judge approved it, he was ordered to move out and leave Oliver to fend for himself.

“The lawyers hired by the court-appointed guardian began attacking Julian, making him out to be a bad guy when the truth is that Julian loved his dad and wanted to take care of him,” Mr. Denman said.

About 21.6% of 1.4 million Palm Beach County residents are aged 65 years or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and according to the Clerk & Comptroller of Palm Beach County’s chief communications officer, Nannette Rodriguez, the number of guardianship cases has fluctuated from 2,700 to 3,000 since 2014 but Ms. Rodriguez stopped short of commenting on any specific case and declined to confirm or deny whether complaints had been filed with the Clerk & Comptroller’s office about any of the defendants.

When an individual, such as Oliver Bivins, is deemed a ward of any state of the U.S., he is stripped of his constitutional rights, civil rights and ability or right to enter an attorney/client relationship. As a result, Mr. Bivins was forced to rely upon a court-appointed guardian to do so on his behalf.

“In Oliver’s case, he was still quite aware of what was occurring but was helpless to do anything to change the direction of the guardians or the attorneys they hired,” Mr. Denman said.

It was not until Denman filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida West Palm Beach Division against the guardians, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Rogers, and their attorneys Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin that the devoted son found relief.

The September 2015 Bivins v Rogers lawsuit alleged that Mr. O’Connell and Ms. Crispin in their role as lawyers for Mr. Rogers, while he was acting as guardian for Oliver Sr., owed similar duties to Oliver Sr. and were fully aware that the work they were doing for Mr. Rogers was for the benefit of Oliver Sr. but that Mr. Rogers and his attorney s were negligent and reckless in the exercise of their fiduciary duties to Oliver Sr., resulting in damages.

Attorney Brandon J. Hechtman, who was part of the defendant’s legal team, stated in an email that he could not provide PacerMonitor News with specific commentary.

According to court records, defendant’s counsel argued that they were representing the guardian directly as opposed to the ward and therefore should not be held responsible for the condition of Oliver Bivins or his estate because they had no direct attorney-client relationship with the ward.

“In reality, the attorneys are supposed to act in the best interest of the ward, who in this case was Oliver Bivins, because they get paid by the ward’s money,” said Mr. Denman.

For years, watchdog groups like Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) have advocated for federal and state authorities to outlaw elder guardianship not only in Palm Beach County but in all 50 states.

Under guardianship, seniors are often starved, overmedicated, abused, robbed and isolated, and family members are banned from visiting, according to Dr. Sugar, who founded AAAPG in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“Judges, lawyers and guardians are not medical professionals and should get out of the business of caring for the elderly,” said Dr. Sugar whose AAAPG acts as a clearinghouse of cases nationwide. “Victims like Julian and Oliver Bivins are among the families who have the financial means to pay for justice. Others are not so fortunate. I get new phone calls every day from family members who are concerned for the welfare of their aging family members who have been involuntarily or unknowingly placed under guardianship.”

Attorneys for Ms. Crispin and Mr. O’Connell have not responded to Pacer Monitor’s requests for comment.

To win the Bivins case, Denman based his argument on Saadeh v. Connors, in which a 1996 opinion of former Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth stated 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.  After emigrating from Jordan with his wife, Karim Saadeh raised a family of three children and became a very successful businessman. After his wife’s death in 2007, Mr. Saadeh met a younger woman and allegedly began loaning her money, which his adult children objected to by contacting an attorney named Colette Meyer.  

An incapacitation petition was filed and after a hearing, the court-appointed a guardian.Butterworth further wrote, “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.”

According to the Bivins’s federal complaint, the Palm Beach County court-appointed guardians had not only allowed several of Bivins’s properties to deteriorate but also reversed the transfers of money the older Bivins initiated for Mr. Bivins, his beneficiary son.

A federal jury sympathized with Mr. Bivins plight, ruling that Ms. Crispin and Mr. O’Connell, the attorneys appointed to oversee the estate of Oliver Bivins, were deemed liable for professional negligence and for breaching their fiduciary duty to the elderly Bivins who died in 2015 at 98 years old.

In July 2017, Julian Bivins walked away with a jury verdict and award of $16.4 million


From AD of FB: Guardianship is the worst civil penalty for an US Citizen there is

You just read:

Federal Report Examines “Civil Death” of the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Elderly under Guardianships, Calls on Department of Justice to Ensure Full and Fair Due Process Rights

From AP News: Chicago Federal Court Judge relieved of duties for ethics violation

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in two of Illinois’ highest profile cases has been removed from hearing all his criminal cases after it was revealed he exchanged emails with an employee at the U.S. attorney’s office in which he commented on and joked about one of his trials in progress at the time.

Some legal experts said Tuesday the matter could lead to a review of hundreds of cases to see if Judge Colin Bruce had sent out similarly inappropriate emails during trials before, a review process that could create trial delays and logjams at the U.S. District for Court for central Illinois.

“It is an understatement to say that this is outrageous,” said Phil Turner, a defense attorney in Chicago and a former federal prosecutor in northern Illinois with no cases before Bruce. “It’s extremely unusual and way beyond the pale.”

The Urbana-based Bruce had been presiding over ex-U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s corruption case and the case of Brendt Christensen, accused in the 2017 kidnapping and slaying of Yingying Zhang, a Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois. Neither case has yet gone to trial.

Schock, a Peoria Republican, resigned in 2015 and was indicted on allegations of misusing funds in 2016. The 37-year-old has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Christensen, saying he tortured Zhang, 26, before killing her.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Shadid said in a one-sentence statement Tuesday that he had “temporarily reassigned” all of Bruce’s cases in which federal prosecutors are a party. He didn’t say why.

Bruce’s emails to a paralegal at Springfield’s U.S. attorney’s office came to light last week in a motion for a new trial by Sarah Nixon, convicted in December 2016 of international parental kidnapping. She was sentenced last year to just over two years in prison. The U.S. attorney’s office disclosed the emails to the defense in May, saying it had only recently become aware of them, according to Nixon’s motion.

In one Dec. 17, 2016, email Bruce sent before Nixon’s trial had ended, he said sarcastically that a prosecutor had done “a WONDERFUL job of repeating the bull—- the defendant said as if the defendant’s story was all fact.”

“This trial went from slam-dunk for the prosecution to about 60-40 for the defendant,” he wrote. A Dec. 18 email added: “I really cringed when the inexperienced DOJ attorney started (cross-examining) the defendant.”

Turner said Bruce’s comments, if conveyed to the trial prosecutors, could have helped them adjust how they questioned witnesses.

Bruce’s office declined any comment Tuesday, as did prosecutors.

But in a filing last week following Nixon’s motion for a new trial, Bruce recused himself and defended his emails to someone he described as a longtime friend. He said the point of the emails was to explain why he hadn’t attended a retirement party for an outgoing U.S. attorney.

“At the time it was sent, and now, I consider the email exchange to be innocuous and merely a private email conversation with someone entirely uninvolved in this case,” he wrote.

Turner said he expected many defense attorneys whose clients were convicted in cases heard by Bruce to ask for an investigation, which he said would include examining the judge’s email archives.

The temporary reassignment of Bruce’s cases, he said, could easily end up becoming permanent, saying an argument could be made that the judge should be booted from the bench entirely.

From EF: On Wells Fargo and Mortgage Fraud in Illinois=where is her property?

Dear All,
I am going to appear before Judge Thomas Allen to present a Motion to reinstate my case against Wells Fargo bank and reverse VOID orders entered by a cohort of corrupt Illinois Judges, most of whom received substantial amounts of money from Wells Fargo lawyers Mayer Brown LLP.
I will report  how Judge Thomas Allen will proceed in my case and whose side he will take – the LAW and INTEGRITY or ??????
In US Bank v. Pote2017 IL App (1st) 162077 Justice David Ellis (Mr. Madigan’s crony who approved my text-book fraudulent foreclosure in favor of a fake Plaintiff in my 2014 Appeal Case, without key evidence)  confirmed:” It is true that, when a judgment is void, it may be attacked at any time”.
But when I as a ProSe bring the same argument, supported  by a mountain of evidence and a load of binding precedents, I am ALWAYS subjected to endless judicial  threats, bullying, and harassment while Wells Fargo and their lawyers never able to produce even a copy of documents based on which Judge Senechalle helped them to steal my property. 
It  is absolutely obvious that Illinois Court operates on double standards; and deny ProSe litigants any protection under the law while  prefer to serve only those who pay judges directly – banks and their lawyers. 
I also want to comment  on Wells Fargo bank’s most recent statement  that they “accidentally” foreclosed 400 homeowners due to a years-long “computer glitch”. This is a most cynical lie I ever heard from Wells Fargo.  (please read recent cases attached by links)  Wells Fargo and their legal gangs committed endless fraud upon the Court; forgeries; perjuries. In my case lawyer Douglas Oliver lied 7 times on 3 pages claim, and ARDC dismissed all my complaints against  Wells Fargo’s lawyers, so Oliver  now leads  a famous McCalla/ Pierce legal mob).
An African American immigrant got 6 years in jail for “perjury”  when he told  Judge Lynch  that his niece is not married while she purportedly was.  Lawyer Douglas Oliver filed forged Assignment and relentlessly  lied that he represents the Plaintiff, Deutsche Bank (not a plaintiff), whom  Oliver never represented because he was hired by Wells Fargo; and that MERS (not a mortgagee) transferred its “interest” to a “current mortgage” Deutsche Bank (lie again) – and Wells Fargo  walked away with my property without telling me a single word because this entire mob action was orchestrated and enabled  by JUDGES.
Wells Fargo and their lawyers laundered trillions of dark money though  US Court system for Wells’  Gigantic $5.3 trillion Ponzi scam;  fraudulently foreclosed millions of American to STEAL their properties for very shady  investors, who can be anyone – even drug cartels.
These properties were illegally resold to third parties, while shady investors failed to register void US Securities (fake REMIC Trusts mortgages) purchased from Wells Fargo on foreign exchange markets,  without ANY registration with US authorities, which makes about 100% of all foreclosure sales essentially void.
Judges and the Government repeatedly aided and abetted Wells Fargo Ponzi scam, which caused enormous damages to our economy, created a huge number of homeless, and ruined public confidence in justice, resulting  in a skyrocketing level of violent crimes (over 150 people were shot between Aug 3-23 in Chicago, at least 18 killed, including Wells Fargo top lawyer Shapiro). Here are no safe area in Chicago; and the Government already cannot control this situation.  
It is clear for everybody (except judges, of course, specially those whose elections bankrolled by banks and their lawyers), that Judicial support to WFB’s fraud defeats the substantial ends of justice; and rewards parties who have played a major and unlawful role in the theft of someone’s home. 
The legal setbacks have demoralized homeowners and their attorneys and caused them to question the integrity of justice system. Some attorneys say courts exhibit an institutional bias in favor of the banks [1]  which has done enormous damage to the economy.
It was very clear that there is one form of justice for the small borrower and another form of justice for the moneyed interests,” said attorney Adams (CA). “It pains me to say that, but having seen the real estate debacle and the judiciary’s protection of these fraudulent practices[.].” [2]Lawyer Weidner (FL) said “ One of the very worst elements that has been introduced into the whole of the judicial system is systematic fraud and forgery that have been not just ignored, but supported by the judicial system .”[..] “The banks position was, “just ignore the obvious fraud and forgery.”  
And the trial judge rewarded their fraud and forgery with a Final Judgment [3].
 Pennsylvania attorneys claim that JUDGES knowingly and intentionally created foreclosures in Family court. See link below.
In Hawaii Third Circuit Court judges engaged in foreclosure fraud and judicial corruption . In the case (see link below) has been ongoing for eleven years and serves as a study of how political influence over justice is regularly administered in “paradise.” Here, on the Big Island of Hawaii, people’s lives and families are ruined as their real estate is regularly stolen by “bar members” administering white collar organized crimes. 
Moreover, people in ALL States are repeatedly asking WHERE ARE THE  MONEY from the National Mortgage Settlement???
(Pennsylvania Bulletin: T o add salt to the wound, no one knows where the money went from the Department of Justice Settlement, that was awarded to the State of Pennsylvania.  There are outstanding Right to Know requests trying to obtain that information. In  many states such as California- law suits have been filed because the money went into the pockets of politicians, instead of the intended recipients that were damaged by bank fraud.  In a state that got an “F” from the Center for Public Integrity- what else would you expect in Pennsylvania?)
No one in Illinois knows where are $2.8 billion received by Lisa Madigan (whose father helped at least 85-90 % of all sitting IL Judges to get judicial seats), most of which disappeared in her hands, and I guess were diverted to enrich Madigan’s clout, some sort of a free  “grant” to turn a blind eye to gigantic money laundering and foreclosures mill operated by Mr. Madigan’s judicial cronies in IL Court system.
The worst part of this scam that its about to collapse at any minute;  and dwarf 2006 crisis.
According to most recent cases, investors and insurers finally woke up and realized that their  money were stolen by banks; and now insurers are on the hook to cover for banks’ fraud upon the Court with their fake REMIC Trusts, approved by judges.
The most recent case was filed in NY on August 16, 2018, AMBAC v. Deutsche bank, N.T. where Ambac asked a New York federal court Thursday to release it from an obligation to insure some of the $900 million in losses suffered by a residential mortgage-backed securities trust managed by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., saying the banking giant did not hold the underlying loan issuer accountable.
This case  provides additional support  that the Plaintiff in my case, Trust GSAMP 2006FM1 is a scam to defraud investors, insurers and homeowners. The entire securitization scheme was built on layers of false information and false premises. A false sale was created with fabricated documentation. The originator never owned the loan, but rather served as a sham conduit for another conduit masquerading as an aggregator for an investment bank masquerading as an underwriter (and Master Servicer) and using the name of a nonexistent fictitiously named trust. Even insurers realized that they were defrauded with banks’ bogus “securitization”. 
Worth to mention, on December 4, 2013 I told Judge Senechalle (Madigan’s crony) that decision entered by Judge Rooney (Madigan’s crony) was void because the Plaintiff (Trust GSAMP 2006FM1) does not exists. Senechalle laughed in my face and said  “Deutsche Bank does not exist?”   – while I  said that the TRUST does not exist.
Clearly, Judge Senechalle not only extraordinary corrupt and dishonest  jurist, but also professionally incompetent because he should know that the “Plaintiff” in my case was a the TRUST, while Wells Fargo was posing as Deutsche Bank,  a fictitious “Trustee” .
Recently  Servicer Ocwen complained that certain companies  engaged in “ a covert criminal conspiracy” through “ devious, criminal and unlawful scheme   which was “wrong in every respect – legal, contractual, public policy and moral”, and hired  Servicers, (like WFB) who would support  their “ruthless strategy  for “ gouging enormous profits from the forced foreclosures and confiscation of the homes of hundreds of thousands of struggling families”; to “reap ill-gotten gains by relentlessly and unlawfully pursuing foreclosures ”. Erbey Holding v. BlackRock, filed on April 12, 2018 in Virgin Islands Court.
Ocwen confirmed that Defendants were well aware that their ruthless strategy was contrary to the laws, regulations and policy of the United States, well-established industry standards and contractual obligations explicitly provided for in the governing MBS and mortgage servicing documents.”  
So, even OCWEN and Insurers claim that REMIC Trusts are fakes and foreclosures mill operated by certain Servicers in US Courts is fraudulent and criminal.
But every foreclosure requires a Court order signed by a judge to proceed. I am wondering that was judges’ rationale when they approved these wrong in every respect – legal, contractual, public policy and moral foreclosures, contrary to the laws, regulations and policy, and confiscated the homes from struggling families for banks and their fake Trusts solely operated as a Ponzi scam with thin-air derivatives? Are these orders valid?
According to most recent case decided on Aug. 22, 2018 in GA Appeal Court, MCGinnis v. Am. Home Mortgage Servicing, the homeowner was awarded $3.6 million damages. 
In Wells Fargo Bank v. Riley (FL), Dec. 2017, Court holds after trial that the homeowner prevails due to Plaintiff Wells Fargo had unclean hands. The opinion noted, “even if Plaintiff had standing to foreclose [.], Plaintiff would be denied the equitable relief of foreclosure upon a finding that Plaintiff took action in pursuing this foreclosure that reasonable and honest men would condemn.”
Judge Boyko (OH) ruled “courts must act as gatekeepers, because “this Court possesses the []obligations to preserve.. integrity” because the “ judicial  integrity of the US[.]Court is ‘Priceless”. 2007 WL 4056586 (S.D. Ohio, Nov. 15, 2007).
I don’t know that happened to judicial integrity in Illinois Court, but all orders entered in case 11-CH-28887 by Judge Senechalle;  approved by Appeal Court and supported by Judge Der-Yeghian are void orders since they were procured by a classic fraud upon the Court; due to  the only reason  –  judges are corrupt , extremely bias against ProSe litigants; and very supportive to well-connected lawyers, especially those who bankroll judicial elections.
This ill-driven practices must be stopped immediately.
I respectfully request to re-open and investigate Wells Fargo bank’s  compliance with Nat’l Mortgage Settlement and ORDER them to provide  REAL compensation for damages directly to homeowners, at least the  amount of full price for each stolen by Wells Fargo property.

When WFB steal hundreds of billions  and pay a fine that is a small percentage of what they stole that only gives the thieves incentive to steal even more.



FB request: Where to find Illinois Rules of Court–go fish in 5 places

The Illinois Rules of Court are confusing, not all in one convenient place and disorganized.

Women like organization, so I am appalled.

Here are the 5 places to check before you file anything in an Illinois court.

Always check before you file:

  1.  Supreme Court of Illinois Rules:  SCOI has a set of rules they like.
  2.  Illinois Code of Civil Procedure:  the State Legislature passes Rule for Court that they like.  While these don’t seem to overlap, why aren’t these two state organizations organizing the rules?
  3.  Cook County Rules of Court:  Timothy Evans and his Judges’ committee passes our local Rules of Court which means Cook County and the Suburban Court System get rules. Well SCOI and the legislature get to pass rules, so they need to have a whack at it.
  4. Cook County Rules:  Even more confusing, each of the districts in Cook County gets to have their own rules of court. For example:  in Cook County you can bring in laptops and cell phones. In outlying courts you can’t.  Go figure. They say it’s for “safety purposes” but I think that’s nonsense. No studies have been done.  It was all anecdotes when they implemented these rules.  Further, they made no evaluation of lesser restrictive rules to accomplish any alleged safety concerns.  I vote political BS or nonsense.
  5.  My fav, the judge’s website.  Here is where you will find when to bring courtesy copies, where to bring them, how many days you have to serve courtesy copies and all sorts of minutia BS. But if you don’t know it, your judge might fall into grudgeland against you.  Joke:  what’s the diff between a liberal and a conservative judge?  Answer: a liberal judge only holds a grudge against you for violating his/her rules for 30 days; a conservative judge will take 5 to 10 lawsuits to forgive a grudge.


Any way, that’s my humor and info for the day.

Why can’t they just KISS? esp for the pro se’er’s out there. Keep it Simple, Stupid.


From KKD: The victims continue to tell their stories to the authorities

Time to do somehing

It is time for the people who care about the elderly and the disabled to take action.    The government has two task forces out there to prosecute those who prey on the elderly and the health care system and they are impotent if all that we do is give them lip service and complain.     It is time for action.  It is time for action that is meaningful and useful.
In the past few days I talked with a number of family members of victims.   The frustration is monumental.   I understand the plight of the victims.    I wrote many letters to elected representatives and noted that the interest was slim and none.   The political animal knows that the nursing home operator, medicare fraudster et al can deliver VOTES and money while you and me most probably will deliver neither.    Thus, Senator Durbin answers my letter with a copy of some stupid speech that he gave as to social security  – he can care less — the health care fraudster will deliver him enough votes for him to be elected!   Worse yet, he by experience knows that I and people like me will probably not vote or vote in ignorance.   His re-election is safe!  So you and I don’t count!
The new administration has vowed to “drain the swamp.”   I take the promise seriously and I want to assist.   One way to aid the draining of the swamp is to assist law enforcement in its quest to put public officials who have breached the public trust in jail.   We can do this by making meaningful complaints to law enforcement and watching the result.    The investigations conducted by JoAnne Denison, JP ***** and others have made it clear that there is big money in HEALTH CARE FRAUD.   The Seth Gilman and Philip Esformes have given an insight into just how much money is involved.    The government has rooted out a scintilla of the fraud with little fanfare, but the government has neither the inclination or the staff to do a complete job; we can fill in the blanks.   Indeed, we must do so or we will lose our democracy as easily as a Court appointed guardian ad litem was able to orchestrate the recovery of the gold fillings from Alice Gore’s mouth!  (and of course not inventory them!)
Most of the complaints that we make are disjointed, unintelligible accumulations of arguments, conclusions and a few facts.     The investigator is bogged down in material that is a gold mine of information, but so disorganized and disguised that it is almost unintelligible.    Hours are wasted separating the facts out and too often the statute of limitations has run, or the miscreants are out of reach.  A silk purse cannot be manufactured from a sow’s ear.
Lawyers who work on the ‘front line’ are required as trial preparation to separate the wheat from the shaft.   We use a device called a TIME LINE.    We start from day one and list the facts that are important day by day.   We then annotate the list of facts with annotations filing in the details.    We supplement each listed fact with the documents that prove that fact labeling them accordingly and we detail by other means what the fact is intended to prove.     Sometimes we even supplement the work sheet (called a time line) with case citations and other references.
I for one did not work in a vacuum.    I usually requested that the client provide me with a timeline.    I did this because it fixed the transaction in the client’s mind and gave me a leg up.    I was fortunate as most of the time when I requested the ‘time line’ my client was obliging and relatively accurate (and concise).    (The document is protected by attorney client privilege).    Even a poorly prepared time line does aid the lawyer not only in doing his/her investigation, but in trial preparation – the client recalls the facts written vividly and accurately.
Thus, let me suggest that we communicate with the hundreds – if not thousands – of victims of the ELDER CLEANSING/HUMAN TRAFFICKING scandal and induce them to prepare TIME LINES airing their greivances fully and completely – completely with documents proving the claim and send them to LAW ENFORCEMENT and in particular the task forces set up to do HONEST INVESTIGATIONs.    For the Time line, let me suggest:

Preparation of a time line

The purpose of a time line is to provide law enforcement with a concise, accurate, and usable set of facts upon which they can evaluate the claim that you are presenting to them.      In particular, the object of a complaint to law enforcement is to obtain an HONEST INVESTIGATION coupled with an accurate and honest evaluation of the facts of your case.   Ergo, innuendos, adjectives, conclusions and attempts at persuasion are counter-protective.    An intelligent law enforcement agent is well aware, as an example, that a judge who accepts something of value from a litigant is dishonest, a crook, and a criminal and therefore does not need to be told.     An unusual fact, such as the Court file being devoid of a Sheriff’s return or a notice to the next of kin.     The fact of the file revealing that the petitioner directed the sheriff to serve summons on the elderly person in Cook County, when the elderly person respondent was living with the petition in DuPage County speaks for itself.    The investigator does not have to be told that there is something wrong.

The time line should be objective and as accurate as possible.     If dates are not readily available, the time line should endeavor to make that clear and arrange events in chronological order.      The preparation of the time line should be annotated with documents.     For instance:

1.      Date   – Summons filed seeking Sheriff to serve respondent with summons.     Copy of summons attached as exhibit 1.   Note:   Sheriff directed to serve summons on respondent at 11234 x street, Chicago, Illinois.   See docket entry 12 – being a letter from GAL John Doe to Court requesting a 2nd GAL to be appointed as respondent resides in DuPage County.    Copy of letter to Judge attached as exhibit

2.      Date – Court appoints Adam **** as GAL   see Doc entry.

Later on in the time-line when the chronology is appropriate.    The time will reveal–

1.      August 2010 – Court appearance before Judge M*** C****.     Status – File reveals:  1) service of summons has not been had.     No summons in the file directing Sheriff to serve respondent in DuPage County.   2) no physician’s affidavit in file.    See Transcript attached hereto and made part hereof as exhibit 45.    NB.  Note GAL and Court stating to Petitioner that Dr. X has been co-operative and has testified in the past as to incompetency.   See lines 20, 21 page 5 of transcript of proceedings.

In certain instances, the clerk has prepared the record for appeal.    You will find that every page of the record is numbered.   References to those numbers are important.    The more relevant information that you provide the investigator the better.

Indeed, the preparation of a timeline is tedious work and time consuming.     The frustration of being given the runaround is equally frustrating and not productive.     An HONEST INVESTIGATION is going to require someone to detail all the facts and to put them into a discernible form.    The preparation of an accurate time line not only provides you with all the facts and documents “in hand” but it also provides the investigator with a bird’s eye view of the entire situation, a list of witnesses, and documents.

If after the relevant tim line has been accurate and concisely prepared it would not be out of line to write cover letter.    In this cover – letter you can vent your gripes.    For instance, the fact that the Judge was in August 2010 giving legal advice to the Petitioner is grounds for you to suggest that the Judge’s conduct was wrongful.    The Judge is not on the bench to aid a Petitioner, the judge is there as a trier of fact and pursuant to Illinois statute 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 and following the Petition must prove the incompetency and the degree of incompetency by clear and convincing evidence.    A judge who is an advocate has breached the public trust as the judge is, pursuant to the Federal and State Constitution required to protect the interests of the respondent.    

The judge is not protecting the respondent when the aforesaid judge is advising the petitioner as to what physician will be available to perjure himself.    If you read the statute that I cited you will note that the guardianship is limited – it is limited to only those disabilities that they respondent actually inhibit the respondent from enjoying the benefits of his/her citizenship.     This is consistent with ADA – not the holocaust or the gulag! 

I am not concerned as to the form the complainant wishes to use – it is important that all the salient and important facts be accurately provided the investigation.  The object is an HONEST INVESTIGATION and evaluation.   The conciseness of the fact recitation is also important.   There are literally millions of senior citizens who have been drawn into this travesty and are being denied their basic CONSTITUTIONAL  RIGHTS.     It is important that your situation receive that HONEST INVESTIGATION and all the miscreants have some sleepness nights.

Dr. Sugar’s book on Guardianship is worthwhile reading.    More information can be found on NASGA, AAAPG, Probate Sharks, MaryGSykes *****.    The October 9, NewYorker article also is suggested reading.   We are all vulnerable to this HUMAN TRAFFICKING – in fact most of us are a fall away from being prey!    The venalness of the assault on the American Constitution is clearly revealed by the document filed by Jerome Larkin, the administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary commission wherein he related the exposure of Judicial corruption in the MaryGSykes blog with “YELLING FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER.”    That was preposterous.  The blog is a factual account of scores of abusive guardianships existing in Illinois.  It is not a work of fiction, but of fact.  These are fact the Atty Regn and Disciplinary Commission wishes to ignore and sweep under the rug inasmuch as they involve some of the most despicable actions taken against the disabled citizens of Illinois, and it is all done under color of law.
Of course the Illinois Supreme Court showed its devotion to the RULE OF LAW and the First Amendment – it issued an interium suspension followed by a three year suspension of the law license of JoAnne Denison for operating and maintaining a blog that documents the untoward and criminal actions of a wide variety of Illinois lawyers and Judges.    Rule 8.3 required Ms. Denison and other lawyers to expose the corruption!   However, most lawyers were afraid!   Joining the “cover up” the 2nd oldest profession  demonstrated why judges and lawyers are so poorly regarded by the “great unwashed!”    Now is the time for the “great unwashed” to show its metal.

Ken Ditkowsky

Lawyer and civil rights activist.

From FB: Anyone surprised? All 4 WV judges subject to impeachment for corruption

All of West Virginia’s Supreme Court justices impeached over spending

Lawmakers approved an article they had abused their authority and failed to control office expenses, including $1 million in renovations to offices.
by Associated Press /  / Updated 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers completed the extraordinary move of impeaching all four state Supreme Court justices Monday night for spending issues, including a suspended justice facing a 23-count federal indictment.

The state House of Delegates voted to impeach Justice Allen Loughry on eight articles, setting the stage for a trial in the state Senate.

Beth Walker became the final justice to be impeached when an article was approved stating all four justices abused their authority. It said they failed to control office expenses, including more than $1 million in renovations to their individual offices, and not maintaining policies over matters such as working lunches and the use of state vehicles and office computers at home.

Walker had dodged impeachment earlier Monday night when lawmakers decided to overlook her $131,000 in spending on office renovations. A short time later, another article was withdrawn against Chief Justice Margaret Workman, who spent $111,000 in renovations.

Justice Robin Davis was impeached for $500,000 in office renovations. And lawmakers approved articles against Loughry for spending $363,000 in renovations to his office; having a $42,000 antique desk and computers, all owned by the state, at his home; lying to the House Finance Committee about taking home the desk and a $32,000 suede leather couch; and for his personal use of state vehicles.

Loughry, Workman and Davis also were impeached for their roles in allowing senior status judges to be paid higher than allowed wages. Lawmakers say the overpayments violated state law and stopped when they were challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.

Another impeachment article was withdrawn dealing with an accusation Loughry used state money to frame personal items at his office.

Minority Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee that approved the articles last week had tried to speed up the impeachment process in the hopes of beating an Aug. 14 deadline for arranging a special election in November if any justice is removed from office or leaves office. Instead, the committee took its time, even conducting a tour of the state Supreme Court offices earlier this month.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice will be allowed to appoint new justices to replace any who are impeached — with no requirement that they be from the same party as the incumbent.

Democrats have accused Republicans of attempting to wrest the court away from voters, who elected the current justices in nonpartisan elections.

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer of Monongalia County said Democrats agreed all along there was enough to recommend Loughry’s impeachment. But she said going after the other justices “was a power grab, was a takeover of the court and using the impeachment process to take over another branch of government.”

“We’re taking away from the people,” she said

Some legislators said they didn’t support impeaching any justice for wasteful spending, only for articles pertaining to lying, cheating or stealing.

But John Shott, a Mercer County Republican who chaired the House Judiciary Committee hearings that drew up the impeachment articles, asked whether there is public confidence in the court, and if not, “we need to take action to try to rebuild that trust.”

Several lawmakers noted the Supreme Court has a separate budget and is currently allowed to spend as it sees fit. But Shott said the court should spend that money wisely “and for the benefit of its citizens.”

A proposed constitutional amendment this fall would bring the state courts’ budget partly under legislative control.

Image: Allen Loughry
Allen Loughry. Craig Cunningham / AP

Loughry, who wrote a 2006 book chronicling West Virginia political corruption, was indicted in June on 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Justice and legislative leaders have asked him to resign. Loughry has not responded and did not testify at the committee hearings.

One impeachment article accused Loughry of lying to the House Finance Committee in January about his involvement in his office renovations, including a custom-designed wooden-inlay map showing all 55 West Virginia counties embedded in the floor.

Loughry was suspended earlier this year. Justice Menis Ketchum retired and agreed to plead guilty to a federal wire fraud count involving the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.

A special election already is set in November to fill the remainder of Ketchum’s term.

Circuit judge Paul T. Farrell has been sworn in to act as the court’s chief justice for the Senate trial, whose timeline is uncertain. The court’s fall term starts in early September. In the event that one or more justices is on trial in the Senate, the court said last week it would hear all cases on the docket as scheduled.

The last time the Legislature was involved in similar proceedings was 1989, when state Treasurer A. James Manchin was impeached by the House of Delegates after the state lost $279 million invested in the bond market. Manchin resigned before the state Senate took up the impeachment measure. He was never charged and the state recovered $55 million from lawsuits against nine New York brokerage firms involved in the losses.

From MG: On the Bradley Amendment and child support obligations: is it all fair?

 Bradley Amendment (Federal Law:  Public Act 99-509 (42 U.S.C. § 666 – yes, I appreciate the irony of the number 666 as the sign of the Beast/Devil), and its effect on Child Support.

Quickly, here is what the Devil’s Law (okay, I’m pushing the irony envelope here), I mean Bradley Amendment does:

-Automatically triggers a lien each time child support is due.  That means, if you miss 3 payments, you have three separate liens against you.  Each occurring on the date that the child support is due.  The obligee does not have to do ANYTHING to initiate the lien.  It’s an automatic judgement against the obligor, as if you got sued 3 times and lost 3 times.

-Since it is non-expiring, it never ends.  It does not matter if you are 95 on Social Security eating dog food; it survives.  There is no Statute of Limitation.  I guess that the government puts this on par with murder.

-But unlike murder, it survives death.  That is, if you die, you cannot be charged with murder.  But for child support purposes, if you die (or the obligee dies, or the child dies) the lien still exists.  It ends up in probate court for them to find anything of value to satisfy the lien.  It does not matter if you are 95 and your child is now 75.  Or if your child died before you and you inherited from your child’s estate, and then you died; the obligee gets the money.

-It cannot be discharged in Bankruptcy.  Here is where the corruption of family court makes it worse.  Judges often tell attorneys (or attorneys do on their own) to list attorney fees as “in the nature of child support” (whether true or not) so that attorney fees are treated as non-dischargeable.

-It cannot be discharged, even if it was based on lies/fraud/mistake (mother named wrong dad).

-It does not matter if the Child died.  If the State does not enter in the computer that the child died, child support continues without discharge.

AND NONE OF THIS CAN BE CORRECTED RETROACTIVELY.  That is, once the date the support is due, it is written in stone.  In other words, it cannot be corrected, despite lies, fraud, mistake, stupidity, unconstitutionality, you name it.

AND THE BIGGIE IN STUPIDITY:  There is no judicial discretion.  Zero.  Ziltch.  No matter how warped, stupid, or unconstitutional the results.  Here are some of my favorites of stupid (and unconstitutional) results.  There are cases where the obligor was:

-In a coma (and failed to go into court to reduce their child support, not that a judge would even reduce it.).  I heard of a case where a judge ordered a obligor in Australia who was in a long-term coma be placed in custody for contempt until he started paying.

-A captive of Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.  I guess Dictator Saddam Hussein would not give the guy time to file for a modification to child support.

Here are some actual cases (with the State’s response):

-Bobby Sherrill, a Lockheed employee in Kuwait from North Carolina, was captured by Iraqis and spent nearly five months as an Iraqi hostage. Sherrill was arrested the night after his release for not paying $1,425 in child support while he was a hostage.

Clarence Brandley, a Texas high school janitor, was wrongly convicted in 1980 of murder.  After spending many years in prison and on death row, he was released in 1990 and he then sued the state of Texas for wrongful imprisonment in 1993. The state then responded with a bill for nearly $50,000 in child support that had not been paid while in prison.

Taron James, a U.S. Navy veteran from California, was forced to continue to pay child support until 2006, even after the child was demonstrated by DNA test in 2001 to be not his; James paid $12,000 in such payments.  There are lots of cases similar to this one.

-Larry Souter was wrongly convicted of murder in 1992 and spent 13 years in prison before being exonerated and released in 2005. Upon release, he was ordered by the court to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for failing to pay $38,000 in combined back child support, interest, and penalties (damn, interest and penalties too).  Notice a State pattern – we wrongly convicted you, you could not pay (because we wrongly locked you up), so now we’re going to punish you more.

Link this with the perverse incentives of Title IV-D, and a obligor has no chance.

And that my kids, is today’s lesson on the Bradley Amendment and Due Process in America.  Sleep well.

MG–advocate for fair child support payments

From KKD: we have to clean up the probate messes, from the court to the nursing homes that abuse the elderly and disabled

Dr. Sugar’s book is a primer.   
It is is must read to understand the problem of ELDER CLEANSING and corruption in the Courts that has lead to the guardianship problem and just what a cancer and assault on our Constitution it has become.   
I was drawn into this situation when the attorney for the guardian and the guardian ad litem in the Mary Sykes case -09 P 4585 (Cook County) each individually called me to threaten me that Judge Maureen Connors would “sanction” me if I looked into the Mary Sykes case.    Of course I told them to go to hell.  Truth to their word, they appeared before Judge Connors and demanded that I be sanctioned.    First she tried to scare me; however, I did not attorn.    Finally I was sanctioned almost 5,000 dollars for my attempting to look into a guardianship case pending in Cook County, Illinois.  
Naturally I took an appeal and won.   
That did not end the case, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission first tried to silence me, and then when it became obvious that I was now interested and not going away INTIMIDATION was the next step.    When it came out that the presiding judge in the case was ‘wired’ (fixed) and I was still demanding an HONEST INVESTIGATION I was the subject of a full bore soviet style disciplinary hearing.    (As I had practiced law for over fifty years, I was not and still am not intimidated – I hope to live long enough to see the DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY arrive on the doorstep of each of the criminals – public and private – and collect the interest, taxes, and penalties that each 18 USCA 371 co conspirator owes.
It was interesting to note that so arrogant are these criminals that when the IARDC discovered that Seth Gillman ( a hospice fraudster stealing from medicare) was co-operating with the FBI, Jerome Larkin the and Illinois Attorney Disciplinary Commission sought to intimidate him by applying for an interium suspension of his law license.
Tonight I plan to appear on Bev Cooper’s public access Television program and discuss this corruption.    I’ve tried to encapulate the issues that we have previously discuss on the program – for your information – I typed up the following note for myself.     I hope that you find it interesting, to wit:

August 8, 2018.

Official Corruption that has been discussed, to wit:

1.       Guardianship.    Centered around the Mary Sykes case 09 P 4585 and the October 9, 2017 New York article.      Dr. Sugar’s Book is an expose of the central aspects of the criminal enterprise.     It should be noted that there are good and necessary guardianships, but they are overshadowed by those designed to fit into the grand scheme of HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE ELDERLY.

a.       Guardianship fraud like the Sykes case is designed to PUT THE VICTIM on ice until they can be denuded of all property, property, and value.     The vast majorities of these guardianships involve:

                                                               i.      Isolation of the victim

                                                             ii.      Obtaining control over the victims’ property

                                                           iii.      Rendering the victim helpless and solely in the control of the traffickers – usually the guardian, but in the case of Alice Gore, the guardian ad litem

                                                           iv.      “spreading the wealth” this can be accomplished by outright theft – assets, like Mary Sykes’ gold coins just disappear and are not inventoried.    Any mention of the stolen goods is brought before a corrupt judge who listens carefully to every word of complaint and then finds that the complainer is a liar and interfering with the due administration of the estate.

                                                             v.      Elimination of the victim.    Use of Opioids (supplied by health care providers – such as the government) keep the victim alive for as long as insurance company or government health care money, such as Medicare can be garnered.     After the last practical dollar is extracted the victim is put to death.   Cremation covers up a wealth of questions.

b.       Guardianship fraud derived from legitimate attempts to help a disabled person.    In this situation, a co-operate Judge, corrupt lawyers and Guardian ad litem get together to rape and estate.    They set up the family individual who is a legitimate guardian and accuse the guardian of acting improperly.    An irate judge threats doom and gloom but relents and does not send the family member appointed guardian to jail – a judge is rendered that is enough to put the fear of God into the family member and a pawn is appointed guardian.    The pawn is manipulated into bit by bit transferring all the value assets of the Estate into the pockets of the co-operate judge, the guardian ad litem et al.   The Alice Gore case is a classic example of this fraud.

c.       Variations on the theme.     Including PURPOSE DIRECTED GUARDIANSHIP.    The Jaycox case is an illustration.    Jaycox recognized that something was wrong and refused to authorize further payment.     The nursing home then petitioned the Court for a guardian.    When Jaycox engaged counsel (yours truly) and thwarted the attempt to obtain a guardianship, Jaycox died and was cremated.    Carol Wyman was subjected to ELDER CLEANSING because her husband had the clout and could use guardianship to obtain control wherein a divorce would be against his best interests.

2.       Frauds associated with the CARE OF THE ELDERLY.   (It should be noted that several of the large health care providers have referred to the elderly as a commodity!)

a.       Outright criminal activity such as Medicare Fraud.      The key example is the Philip Esformes criminal trial – a billion dollars in Medicare money was stolen.     Trial is set for October 2018.       This case involved all the elements, to wit:

                                                               i.      Payment of money to public officials – in the Esformes case a government health care person assigned to make certain the nursing homes are run in a sanitary and proper contradiction was bribed – she pleaded guilty got five years in prison.

                                                             ii.      Kickbacks.     See Omnicare case, Larkin Hospital, etc.     This is standard practice and involves a portion of the fees derived from the victim are spread to those individuals – doctors, lawyers, hospital administrators, and other who delivered the victim to the criminal conspiracy.

b.       Hospice fraud.    The Seth Gillman plea of guilty illustrates this fraud.     No one does this encompass placing people in hospice who are not dying but extending the life of a dying person to collect as much money as possible.   With cremation available a dead victim can have administered thousands of dollars of medications and service by the simple entry on a chart.    Controlled doctors sign death certificates, and with Cook County, Dade County, et al so ripe with fraud and corrupt public officials ******

c.       Opioid and drug fraud.     A doped up human trafficking victim requires little care and is pure profit.    An average of $3000 a month pays for the care of a nursing home patient in the ELDER CLEANSING program, however the billing can be $12,000 to over $15,000 a month for the care.     No one knows the difference; the victim has a drug induced sleep.   It is much easier to administer a patient dead to the world.    As an example, Physical Therapy can be administered to sleeping patient by merely pushing his/her wheel chair out of the room and into the hall.    Insurance and the Government pay without question for not only the opioids, but the PT.

d.       General targeting:       After last year’s hurricane a LARKIN hospital related nursing home (also apparently related to Esformes had a problem – their air conditioning went out.     Removing the patients to another facility would cut off the Federal Health Care payments, so they made do with fans.     14 people died.    The issue was money over health care.

e.       Service fraud:      With the advent of breaking up the monopoly owned by large utilities the nursing home moguls have set up their own service companies such as electric, and gas.    The costs and profits now go into the “pot” and can be adjusted so as to justify the large month charges made from government health care programs.     It should be noted that the “facility” owned by the moguls usually do not employ many on staff people.   They employ services to furnish them nurses, doctors, techs etc.     The employment costs thus also can be manipulated.

3.       Cover-up of fraud

a.       Official cover up.     This occurs in guardianship cases when the criminal enterprise has one or more objectors.      Family members are motivated by Love of the victim, the anticipation of an inheritance, or just being good person.    These people ask questions.    For instance, a common question is:  Why does mother sleep so much of the time?     Another is what is wrong – mother is getting worse – not better!     These questions can be stalled only for so long.    In the Sykes case, the Gore case etc.    The cover-up usually takes the form of a stall.    When that does not work, it evolves into pure intimidation.      If the “loved one” (i.e. the person motivated to address the criminal enterprise) is too insistent personal threats are directed to the “loved one” The threat seizes on some real or imagined offense and the fraudsters threaten civil or criminal action against the “loved one.”     In the guardianship scenario the Judge is called into the matter.    The judge listens to all the evidence and then rules that the offending “love one” is doing serious harm to the designated victim by the inquiry – she is being agitated/      From that point on asking if mother can visit with x is agitation and results in a RULE TO SHOW CAUSE.     Again, the Judge sternly listens to all the evidence and rules that the family member (et al) has violated an order of court and contempt of court (and possibly jail) is on the docket.      It this does not work then:

                                                               i.      Disciplinary proceedings in the Courtroom.     a stern judge again listens to all the evidence and issues just enough penalty that intimidation sets in.      This process can be multiple hearings and can even result in jail.   The fact that there is no criminal conduct or even wrongful conduct is irrelevant.     The object is to silence the victim and her family.   The most officious strategy is to actually render a judgement against the loud mouth objector.     (in the case where the objector actually has some status – such as being appointed the actual guardian in the case – the judgment can be enforced by attaching the bond)

                                                             ii.      Referral of the matter to “law enforcement”, the Attorney Disciplinary Commission.     This is trickier because law enforcement employs too many honest people and too many people must be clued in and compensated.      Because of legitimate Court procedures the appeal process is impotent, and the justice system is even more impotent.   Nowhere is this more evident that in the JoAnne Denison disciplinary case.    JoAnne exposed every event cited supra in her blog tying it to Judges sitting in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.    When JoAnne would not “shut up” her cry for an HONEST INVESTIGATION was deemed to be ETHICALLLY CHALLENGED by the jurists who were openly and notoriously engaged in HUMAN TRAFFICKING of the elderly, she and (me too) were charged with DISCIPLINARY OFFENSES and suspension of law licenses was sought.      When after Denison ignored one threat after another to SHUT UP and continued a Petition for an interim suspension of her license was filed by the IARDC.    Mr. Larkin, the administrator argued that public was harmed by the exposure of Judicial corruption AND her exposure of judicial corruption was akin to YELLING FIRE IN A CROWDED theater.   She was suspended.

The case of Goodman out of Arizona is the most obnoxious that can be imagined.     Goodman informed me that he found serious fraud in several cases.      He attempted to address them in the Probate Court, but was thwarted.     He then filed Civil Rights suits.    The miscreants went after him hammer and tong.    The obtained Rule 11 (and Rule 11 like) sanctions against him and as well as suspension of his law license.   When he continued to fight – challenging the violation of his personal civil rights more sanctions were levied against him and they literally bankrupted him.      Janet Phelan had her entire inheritance stolen from her and lives in exile in Mexico.

This is the swamp that we are asking the President to drain!


From FB/PBS: US nursing homes are chronically understaffed and dangerous

Most nursing homes are not adequately staffed, new federal data says


ITHACA, N.Y. — Most nursing homes had fewer nurses and caretaking staff than they had reported to the government, according to new federal data, bolstering the long-held suspicions of many families that staffing levels were often inadequate.

The records for the first time reveal frequent and significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, with particularly large shortfalls on weekends. On the worst-staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.

The data, analyzed by Kaiser Health News, come from daily payroll records Medicare only recently began gathering and publishing from more than 14,000 nursing homes, as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Medicare previously had been rating each facility’s staffing levels based on the homes’ own unverified reports, making it possible to game the system.

The payroll records provide the strongest evidence that, over the past decade, the government’s five-star rating system for nursing homes often exaggerated staffing levels and rarely identified the periods of thin staffing that were common. Medicare is now relying on the new data to evaluate staffing, but the revamped star ratings still mask the erratic levels of people working from day to day.

At the Beechtree Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing here, Jay Vandemark, 47, who had a stroke last year, said he often roams the halls looking for an aide not already swamped with work when he needs help putting on his shirt.

Especially on weekends, he said, “it’s almost like a ghost town.”

Nearly 1.4 million people are cared for in skilled nursing facilities in the United States. When nursing homes are short-staffed, nurses and aides scramble to deliver meals, ferry bedbound residents to the bathroom and answer calls for pain medication. Essential medical tasks such as repositioning a patient to avert bedsores can be overlooked when workers are overburdened, sometimes leading to avoidable hospitalizations.

“Volatility means there are gaps in care,” said David Stevenson, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. “It’s not like the day-to-day life of nursing home residents and their needs vary substantially on a weekend and a weekday. They need to get dressed, to bathe and to eat every single day.”

Dr. David Gifford, a senior vice president at the American Health Care Association, a nursing home trade group, disagreed, saying there are legitimate reasons staffing varies. On weekends, for instance, there are fewer activities for residents and more family members around, he said.

“While staffing is important, what really matters is what the overall outcomes are,” he said.

While Medicare does not set a minimum resident-to-staff ratio, it does require the presence of a registered nurse for eight hours a day and a licensed nurse at all times.

The payroll records show that even facilities that Medicare rated positively for staffing levels on its Nursing Home Compare website, including Beechtree, were short nurses and aides on some days. On its best-staffed days, Beechtree had one aide for every eight residents, while on its lowest-staffed days the ratio was 1-to-18. Nursing levels also varied.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees nursing home inspections, said in a statement that it “is concerned and taking steps to address fluctuations in staffing levels” that have emerged from the new data. This month, it said it would lower ratings for nursing homes that had gone seven or more days without a registered nurse.

Beechtree’s payroll records showed similar staffing levels to those it had reported before. David Camerota, chief operating officer of Upstate Services Group, the for-profit chain that owns Beechtree, said in a statement that the facility has enough nurses and aides to properly care for its 120 residents. But, he said, like other nursing homes, Beechtree is in “a constant battle” to recruit and retain employees even as it has increased pay to be more competitive.

Camerota wrote that weekend staffing is a special challenge as employees are guaranteed every other weekend off. “This impacts our ability to have as many staff as we would really like to have,” he wrote.

New rating method is still flawed

In April, the government started using daily payroll reports to calculate average staffing ratings, replacing the old method, which relied on homes to report staffing for the two weeks before an inspection. The homes sometimes anticipated when an inspection would happen and could staff up before it.

The new records show that on at least one day during the last three months of 2017 — the most recent period for which data were available — a quarter of facilities reported no registered nurses at work.

Medicare discouraged comparison of staffing under the two methods and said no one should expect them to “exactly match.” The agency said the methods measure different time periods and have different criteria for how to record hours that nurses worked. The nursing home industry also objected, with Gifford saying it was like comparing Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures.

But several prominent researchers said the contrast was not only fair but also warranted, since Medicare is using the new data for the same purpose as the old: to rate nursing homes on its website. “It’s a worthwhile comparison,” said David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.

Of the more than 14,000 nursing homes submitting payroll records, 7 in 10 had lower staffing using the new method, with a 12 percent average decrease, the data show. And as numerous studies have found, homes with lower staffing tended to have more health code violations — another crucial measure of quality.

Even with more reliable data, Medicare’s five-star rating system still has shortcomings. Medicare still assigns stars by comparing a home to other facilities, essentially grading on a curve. As a result, many homes have kept their rating even though their payroll records showed lower staffing than before. Also, Medicare did not rate more than 1,000 facilities, either because of data anomalies or because they were too new to have a staffing history.

There is no consensus on optimal staffing levels. Medicare has rebuffed requests to set specific minimums, declaring in 2016 that it preferred that facilities “make thoughtful, informed staffing plans” based on the needs of residents.

Still, since 2014, health inspectors have cited 1 in 8 nursing homes for having too few nurses, federal records show.

With nurse assistants earning an average of $13.23 an hour in 2017, nursing homes compete for workers not only with better-paying employers like hospitals, but also with retailers. Understaffing leads predictably to higher turnover.

“They get burned out and they quit,” said Adam Chandler, whose mother lived at Beechtree until her death earlier this year. “It’s been constant turmoil, and it never ends.”

Medicare’s payroll records for the nursing homes showed that there were, on average, 11 percent fewer nurses providing direct care on weekends and 8 percent fewer aides. Staffing levels fluctuated substantially during the week as well, when an aide at a typical home might have to care for as few as nine residents or as many as 14.

A family council forms

Beechtree actually gets its best Medicare rating in the category of staffing, with four stars. (Its inspection citations and the frequency of declines in residents’ health dragged its overall star rating down to two of five.)

To Stan Hugo, a retired math teacher whose wife, Donna, 80, lives at Beechtree, staffing levels have long seemed inadequate. In 2017, he and a handful of other residents and family members became so dissatisfied that they formed a council to scrutinize the home’s operation. Medicare requires nursing home administrators to listen to such councils’ grievances and recommendations.

Sandy Ferreira, who makes health care decisions for Effie Hamilton, a blind resident, said Hamilton broke her arm falling out of bed and has been hospitalized for dehydration and septic shock.

“Almost every problem we’ve had on the floor is one that could have been alleviated with enough and well-trained staff,” Ferreira said.

Beechtree declined to discuss individual residents but said it had investigated these complaints and did not find inadequate staffing on those days. Camerota also said that Medicare does not count assistants it hires to handle the simplest duties like making beds.

In recent months, Camerota said, Beechtree “has made major strides in listening to and addressing concerns related to staffing at the facility.”

Hugo agreed that Beechtree has increased daytime staffing during the week under the prodding of his council. On nights and weekends, he said, it still remained too low.

His wife has Alzheimer’s, uses a wheelchair and no longer talks. She enjoys music, and Hugo placed earphones on her head so she could listen to her favorite singers as he spoon-fed her lunch in the dining room on a recent Sunday.

As he does each day he visits, he counted each nursing assistant he saw tending residents, took a photograph of the official staffing log in the lobby and compared it to what he had observed. While he fed his wife, he noted two aides for the 40 residents on the floor — half what Medicare says is average at Beechtree.

“Weekends are terrible,” he said. While he’s regularly there overseeing his wife’s care, he wondered: “What about all these other residents? They don’t have people who come in.”

From YouTube: John Oliver honestly discusses the Criminal Justice System

Youtube often sends related videos on many topics based upon what you have watched in the past.  Since I watch and review a ton of legal videos, this popped up in my feed from youtube.

The sad part is that I cannot tell you in all of this sad story what is false.

Leave a comment below if you disagree with John Oliver on any of these topics.

I have heard from a ton of criminal defendants, and I assure you the poor are the main targets of govt abuses: guardianship, child custody, the criminal “justice” system and many other courts where the mighty dollar reigns supreme.


Managing your Attorney: the Litigation Process

Managing your attorney: the litigation process.

Okay so you got sued. Maybe it was a slip and fall your property, maybe a dog bite or an auto accident. Whatever happened, even if it’s a crazy lawsuit, you got sued. People can get sued for the right reasons, the wrong reasons or even crazy reasons.

At periodic intervals, look at the online docket, or better yet, go down to court and check on the computer file. Print out anything you don’t understand or didn’t receive from your attorney and take it to your attorney. Get a second opinion if you still have questions. You might not be able to sue for malpractice if you knew your atty was screwing up and you did nothing about it. Do regular file checks, don’t trust your attorney.

1) did you get served, did you get served properly? Go to the court and look for first court date and make sure you or a family member over 14 residing in your house was properly served. If not, check about objecting to jurisdiction. If they served the cleaning lady, a nurse, someone not residing with you, first step is your attorney objecting to jurisdiction.

2) jurisdiction by posting. If the sheriff has attempted 2 or 3 times, the plaintiff can get an order for posting. By posting, there can be no money judgment, but there can be an order for eviction or against property.

3) if you were served, make sure your attorney filed an appearance promptly.

4) at the time the answer is due, your attorney should file a “motion to dismiss”. Failure to do so, is often malpractice. Check it out. Ask him/er why this was or was not done. Once the motion to dismiss is denied, the court will require your attorney to file a written answer to your complaint. Make sure they do it on time and you review it before it is filed. At that time, the court will set a “case management schedule” or “trial schedule”. Make sure your attorney gets every task done on time. Judges hate it when you miss deadlines. Miss enough deadlines and you might get sanctioned. Plaintiffs can have their suits tossed out (DWP’d or Dismissed without Prejudice) for missing multiple deadlines.

5) Next step is sending out written discovery to all crucial witnesses. As soon as the motion to dismiss is decided (may take 2 to 6 months or more), and you did not get a dismissal, it’s time to start discovery. Your attorney should serve written discovery consisting of interrogatories, requests for documents and requests to admit. Failure to serve any or all of these before discovery ends, may be malpractice. Give your attorney a list of crucial witnesses and documents and demand s/he serve discovery. Once written discovery is over, the attorney should depose all crucial witnesses.

6) If you think the plaintiff does not have a case after discovery is over, instruct your attorney to file a Judgment on Pleadings (this is where you take all the pleadings filed in the case and attach it to a motion explaining why you feel plaintiff still does not have a case). If that is denied, you can file a Summary Judgment Motion. If the Plaintiff has a weak case, it may be malpractice to fail to file one or both of these. Again after the MSJ or JOP is filed, it may take the court 2 to 6 months to render a decisions.

7) After fact witness discovery closes, the attorneys will tell the court if they will have expert witnesses. If you will be having experts, this part of the case will proceed very quickly right to trial, so get ready and have your witnesses in mind for the close of fact discovery. You will then declare your witnesses and provide discovery and a written expert report to the court. If their witness for whatever reason, seems weak and not helpful (e.g. a Realtor testifying to building construction, an engineer testifying to patent infringement, which is a legal opinion), your attorney should move to strike their BS witnesses. Make sure they file a motion right away.

Next, the experts will be deposed for trial. Make sure your attorney deposes their experts before trial and you check out their expert reports.

8) Trial. Look closely at the trial schedule. Your attorney generally has a ton of work to do for trial, making an exhibit list, a witness list, having exhibit binders (this can be done electronically, if the judge allows), preparing a trial brief where your attorney explains the facts of the case and any relevant case law.

Your attorney should give you a copy of the trial binder so you know what will happen at trial.

You will also get to make “opening statements” and your attorney should get these to you in advance.

At the close of the plaintiff’s case, your attorney can ask for a “directed verdict” meaning plaintiff didn’t show enough evidence to even get his/her case to the jury and no reasonable juror could find for plaintiff.

At the close of defendant’s case, the jury will come back with a verdict. Your attorney can then make a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, meaning no reasonable jury could have come to that conclusion.
Client rights:

You have the right to review and sign off on all pleadings prior to filing.

You have the right to request your attorney correct pleadings that are done wrong.

You have the right to fire your attorney at any time by just calling and/or emailing or texting your attorney instructions to file a Notice to Withdraw. In Illinois most judges will give you 21 days to get a new attorney.

Your attorney should not make any agreements with the otherside without informing you first. Many clients put this in their retainer agreement that any settlements of their case or substantive issues in their case must be in writing and signed by you.

Criminal trials: You have the right to a speedy trial (160 days in general if not in jail or prison, 120 days if incarcerated), you have the right to the attorney of your choice or no attorney. You have the right to fire your attorney. You have the right to see your entire file, whether it is in the clerk’s office, the state’s attorney’s office or with your attorney. However, an attorney can withhold your file if you bill has not been paid. Insist that your attorney scan in all documents and share them with you on gdrive so you have them all. Put it in the retainer agreement.

Attorneys are supposed to give clients of all documents they receive or send out on the client’s case within a few days. Insist on that. Put it in your retainer agreement. Insist all documents are kept on gdrive and shared with you.

From Netflix: All the Queen’s Horses: how to steal $53 million from the City of Dixon, Illinois

Great documentary on Netflix explains how one public official in Dixon, Illinois stole $53 million over 20 years.  The scary part it, she might have gotten away with it.

The accounts were audited by a top 10 accounting firm who settled for $35 million.

The bank involved, 5th/3rd got away with settling for only $4 million.

Of course, the attorney continued to bilk the Village of Dixon for $10 million in legal fees to recoup $40 million.

One day, while the embezzler was gone from her desk, someone asked a simple question about an accounting discrepancy.

That’s when the “secret account” of horse owner Rita was discovered when she transferred millions every year to her own custody and control for purchases like clothes, jewelry, horses (of course), spa trips, vacations, etc.

The scary part is that many smaller towns and villages across the US could fall into the same trap because there is no unified system in the US for municipal accounting that will catch missing taxpayer money.

Apparently, many auditors are asleep at the calculator or computer and the banks, it turns out, just don’t care about taxpayer money.

Recently I subpoenaed both the State of Illinois and the Cook County Treauurers for exactly how much court deposit money they take in each month, and how much they pay out, plus how much interest is made on those funds and where are they held.

All I got back is a bunch of meaningless gibberish.

Anyone else have the same problem.  Is there a Dixon problem in Cook County?

I guess i Have to send in some FOIAs.


From KKD: Chicago Trib: more info on corrupt Dorothy Brown under investigation

How long will this investigation take?  Now she says she is running for Mayor.  That’s insane and she basically challenges the FBI to “do something” about this at ever turn.

In the meantime, it cost fifty to 25 cents a page to get court records and you can only do it at the courthouse IF the printers are working and the employees “allow you” to get your file.

Pacer has been in operation since 2000 and costs 8 cents a page and it’s available to the public on the internet, as it should be.

FBI: Ex-employee alleges Dorothy Brown picked up cash payoffs at bagman’s home

A federal judge has ruled that the FBI had probable cause to search the cellphone of a longtime top aide to Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown as part of a sweeping probe into pay-to-play allegations of corruption in Brown’s office.

In denying a motion to quash information seized from former associate clerk Beena Patel’s phone, U.S. District Judge Sarah Ellis revealed new details from a sealed 2015 FBI search warrant application, including allegations from a former employee that Brown personally picked up cash payoffs from employees at the home of her alleged “bagman.”


The former employee — identified only as Individual A — told agents that Brown was personally involved in the hiring of all 2,300 employees in the office and that Individual A resigned after learning that she was “expected to make monetary contributions” to Brown as part of her employment, Ellis wrote.

The same former employee also said in an FBI interview that employees who received promotions “either contributed money to (Brown’s) campaigns or were otherwise close to the Clerk,” and that “it was common knowledge” that Patel had paid for Brown’s vacation to India.

Those allegations, although vague, were “consistent with the alleged culture of improper benefits” in the office and gave the FBI probable cause to seize and search Patel’s phone, Ellis said in the 12-page ruling posted Tuesday.

Patel, a former associate clerk who at one point supervised close to 500 office employees, has pleaded not guilty to charges she lied on two separate occasions to a federal grand jury investigating corruption in Brown’s office.

Brown, who earlier this year launched a long-shot bid for mayor, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has not been charged despite an investigation that has been underway for nearly five years.

READ MORE: Dorothy Brown brushes aside federal probe, announces run for Chicago mayor »

Brown’s criminal-defense attorney, Vadim Glozman, told the Tribune on Wednesday that Brown has been a loyal public servant for nearly two decades and that much of the information that’s come out about the ongoing corruption probe has been “sensationalized.”

“You have to take what these witnesses said (to the FBI) with a grain of salt,” Glozman said. He said he has not seen the 38-page FBI search warrant affidavit because it remains under seal.

Brown won a fifth term as clerk in 2016 even though the Cook County Democratic Party had dropped its endorsement of her after the federal investigation was disclosed.

She entered the crowded mayoral race in April, saying she wanted to create a “transformative, transparent and inclusive government.”

Asked then about the ongoing investigation into her office, Brown said of law enforcement: “Anytime someone comes and has a complaint, it’s their duty to look into it, whether it’s true or false — as these are false.”

A spokeswoman for Brown’s mayoral campaign had no comment Wednesday on Ellis’ ruling but in an email statement said Brown “urges the U.S. Attorney to charge the people with perjury who told the lies that started the entire investigation.”

Long known as a haven for patronage jobs, Brown’s office is the official record-keeper for the county court system and has an annual operating budget of more than $100 million.

READ MORE: ‘Going rate’ to buy a job in Dorothy Brown’s office? $10,000, employee tells feds »

The allegations of pay-to-play have focused on the large contingency of clerk’s office employees descended from India. The Tribune has reported that Brown first came under investigation after the sale of a North Lawndale building owned by Patel’s brother, Narendra, a west suburban businessman and longtime campaign donor to Brown who is now deceased.

In a filing earlier this year, federal prosecutors revealed that one former clerk’s office employee told investigators that the “going rate” to buy a job was $10,000, to be paid to Brown’s personal bagman.

Financial records appeared to back up the claims, including transactions showing the alleged bagman — identified as Employee One — paid $40,000 directly to Brown and a company she controlled, according to prosecutors. The clerk later deposited $30,000 of those funds into her campaign war chest, prosecutors alleged.

So far, the investigation has yielded only one conviction. In 2016, Sivasubramani Rajaram, a former clerk’s office employee, pleaded guilty to falsely testifying to the grand jury that he had not talked with Brown after his 2014 hiring.

Prosecutors alleged that to secure the job, Rajaram had paid a $15,000 bribe to Brown disguised as a loan to Goat Masters Corp., a goat meat supply company that Brown and her husband had recently founded.

Rajaram was sentenced last year to probation.

Twitter @jmetr22b


Federally appointed monitor to follow Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s hiring practices »

Prosecutors allege Dorothy Brown took $15K bribe, but her lawyer calls it loan »

Ex-top aide to Dorothy Brown indicted on charges she lied to grand jury »

From SB/VR: Ten tips on writing appellate briefs in Illinois

Appellate Practice

Ten Tips to Improve Your Case on Appeal

A reviewing court can be an intimidating place, especially for the occasional appellate practitioner. Here are ten practical tips to put you at ease and strengthen your case.

Illinois is home to not only a talented group of reviewing-court judges, but also some procedural quirks that may be unfamiliar to the occasional appellate practitioner. With that in mind, here are 10 practical tips on various issues – some critical and some subtle – to improve one’s chances in an Illinois reviewing court prior to the oral-argument stage.

1. Standard of review is the key

The success of many, if not most, appeals rises and falls on the standard of review. Yet many practitioners fail to adequately develop an argument for the standard that best serves their appeal, while others entirely fail to identify an appropriate standard.

Identifying the appropriate standard of review should be a practitioner’s first task, and it should be considered before the notice of appeal is even filed. Most reversals occur on questions of law that are reviewed de novo, meaning no deference is given to the trial court’s ruling.

A prospective appellant who cannot persuasively argue that de novo review is appropriate might want to reconsider the appeal. Other standards of review, such as “clearly erroneous,” “abuse of discretion,” or “contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence” are more difficult for an appellant because they trigger deference to the trial judge. Trial judges are rarely found to have abused their discretion, and findings of fact are seldom contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

Conversely, an appellee should always push hard for a standard of review that defers to a trial judge’s ruling. This is especially true when the trial judge makes credibility determinations or other factual findings that are not typically overturned.

Finally, remember that an appeal with multiple issues might involve multiple standards of review. Thus, if a favorable standard of review cannot be established for the case as a whole, consider whether a favorable standard applies for particular issues.

Similar concerns apply to petitions for leave to appeal (PLAs) filed with the Illinois Supreme Court. Of the thousands of PLAs filed every year, the ones most commonly accepted involve de novo review. Specifically, the Illinois Supreme Court is primarily interested in issues of great legal importance, cases involving a conflict between appellate panels, cases requiring exercise of the court’s supervisory authority, and cases of a unique nature.1 PLAs raising challenges to credibility determinations, discretionary rulings, or factual findings are often denied.

Thus, a divorce litigant who files a PLA contending that the trial judge abused her discretion in setting spousal maintenance might be wasting time and money, as might the criminal defendant who contends that the trial judge erroneously believed the victim’s testimony. Such cases are rarely accepted.

2. Improve your appendix

An appellant’s brief must include, as an appendix, a copy of the order under review, an index to the record on appeal, any materials that form the basis for the underlying ruling, and other items enumerated by rule.2 Many appellants fail to satisfy this requirement, possibly because they don’t grasp its practical purpose.

If an appeal involves an important document (such as a contract, will, lease, or insurance policy), it should be appended to the brief because the record on appeal is sent only to the authoring justice’s chambers. Unless another justice specifically asks to see it, it might stay there until after the ruling is issued.

For example, in the first district, it’s unlikely the record on appeal will be shuffled up and down the hallway so that each member of the three-justice panel can examine it. In the other appellate districts, where justices’ offices could be hundreds of miles apart, three-judge review of the full record is even less likely. In a case before the seven-member Illinois Supreme Court, that bulky record containing the smoking gun document is probably not going to be shipped from Chicago to southern Illinois and all points in between.

The Illinois reviewing courts are moving toward an electronic record transfer system, but that program has not been fully implemented. Accordingly, include critical items in the appendix. Be careful, though – if a document is not part of the official record, attaching it to a brief is improper.3

Regardless, attaching a key document to an appellate brief gives the reviewing court immediate access during oral argument, which cannot be said for an electronic copy. Good appellate lawyers must ensure that important documents are in the record on appeal and the appendix.

3. Untimely notice of appeal? There’s still hope

Generally, a notice of appeal under Rule 303 must be filed “with the clerk of the circuit court within 30 days after the entry of the final judgment appealed from.”4 Too often, practitioners file their notice late, either unwittingly or perhaps hoping neither the court nor the appellee will notice.

Make no mistake, an untimely notice of appeal is almost always discovered. The court might discover it immediately and dismiss an appeal on its own motion, or it might find out only after the attorneys have spent countless hours (and clients’ dollars) briefing and arguing the appeal.

But tardiness is not always fatal. Even a litigant who fails to exercise the absolute right to file a Rule 303(a) appeal within 30 days may request leave to file a late notice of appeal.5 Such motions must present a reasonable excuse and be filed within 30 days of the original deadline (i.e., 60 days from the original ruling). Analogous provisions exist for criminal appeals, which the state used in its appeal in the Drew Peterson case.6

The rules likewise provide a procedure to file untimely PLAs in the Illinois Supreme Court.7 Thus, an attorney representing an appellee may be wise to avoid filing a motion to dismiss an untimely appeal until 60 days have passed since the appealable ruling, because doing so alerts the appellant to the problem while a cure remains possible.

4. Consider a stay or expedited appeal

Many litigants incorrectly conclude that filing an appeal is all it takes to preserve their rights on appeal. Unfortunately, they often ignore the importance of seeking a stay in the trial court, the appellate court, or both. The failure to seek a stay may result in a case being rendered moot, or perhaps in a pyrrhic victory with no chance of substantive relief.

One example is In re Tekela,8 which involved a mother whose parental rights were terminated. She filed a notice of appeal but did not seek a stay, thereby permitting her children to be adopted during the pendency of the appeal.

Eventually, the first district entered an order reversing the termination. Shortly thereafter, however, the appellate court learned for the first time that the children had already been adopted and living with a new family for roughly a year and a half.

On further appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court held that since Illinois law requires any attack on an adoption to be made within a year, and because the mother did not seek a stay of the termination order, the mother’s appeal was rendered moot. The court also noted that the mother could have, but did not, request that the case be placed on an accelerated docket9 and be given an expedited briefing schedule.10

Subsequent changes to the Supreme Court Rules addressed several of the issues in Tekela, but the changes generally pertain only to children and parental rights. Appellants in other cases should still consider whether a request for a stay or expedited review is necessary.

Practitioners should be aware of some twists on this topic in the context of interlocutory appeals. For example, discretionary interlocutory appeals taken under Rule 306 impose an automatic stay of trial court proceedings.11In other contexts, an interlocutory appeal generally does not divest a trial court of all jurisdiction or serve as a stay, but it does restrain the trial court from entering orders that change or modify the order under appeal.12Finally, if a stay is not possible or practical, consider requesting an expedited briefing schedule or an accelerated docket.13

5. No court reporter? No problem (maybe)

The appellant bears the burden of presenting the appellate court with a sufficient record for review, and the absence of an adequate record severely undermines the appellant’s case.14 Accordingly, an attorney who conducts an important hearing without a court reporter commits a serious mistake.

Nonetheless, if the parties can agree and stipulate as to what was said in open court, they can file an agreed statement of facts.15 If they’re unable to do that, a litigant may file a “bystander’s report.”16 This requires a person who was present to accurately memorialize the testimony. This person may be, for example, a party or the witness.

The bystander’s report must be served on all parties within 28 days after the notice of appeal is filed. Additional deadline requirements exist for proposed amendments to the report, and eventually it must be presented to the trial judge who heard the case.

The trial judge will then resolve any disagreements over whether the bystander’s report accurately memorializes the testimony, and then certify the bystander’s report so that the appellate court can consider it. While this is an imperfect and difficult process that has a higher risk of error than a verbatim transcript, it is better than presenting the reviewing court with no record of proceedings.

6. Understand that a brief is a critical opportunity

In some appellate districts, draft rulings are prepared by the justice or her law clerks and provided to the panel in advance of oral argument. In others, a clerk prepares a “bench memo” in advance of oral argument that sometimes resembles a ruling except instead of saying something like “the court finds…,” it says “the court should find.…” Assuming the memo is adopted by the authoring justice and other panel members, it is converted into a formal opinion. Of course, if the authoring justice or panel is not comfortable with the contents of the draft opinion or bench memo, it will be modified before being issued as a final opinion. The Illinois Supreme Court follows a different procedure, and practices may vary from one reviewing-court judge to another.

The existence of these documents (whether in the form of a draft opinion or a bench memo) underscores the importance of the parties’ written briefs. These documents are prepared by the justices’ law clerks prior to oral argument, justices give fair consideration to their clerks’ analyses, and these documents are the foundation for a final opinion. That said, I do not suggest that oral argument is unimportant or secondary; in fact, some judges place great emphasis on oral argument, and sometimes draft rulings are changed significantly in reaction to it.

Nonetheless, an appellate brief is the first and best opportunity to make your case. If you have a critical point to make, don’t save it for oral argument. Indeed, many cases are not orally argued. A party must request it, and the requests are not always granted.

Finally, appellants should take full advantage of their reply brief. Reply briefs are an opportunity to attack the appellee’s arguments and obtain the last word. They should not be used to merely regurgitate points already made.

7. Frame the issues and tell a story…accurately

During his confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts said, “I think all good judges focus a lot on the facts. We talk about the law, and that’s a great interest for all of us. But I think most cases turn on the facts, so you do have to know those. You have to know the record.”

The Chief Justice raises a good point. Suppose you’re representing an appellant in a negligence case. The court doesn’t need a primer on the elements of negligence, so don’t spend much time setting forth these elements. Instead, focus on why the facts of your case involve a duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Keep in mind four important caveats when crafting a statement of facts, however.

Avoid being argumentative. This is not to say you should not frame and present your facts in the best possible light. Nonetheless, providing a fair and objective recitation of facts is generally more effective than giving an editorial.

Carefully avoid misstating facts or presenting them in a misleading way. Few things are more damaging to your case than misleading the court. These first two caveats are not just practice pointers; they are requirements. Supreme Court Rule 341(h)(6) expressly requires a statement of facts “necessary to an understanding of the case, stated accurately and fairly and without argument or comment….”

Be concise and limit the “story” to relevant and dispositive facts. Don’t spend time making a statement of facts lengthy. Focus on making it effective.

Remember the standard of review. For example, if the trial judge found that the appellee’s testimony was not credible, an appellant should highlight that because credibility determinations receive considerable deference. In contrast, if the case involves de novo review of a contract dispute, any favorable language in the agreement should be highlighted, and the trial judge’s analysis is less important.

8. Remember, formatting rules exist for a reason

The amount of paper that flows across the desk of an Illinois Supreme Court Justice is extraordinary. For that reason, Supreme Court Rule 341 sets forth the physical requirements for appellate briefs, including the page limitations and other rules regarding margins, spacing, and the like.17 Attorneys must sign a certificate of compliance confirming that the submitted brief follows these requirements.18

Attorneys sometimes attempt to surreptitiously skirt these rules with subtle deviations, such as typeface that is 11.5-point rather than required 12-point, or by using margins that are .9 inches instead of 1 inch. However, such efforts are often identified by the clerk’s office, which will likely refuse to accept the brief in that condition. A lawyer who waits until the last day to file a brief only to have it rejected by the clerk may face an embarrassing conversation with a client. Note, too, that noncompliance with Rule 341 may lead to sanctions.19

One other point to consider on this issue, this one being from the court’s perspective: attorneys who are willing to slyly disregard or disobey formatting rules may be perceived as likely to misstate the facts or law or otherwise mislead the court. Don’t jeopardize credibility by failing to comply with Rule 341, especially because that rarely strengthens the brief. Indeed, most practitioners do not need 70 pages to present an effective argument, and those with truly complex appeals may file a motion to exceed the page limitation.

9. Cite the best authorities available

Attorneys asking a court to do something should always aid the court by providing an authoritative basis for the request. Citing the best authorities available seems like a common-sense approach, but lawyers in both the trial and reviewing courts often make one of six mistakes in citing authority. Here’s how to avoid them.

Cite authority. Written arguments sometimes lack citation to any authority whatsoever, which violates Supreme Court Rule 341(h)(7). Note, too, that Rule 341(h)(7) dictates that case citations be provided with a certain level of competency because “a reviewing court is entitled to have the issues clearly defined with pertinent authority cited and is not simply a depository in which the appealing party may dump the burden of argument and research.”20

Cite cases that are relevant. Lawyers sometimes cite cases that do not support their position, that support their adversary’s position, or that have nothing to do with the case.

Avoid string cites when they are unnecessary. If an adversary argues that no court has ever awarded the relief you seek, citing a case from each appellate district is an effective way to overcome that argument. However, citing five cases for a basic proposition of law is an effective way to annoy the court.

Make sure the cited cases are good law. That involves more than just determining whether the case has been directly overturned. For example, many practitioners do not know that appellate court cases prior to 1935 are not binding precedent.21

Look for controlling precedent. Make every effort to cite to either the Illinois Supreme Court or, less preferably, the appellate district in which you are litigating. While it usually makes little difference, the reality is that “one district of the appellate court is not always bound to follow the decisions of other districts.”22

Succinctly explain the rationale. Lawyers sometimes cite a case without expressing a clear reason or rationale for the citation, or conversely, they spend an entire paragraph analyzing a case when less discussion will suffice. Consider whether a one-sentence parenthetical following a case citation would be sufficient or helpful.

10. Choose your battles wisely

One of the most important things a practitioner can do in the appellate court is to carefully choose the issues to appeal and how to best frame them. A lawyer on the losing end of a ruling might think that the trial judge committed a litany of errors and, occasionally, that happens. Seeking to convince the appellate court that every one of the trial judge’s rulings was erroneous is a good recipe for failure, because it’s likely that few, if any, constitute reversible error.

Worse yet, bogging down a reviewing court in unpersuasive minutiae will cause attorneys to expend significant “persuasion capital” and credibility better used on more critical issues. Therefore, instead of fixating on a dozen rulings the trial court got wrong, focus on the three or four most critical, most prejudicial, and most likely to warrant reversal.

Choosing one’s battles, however, requires caution. Points not argued on appeal,23 raised for the first time on appeal,24 or raised for the first time in a reply brief25 are generally waived or forfeited. Further, prudent attorneys will follow Rule 303(b)(2) by clearly specifying the judgment or order being appealed26 and will recognize that the Illinois Supreme Court routinely deems arguments as waived if they were not identified in the appellant’s PLA.27

Litigating in a reviewing court can be daunting for many attorneys, especially those who seldom do it. Ideally, these 10 tips will give the occasional appellate practitioners a higher level of comfort and understanding of the reviewing process and increase the effectiveness of their arguments.

Hon. John C. Anderson is a circuit judge in Twelfth Judicial District (Will County). He is a member of Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee and a former law clerk to Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride.

  1. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315(a) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).
  2. Ill. S. Ct. R. 342(a) (eff. Jan. 1, 2005).
  3. Seee.g.Harshman v. DePhillips218 Ill.2d 482, 503, 844 N.E.2d 941, 945-46 (2006).
  4. Ill. S. Ct. R. 303(a) (eff. June 4, 2008).
  5. Ill. S. Ct. R. 303(d) (civil cases) (eff. June 4, 2008).
  6. Ill. S. Ct. R. 606(c) (eff. Mar. 20, 2009).
  7. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315(b) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).
  8. In re Tekela202 Ill. 2d 282780 N.E.2d 304 (2002).
  9. Ill. S. Ct. R. 311 (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).
  10. Ill. S. Ct. R. 343(c) (eff. July 1, 2008).
  11. Ill. S. Ct. Rs. 306(a)(1) through (9) and 306(c)(5) (eff. Feb. 16, 2011).
  12. See Witters v. Hicks338 Ill.App.3d 751, 755-56, 790 N.E.2d 5, 10 (2003).
  13. Ill. S. Ct. Rs. 311(b) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010) and 343(c) (eff. July 1, 2008).
  14. People v. Hunt234 Ill.2d 49, 58, 914 N.E.2d 477, 481 (2009).
  15. Ill. S. Ct. R. 323(d) (eff. Dec. 13, 2005).
  16. Ill. S. Ct. R. 323(c) (eff. Dec. 13, 2005).
  17. Ill. S. Ct. R. 341 (eff. July 1, 2008).
  18. Ill. S. Ct. R. 341(c) (eff. July 1, 2008).
  19. Ill. S. Ct. R. 375 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994).
  20. In re Marriage of Baumgartner237 Ill.2d 468, 474, 930 N.E.2d 1024, 1027 (2010).
  21. Bryson v. News America Publications, Inc., 174 Ill.2d 77, 95, 672 N.E.2d 1207, 1217 (1996).
  22. In re May 1991 Will County Grand Jury152 Ill.2d 381, 398, 604 N.E.2d 929, 938 (1992).
  23. Ill. S. Ct. R. 341(h)(7) (eff. July 1, 2008).
  24. Parks v. Kownacki193 Ill.2d 164, 180, 737 N.E.2d 287, 296 (2000).
  25. Salerno v. Innovative Surveillance Technology, Inc., 402 Ill.App.3d 490, 502, 932 N.E.2d 101, 113 (2010).
  26. Ill. S. Ct. R. 303(b)(2) (eff. June 4, 2008).
  27. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315(c)(3) (eff. Feb. 26, 1010); see also People v. McDonough239 Ill. 2d 260, 276, 940 N.E.2d 1100, 1111 (2010).

From wish list to clean up DCFS/CPS

If you get a chance, please sign this poor woman’s petition for justice:

and look at her wish list to clean up DCFS/CPS:

a.) There needs to be more state workers to take over extra cases so that the children and families cases don’t go longer than they need to and to make sure notes, documents, etc. are all correct and appropriate.

b.) Laws need to be uniform throughout the nation. When interstate cases happen this makes it a harder and the cases take much longer since it is more complex.

c.) Children shouldn’t be taken away until there is a true evidence in a case to make that case true unless there is evidence that is apparent right away for the safety of the children, but the parents still should have a fair trial.

d.) Parents should be told their rights. Many times this doesn’t happen and most people don’t know until its too late and parents are stripped of their rights.

e.) There should be more than one person (judge) involved in these cases. Why should one person determine what happens to these families and children? There should be people that are maybe experienced in foster care etc. taking over these cases to help determine what needs to be done.

f.) Grandparents and blood relatives (aunts, uncles, etc.)should have rights to their families children. Some families are small and they need to take that into consideration. KEEP THESE CHILDREN WITH THEIR FAMILIES IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!

g.) If one parent is being investigated for abuse, neglect, etc. the children should go to the parent that is not involved in doing so until the courts deem that the case is untrue. Some parents are falsely accused but in some cases this is true! Why should the children continue to live with a possible abusive/neglectful parent?

h.) Cases that were falsely accused should be closed or cases where a parent/parents/family are falsely accused to be taken off record because in some cases it interferes with a parent or both parents getting a job. There is a statue of limitations that makes it hard for people to fight to get their cases off their file. How is a parent supposed to provide for their children in these cases?

i.) Schools , daycares, etc. should be more educated on how to deal with foster children and know more when to report possible abuse.

j.) Free parenting laws nationwide to allow parents to raise their children the way they see fit to an extent. Children will grow up to be more independent.

k.) Foster parents should be thoroughly checked and have a psychological evaluation. There are too many foster parents that abuse foster children both physically, sexually, and emotionally.

l.) Agencies should have computerized notes to make it possibly easier for the caseworkers and so they hopefully make more accurate notes and notes, documents won’t get lost as easily.

m.) Parents/relatives should be retried if the cases against them were false or information was misconstrued.

****We need to change this system in order for these children and families to have unnecessary emotional trauma and PTSD that takes years or therapy to overcome!****



Ashley Szekeres

From WH: How to sue DCFS for lying and removing children wrongfully

How to Sue Child Protective Services

Each state has its own Child Protective Services (CPS) agency that is responsible for protecting the health and welfare of children. CPS investigations can be traumatic and stressful for both parents and children. However, emotional distress alone does not give you the right to sue CPS. Since CPS social workers are government agents, they cannot act in ways that violate your established civil rights. An overzealous CPS worker may violate your constitutional right to due process, or your protection from unreasonable search and seizure. When that happens, you may be able to sue for monetary damages.[1]


EditBuilding Your Case

  1. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 1

    Create a chronological outline of events. Beginning with your first encounter with CPS, draft an account of each encounter or communication you’ve had with CPS social workers and other staff members.[2]

    • Write down the names, job titles, and direct contact information of every individual at CPS who contacted you or communicated with you in any way.
    • You also want outlines of any other activities that have anything to do with your children or the reasons CPS became involved with your children.
  2. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 2

    Gather any related documents and other evidence. You should already have been documenting every interaction you had with CPS. All of these records are now evidence you can use in your lawsuit.[3]

    • If you had written documents that you can no longer locate, make a note of them. CPS should have copies as well, and you can request them later.
    • You also want to gather any documents that have anything to do with the care of your children. For example, if you’re home schooling your children, gather school schedules, assignments, and curricula and make copies.
  3. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 3

    Consult an attorney. Civil rights lawsuits in federal court are notoriously complicated. If you’ve decided to sue CPS for violating your constitutional rights, you need an experienced civil rights attorney to represent you.[4]

    • Civil rights attorneys typically offer a free initial consultation, so you can use this opportunity to speak to several attorneys. That can help you choose the best attorney for your case.
    • These lawsuits can drag on for a long time. Pick an attorney who is passionate about your case and who you get along with – you’ll be spending a lot of time with them, and discussing some potentially sensitive issues.
    • If you have been brought up on criminal charges of child abuse or neglect, you may already have a criminal defense lawyer. Ask them for a referral to a civil rights attorney who can help you sue CPS.
  4. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 4

    Identify an established right. The first hurdle you’ll face is pointing to a specific, established constitutional right that CPS violated while working with you and your children. This is a legal argument. Your attorney will review your documents and notes to determine which of your civil rights have been violated in your situation.[5]

    • This is part of the reason documenting all of your interactions with CPS is so important. Something that seems unfair to you may not necessarily rise to the level of a constitutional violation. However, something you thought insignificant might actually be a big deal.
  5. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 5

    Calculate your damages. You may have heard of parents who sued CPS for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. However, the amount of money must be directly related to the violation of your rights.[6]

    • Your attorney will start with actual damages, if you have any. For example, if you and your spouse have been seeing a counselor as a result of the trauma you experienced from dealing with CPS, that expense may be considered actual damages.
    • Additional damages, known as punitive damages, may be available to you if the actions of the CPS social workers involved in your case were particularly egregious.


EditInitiating Your Lawsuit

  1. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 6

    File a complaint. Typically, complaints are not extremely detailed. However, a complaint in federal court that alleges violations of civil rights requires more information than the typical complaint. If the violations aren’t explained correctly, the lawsuit may be thrown out. This is why you need an experienced civil rights attorney.[7]

    • You don’t have to prove anything or submit any evidence when you file your complaint. At this point, you’re merely making allegations.
    • Your attorney will file your complaint in the federal district court that has jurisdiction over the county where the CPS agency is located. You may have to pay the $400 filing fee, or your attorney may pay it and add the amount to the costs of your lawsuit.
  2. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 7

    Have CPS served with the complaint. Once your complaint is filed, CPS must be notified of the lawsuit so that it has the opportunity to respond. Your attorney typically will have the complaint served on the attorneys of record for CPS.[8]
  3. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 8

    Evaluate the response from CPS. When CPS is served with your complaint, the agency has a limited period of time to file an answer with the court. A copy of that written answer will be delivered to your attorney.[9]

    • Your attorney will go over the response with you. Typically, the answer will deny all of the allegations and raise the defense of qualified immunity.
    • The response from CPS may include a motion for summary judgment. Similar to a motion to dismiss, this motion argues you have failed to state a claim for which the court can provide any legal or monetary relief.
  4. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 9

    Attend the summary judgment hearing. When you sue CPS, the agency will likely raise the defense of qualified immunity. While technically a defense, if the court grants the agency (and its social workers) qualified immunity, you won’t be able to sue the agency at all.[10]

    • When CPS argues it is entitled to qualified immunity, the judge must hold a hearing to decide this question before you can move forward with the lawsuit. Until this matter is decided, you won’t be able to do any further work or information gathering on your lawsuit.
    • Your attorney and the attorneys for CPS will submit lengthy briefs to the court arguing both sides of the issue. The judge may decide the question after reading these briefs, or they may have a hearing in court.
    • If the judge denies CPS qualified immunity, you still may not be able to move forward to the next stage of litigation. CPS has the right to appeal that decision and argue to an appellate court that the agency is entitled to qualified immunity.


EditGoing to Trial

  1. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 10

    Send written questions and requests to CPS. Provided the judge rules that CPS is not entitled to qualified immunity, you will proceed to the discovery phase. You will work with your attorney to create written questions and requests for documents, which must be answered by CPS.[11]

    • You will request CPS’s entire case file related to your family, as well as any internal documents, including emails, that are related to the investigation of your family.
    • The documents and answers to questions may reveal additional problems or violations that you didn’t know about before.
  2. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 11

    Depose the social workers involved. A deposition is an interview under oath. Since so much of your case relies on the subjective beliefs and interpretations of the social workers involved, these depositions will be crucial.[12]

    • You may or may not need to attend the deposition. Your attorney may want you there, or they may decide that it’s better if you’re not there.
    • Regardless of whether you attend, your attorney will go over the deposition with you afterward and explain how it affects your case.
  3. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 12

    Prepare for your own deposition. The attorneys for CPS will likely want to depose you as well. Your attorney will meet with you at least once to go over likely questions you’ll be asked and explain to you how to respond to deposition questions.[13]

    • Generally, you want to answer the questions directly and honestly, but refrain from rambling or further conversation. For example, if you are asked a yes/no question, your answer would be “yes” or “no,” without elaboration.
  4. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 13

    Answer questions from CPS. Just as you sent written questions to CPS, the agency will likely send written questions for you to answer as well. Your attorney will draft the specific answers after consultation with you.[14]

    • Your attorney may object to some of the questions. If they do, they’ll explain to you why you don’t have to answer those questions.
    • Even though these questions are in writing, they are still considered to be under oath. Answer each question as honestly and accurately as you can. If you don’t remember something, don’t guess.
  5. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 14

    Participate in pre-trial hearings. Judges typically schedule numerous hearings to make sure the litigation is on track and progressing on schedule. You won’t have to attend many of these hearings or meetings personally. Your attorney will update you on what happened.[15]
  6. Image titled Sue Child Protective Services Step 15

    Evaluate any settlement offers. Lawsuits in federal court seldom make it to trial. Discovery can drag on for months, and most litigants prefer settling the case to avoid the uncertainty of trial. The judge may encourage settlement talks or preside over a settlement conference.[16]

    • Any settlement offers from CPS will be communicated to your attorney. Your attorney will present the offer to you and offer their advice. Regardless of what your attorney recommends, the decision of whether to accept or reject the settlement is solely your own.