NJ State pays $250K to settle lawsuit
Headline Legal News | 2008/03/06 03:14

The state quietly agreed to settle a little-known lawsuit that claimed Public Defender Yvonne Segars improperly fired a deputy for political reasons, three weeks before Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced plans to nominate Segars to be a Superior Court judge.

The state has agreed to pay $250,000 to former deputy public defender Christine Leone-Zwillinger, who was a supervisor in a unit that represented children who were abused and neglected, until Segars became public defender under Gov. James E. McGreevey in September 2002.

Within a month, Leone-Zwillinger, 57, of Cherry Hill, who had run for Camden County sheriff as a Republican in 1997, was fired by Segars, even though her position did not involve policy-making or require her to be of the same party as the governor, the 2004 federal suit claims.

"Upon information and belief, defendant Segars made the decision to terminate plaintiff at the request of defendant McGreevey, or those acting on his behalf, on account of plaintiff's affiliation with the Republican party and to do a "political favor' for the governor in order to make room for John (Doran), Esq., who is a Democrat," the suit says.

The suit also claims Leone-Zwillinger got an "exceptional" rating — 28 of 30 points — on her last performance review and that Doran's qualifications were "vastly inferior."

In April 2007, U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson dismissed McGreevey and the Office of Public Defender from the suit, leaving Segars as the sole defendant. Court records indicate the case was settled Feb. 1 — 20 days before Corzine filed a notice of intent to nominate Segars, 52, of Ridgewood, for the Superior Court in Bergen County.

Both Segars and Doran declined comment through a spokesman, who referred all questions to Corzine's office, which citing confidentiality reasons refused to say whether Segars disclosed the matter on her nomination questionnaire or whether she was deemed qualified by a panel of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

The chairman of that review panel, Ralph J. Lamparello, said the committee cannot discuss its confidential reviews of potential judges and prosecutors. Even members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which must approve appointments, don't learn whether a candidate is deemed qualified unless the bar association chooses to testify against a candidate a governor nominated despite being deemed unfit by the bar association.

Corzine spokesman Jim Gardner said the administration was aware of the lawsuit but unconcerned about it.

"The office is well aware of this legal matter because it is a matter of public record and is being handled by (the Department of) Law and Public Safety," Gardner said.

Asked why the state would settle the suit as it neared trial after more than three years in litigation, David Wald, a spokesman for the Department of Law and Public Safety, said "We thought this was a fair and reasonable settlement."

Chris Farella, the state-paid private lawyer retained to represent Segars, did not return calls for comment. The state has paid his firm $31,301 to defend the suit in 2005 and 2006. The Office of the Attorney General could not provide cost figures for 2004 and for 2007 through the present.

Richard M. Schall, Leone-Zwillinger's lawyer, declined comment until the settlement is signed, which he expected to happen in a week.



Legislators get bar's ear on lawyer discipline
Headline Legal News | 2008/03/06 03:07

Two House members pressing to take the power to regulate lawyers away from the State Supreme Court have won a meeting with an American Bar Association committee visiting Columbia.

The committee is in town reviewing the state’s lawyer discipline system. Chief Justice Jean Toal requested the review more than a year ago, long before the questions were raised about the court’s handling of a bar exam controversy.

The lawmakers, Reps. Kris Crawford, R-Florence, and Ted Pitts, R-Lexington, will meet with the ABA committee Friday.

The inner workings of the state judiciary have gotten statewide attention since November. At that time, news reports disclosed the Supreme Court had quietly thrown out a section of last July’s bar exam, a move that reversed the grades of 20 people who flunked the exam.

Those 20, now lawyers, included children of prominent state officials and law clerks to state judges.

The Supreme Court, the final authority in the matter, said the grade changes were made because of scoring errors. It has declined requests from The State for detailed information on its decision.

“I just believe when you look at any branch of government, there should be checks and balances and divisions of power,” said Crawford, a physician. He is lead sponsor of a bill that would remove lawyer regulation from the Supreme Court’s supervision and place it under the S.C. Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.

LLR regulates other S.C. professions, including medicine and architecture. Part of the executive branch under Gov. Mark Sanford, its decisions can be appealed to the judiciary branch of state government up to the Supreme Court. But lawyers’ regulatory and disciplinary procedures, from start to finish, stay within the judiciary branch.

“We are glad to have (the lawmakers) talk to the committee,” Toal said Tuesday.

But the committee really isn’t set up to hear observations on proposed changes in the law, she said.

“If they want to see me, if they want to conduct hearings, that is the way to approach it,” she said, adding she would be glad to provide information to lawmakers about practices in other states.

The Supreme Court has paid a fee to the ABA to finance the committee’s evaluation. The ABA unit evaluates various states’ legal disciplinary systems.

Toal did not know how much the committee’s study would cost. Asked if its report would be made public, Toal said she won’t know until the report is done, but added, “I imagine some sort of results would be made public.”

Crawford said he hopes a Judiciary Committee subcommittee, where his bill now is, will soon hold hearings on the matter.

Pitts, a real estate broker, wants the results of the ABA committee’s findings to be made public.

“Our legal system is the foundation of this country, and the general public just wants to make sure everybody is treated fairly and equally,” Pitts said.



A Key Case on Gun Control
Headline Legal News | 2008/03/06 02:52

Dick Heller, a longtime resident of the District of Columbia, carries a handgun for his job as a private security guard. But at the end of his shift, he packs up the .38 revolver and stashes it in a vault. He would like to keep a gun for protection at his Capitol Hill home, where he has endured the sound of gunfire for years. But he can't, because D.C. law forbids it. "They give me a gun to protect them," he says of the government, "but I'm a second-class citizen when I finish work."

One of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, the D.C. statute is the focus of a March 18 U.S. Supreme Court hearing that marks the most significant case on gun control in decades. With Heller as plaintiff, it is the first test since 1939 of whether the Second Amendment supports an individual's right to bear arms and not just a state's right to form a militia. It is a crucial distinction. A ruling in favor of the individual right could trigger a wave of constitutional challenges to gun

control laws nationwide. And it could suddenly bring a volatile issue—one particularly uncomfortable for Democrats—into play during a presidential election year.

"It's significant because either it's going to fuel attempts to restrict gun ownership or it could put a constitutional wet blanket on any effort to control gun ownership," says Martin Redish, a constitutional law professor at Northwestern University.

For all the passion on both sides of the Second Amendment debate, the Supreme Court has said remarkably little over the years about to whom the right applies. Specifically, the amendment states that "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

For most of American history, courts have interpreted the Second Amendment to apply to the collective right of states to assemble groups of armed citizens, such as the National Guard. Nine federal circuit courts have upheld that position, and the Supreme Court favored it when it last considered the issue in the 1939 case. (While that decision upheld the federal regulation of an individual's use of sawed-off shotguns, it didn't directly address the scope of the Second Amendment.)



Notable California Trials
Headline Legal News | 2008/02/29 22:48
Childhood abuse
Award: $11,000,000
Six female former parochial school students alleged sexual molestation by a lay teacher at their elementary school (Confidential v. Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Eric F. Yuhl).

Rear-end fatality
Award: $1,500,000
A 28-year-old woman was killed when the vehicle in which she was riding was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer (Estate of Ana Rosa Gutierrez v. Kem-Iron Transport Inc., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Michael H. Whitehill).

Post-surgical death
Award: Defense
A 47-year-old man allegedly died as a result of negligent post-surgical care following an appendectomy (Tillery v. Ladenheim, Fresno County Superior Court, Defense attorney: Richard S. Salinas).

Worker burned
Award: $27,514,746
A 41-year-old worker was severely burned by a fireball at a bio-mass power production plant (Hall v. North American Industrial Services Inc., Eastern District Federal Court, Plaintiff attorney: Richard C. Watters).

Police brutality
Award: $1,500,000
A man arrested for public drunkenness alleged excessive force by police officers, resulting in a comminuted leg fracture (Andrews v. Ventura County Sheriff, Central District Federal Court, Plaintiff attorney: Michael C. Alder).

Student pedestrian struck
Award: $3,025,000
A 45-year old student struck by an SUV while attempting to cross a campus street claimed that her line-of-sight was blocked by trees that had not been properly pruned (Burkhart v. California State University, Long Beach, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Stanley K. Jacobs).

Infant scarred
Award: $385,000
One newborn twin sustained extensive facial scarring allegedly as a result of a negligently taped oxygen apparatus (Woo v. Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Robert V. Chin).

Medical malpractice
Award: Defense
A patient who underwent a lumbar puncture alleged that the procedure was improperly performed and resulted in numerous spinal cord injuries (Loerch v. The Regents of the University of California, San Diego County Superior Court, Defense attorney: Richard D. Carroll).

Construction accident
Award: $1,600,000
A 27-year-old fence installer working on a scissor-lift was injured when it toppled over due to a missing steel grate on a catch basin (Boughamer v. Abboud Diamond Construction Inc., San Bernardino County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Paul J. Ultimo).


Bar association moving to first permanent location
Headline Legal News | 2008/02/23 03:25

The Hillsborough County Bar Association will hold a grand opening for its new offices on Feb. 27.

The Chester H. Ferguson Law Center, a 17,000-square-foot facility located at 1610 N. Tampa St. and adjacent to Stetson University's College of Law in Tampa, is will be the bar association's first permanent location. It will contain administrative offices for the bar association and the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation, meeting rooms for continuing legal education programs, a lounge, mediation rooms and a ballroom.

Founded in 1896, the Hillsborough County Bar Association has more than 3,700 members and is the largest voluntary bar association in the Florida.



Virginia Bar president considers attorney trust audits
Headline Legal News | 2008/02/22 05:04
The president of the Virginia State Bar is proposing random audits of lawyer trust accounts.

Lawyers use trust accounts to temporarily hold real estate proceeds or retainers until they are disbursed to a third party or -- once a fee is earned -- to the lawyer.

It is a severe violation of professional conduct for a lawyer to mingle trust account money with personal funds or operating money.

But it does happen.

According to the state bar, a Virginia Beach attorney had his license revoked after he wrote 72 checks that he couldn't cover from 2002 to 2005. The checks totaled $3.3 million.

Bar president and Norfolk lawyer Howard Martin Junior says will make the audit proposal to the bar's executive committee next month. The American Bar Association recommends that every state conduct random audits to protect the public.



Drexel Law Gets Provisional Accreditation
Headline Legal News | 2008/02/21 03:12
Drexel University's new law school has received its much-awaited provisional accreditation, an important step toward providing its first students with usable legal degrees.

The university announced the provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association yesterday. It will allow graduating students to take the bar exam and, upon passing the test, practice professionally. Final accreditation will take at least two more years.

"To reach this milestone less than 18 months after welcoming our first law students to Drexel is remarkable and a testament to the vision and commitment of our Board of Trustees and the hard work and passion of the faculty and staff of the College of Law and its founding dean, Roger Dennis," Drexel President Constantine Papadakis said in a statement. "Drexel Law has gathered some of the most talented, innovative law faculty, practicing professionals and students anywhere, and it shows in every initiative."

In a city already boasting a healthy number of law schools, Drexel broke onto the scene in 2006. It was the first new law school in the region more than 30 years.

The law school's first class of 180 was drawn from a pool of more than 1,700 applicants and will graduate in 2009. And this year students are enjoying the school's new $19 million home on Market Street.


[PREV] [1] ..[55][56][57][58][59] [NEXT]
All
Headline Legal News
Legal Topics
Legal Business
Attorney News
Court News
Court Watch
Areas of Focus
Legal Interview
Opinions
Manhattan DA drops part of Weinst..
Supreme Court wrestles with case ..
Top French court to rule on fault..
Polish leader appoints top court ..
Kavanaugh to hear his 1st argumen..
Texas Supreme Court to hear sex o..
Kavanaugh to attend White House e..
Massachusetts high court to weigh..
Cemetery case puts property right..
Indian court allows deportation o..
UN court orders US to lift some I..
Supreme Court could limit executi..
Supreme Court won't hear case ove..
Trial set for 1 of 4 impeached W...
US Supreme Court declines to hear..
Supreme Court term amid starts in..
Nominee's attack on Democrats pos..
India's top court lifts temple's ..
UN court asked to probe Venezuela..
Trump picks combat over caution i..




Santa Ana Workers' Compensation Lawyers
www.gentryashtonlaw.com
Chicago Truck Drivers Lawyer
Chicago Workers' Comp Attorneys
www.krol-law.com
New Rochelle Accidents Attorneys
New Rochelle Personal Injury
www.kboattorneys.com
Indianapolis, IN Personal Injury Law Firm
Indian Personal Injury Attorneys
www.rwp-law.com
Downtown Manhattan Business Law Attorneys
Breach of Contract Lawyers
www.woodslaw.com
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
Lorain Elyria Divorce Lawyer
www.loraindivorceattorney.com
Chicago Business Law Attorney
Corporate Litigation Attorneys
www.rothlawgroup.com
Surry County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Yadkin County Family Law Attorneys
www.dirussolaw.com
Connecticut Special Education Lawyer
www.fortelawgroup.com
Law Firm Web Design Templates
Lawyer Website Templates
www.webpromo.com
   Legal Resource
Headline Legal News for You to Reach America's Best Legal Professionals. The latest legal news and information - Law Firm, Lawyer and Legal Professional news in the Media.
 
 
 
Copyright © ClickTheLaw.com. All Rights Reserved. Legal Marketing Blog. The content contained on the web site has been prepared by Click The Law. as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance. By using the www.clickthelaw.com you agree to be bound by these Terms & Conditions.

Law Firm Web Design by Lawyer Website Design - Lawyer Web Site Design That Works