Archive for July, 2011

GALLION EXPANDS ON SEIZURE OF HIS PROPERTY BY ANGELA FORD ALLEGEDLY IN VIOLATION OF ATTORNEY/CLIENT PRIVILEGE

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

July 24, 2011

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley

   In a second e-mail forwarded  to LawReader.com from Fen Phen defendant William Gallion, additional issues are raised concerning the  conduct  of Angela Ford  in seizing his property including his office files.

The Gallion e-mail dated July 23, 2011 states:

“In a separate message to Billingsley you should point out that Ford also took my family photos..there was a framed photo of me and Queen Elizabeth at Ascot in 2005 which Ford took off the wall at my house and then bought at auction, maybe she has it hanging in her office.

“She or her representatives went through my and Melissa’s underwear drawers. keep in mind that if the civil judgment has been superceeded then none of this would have happened. Only because of the extremely excessive size of the judgement were we unable to superceed.  Now that the case has been reversed it must all be put back…reminds me of the quote from the District Judge in the Roger Clement’s trial..how do you unring the bell?

“You might also inform… (LawReader) that Ford took all of my paper files, including all of the office files regarding the clients and their settlements. I don’t have any idea where those files are located.

“She may claim that she had an Order of Execution which authorized taking the computer and files. But the law is clear that no court can order a breach or waiver of attorney/client privilege.

“I am not sure but she may have done the same thing to Shirley Cunningham.”

                                                         ***********

SEE FOR YOURSELF THE 14TH. AMENDMENT WHICH SOME CLAIM ALLOWS THE PRESIDENT TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING WITHOUT APPROVAL OF CONGRESS

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

If the U.S. debt ceiling is not authorized by Congress, some argue that the President is authorized by the 14th. Amendment to handle the debt ceiling on his own without action by Congress.

Assuming that Congress has authorized a Social Security program, a Medicare program, Veteran’s benefits, three wars, national defense, and a budget for the operation of Federal programs and agencies, then it is possible the words “authorized by law” may empower the President to borrow money to assure that programs “authorized by law” are maintained even without a rise in the debt ceiling.

See Fourteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution:

Section. 4.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

ERIC DETERS WILL NOT APPEAL SANCTIONS OF FEDERAL JUDGE

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Last week, U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves summoned Attorney Eric Deters  to his court for a hearing on possible sanction regarding lawsuits Deters had filed.   After a discussion with Deters and his attorney Lawrence Forgy of Lexington, the judge elected not to impose a monetary penalty.

Forgy said lawyers jealous of Deters’ success were behind the bar association’s disciplinary proceedings. A trial commissioner has recom­mended Deters be suspended from the practice of law for 181 days, but the Kentucky Bar Association’s Board of Governors has agreed to review the charges. A hearing before the board is set for September 

 U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said he was ordering Deters to have an independent lawyer review the operations of his law firm and adopt any recommendations. Deters must also attend 20 hours of ethics training.

Deters defended his filing of lawsuits, and claimed a legitimate basis for all claims.  Nevertheless he said he would not appeal Reeves’ decision. He said he welcomes the review and gets to decide who will conduct it, though the judge must approve the choice.

FEN PHEN LAWYER WILLIAM GALLION SAYS ANGELA FORD SEIZED HIS LAPTOP WITH CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS WITH HIS ATTORNEY, IN VIOLATION OF ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

 

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley            Posted  July 22, 2011

 

In an e-mail sent to LawReader, Fen Phen defendant William Gallion says that attorney Angela Ford seized his personal computer, made copies of his privileged  work product, placed the computer up for sale at a judicial auction, and then outbid Gallion’s representatives and purchased the computer for $7000.

 

Gallion says that Ford was acting as an agent of the U.S. when she seized his privileged communications with his attorney.   Ford is also the plaintiff’s attorney in the Boone County Civil action which is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court, after the Court of Appeals ordered a retrial.

 

This seizure of Gallion’s privileged communications will surely be raised in any retrial of the criminal action (which is on appeal to the Sixth Circuit) and in the retrial in the Boone Circuit Court in the civil action.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals has remanded the civil case for retrial. Ford has appealed that reversal to the Ky. Supreme Court.  Usually a remand for trial is held by caselaw to be an interlocutory appeal, and it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court will grant Ford’s appeal of the Court of Appeals remand order.

 

Gallion’s e-mail – Thursday July 21, 2011:

 

“The computer was the laptop I had with me in the Boone Co. jail and which Hale updated whenever he was there and which I used to compile my defense.  It also had all of the files from the civil case including all of the emails from and to my attorneys.  After the mistrial and I was home.  I used it every day to email with my attorneys in both cases.  It had all of Hale’s emails and trial strategies we discussed.  It was my office while incarcerated and before trial.”  (Hale is apparently Gallion’s attorney.)

 

“Ford took it when she came into my house and took all of my personal belonging. (sic) She ignored us. I understand that she had the hard drive copied and then put the computer into the judicial sale. My family was there and tried to buy it back as it has all of my work on it and the information could never be reproduced in order to allow me to defend the civil case or the criminal case if reversed. It is a $700 Dell laptop when new. Ford got into a bidding war with Melissa (Gallion’s girlfriend) and bought it for $7000.  She still has it and now has all of my work product and privileged communication.”

 

” She was and is the agent of the Gov.  Her conduct is imputed to the gov.  If it was anyone other than me she would be recused from the civil case and brought up on charges of misconduct. Even Wolfson’s hack lawyer/advisors would agree with that.”

 

The reference to Wolfson apparently refers to Courier-Journal reporter Andy Wolfson.  Ford seems to have a mania for all things Gallion.  She previously purchased his Jessamine County residence at a judicial sale, but the U.S. Attorney’s office intervened in that sale and the Jessamine Circuit Judge set aside the sale.   The U.S. Attorney’s office is reported by the Jessamine County Master Commissioner, to have argued that the funds with which Ford purchased the Gallion home included funds of client’s she did not represent.

 

U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves recently ordered an accounting from Ford as to her  handling of client’s funds.  Reeves ordered that her accounting be sealed.

 

The relevant law regarding the attorney-client privilege and an attorneys work product is found in the caselaw, Civil Rules and the Rules of Evidence.

 

THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE PROTECTS ATTORNEY’S WORK PRODUCT

 

Sowders v. Lewis, 241 S.W.3d 319 – December 2-2007 – Supreme Court of Kentucky.

” [The attorney-client privilege applies to a confidential communication "made to facilitate the client in his/her legal dilemma and made between two of the four parties listed in [KRE 503]: the client, the client’s representatives, the lawyer, or the lawyer’s representatives.” Haney v. Yates, 40 S.W.3d 352, 354 (Ky.2000). “

“Where the privilege applies its breach undermines confidence in the judicial system and harms the administration of justice.”

 

       SEE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE RULE IN THE RULES OF EVIDENCE:

 

      KRE 503 Lawyer-client privilege  

(a) Definitions. As used in this RULE:

(1) “Client” means a person, including a public officer, corporation, association, or other organization or entity, either public or private, who is rendered professional legal services by a lawyer, or who consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional legal services from the lawyer.

(2) “Representative of the client” means:

(A) A person having authority to obtain professional legal services, or to act on advice thereby rendered on behalf of the client; or

(B) Any employee or representative of the client who makes or receives a confidential communication:

(i) In the course and scope of his or her employment;

(ii) Concerning the subject matter of his or her employment; and

(iii) To effectuate legal representation for the client.

(3) “Lawyer” means a person authorized, or reasonably believed by the client to be authorized to engage in the practice of law in any state or nation.

(4) “Representative of the lawyer” means a person employed by the lawyer to assist the lawyer in rendering professional legal services.

(5) A communication is “confidential” if not intended to be disclosed to third persons other than those to whom disclosure is made in furtherance of the rendition of professional legal services to the client or those reasonably necessary for the transmission of the communication.

(b) General rule of privilege. A client has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing a confidential communication made for the purpose of facilitating the rendition of professional legal services to the client:

(1) Between the client or a representative of the client and the client’s lawyer or a representative of the lawyer;

(2) Between the lawyer and a representative of the lawyer;

(3) By the client or a representative of the client or the client’s lawyer or a representative of the lawyer representing another party in a pending action and concerning a matter of common interest therein;

(4) Between representatives of the client or between the client and a representative of the client; or

(5) Among lawyers and their representatives representing the same client.

(c) Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the client, the client’s guardian or conservator, the personal representative of a deceased client, or the successor, trustee, or similar representative of a corporation, association, or other organization, whether or not in existence. The person who was the lawyer or the lawyer’s representative at the time of the communication is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the client.

 

 

      Civil rule  26.02 (3) Trial Preparations; materials

      (a) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (4) of this rule, a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable under paragraph (1) of this rule and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party’s representative (including his attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of his case and that he is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation.

The Case Against Law School – The High Cost of Law School and the Growing Number of Lawyers Sparks Debate

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Introduction

Mark Graham for The New York Times   – Is law school really necessary for the bar exam?

Law school tuition is rising four times as fast as the cost of an undergraduate degree, which itself is soaring. Despite the high price, students are still flocking to law schools, even if it means going into heavy debt to enter a tight job market with few top-paying openings.

Should the standard three-year model of legal education, followed by taking and passing the bar exam, be the only path toward becoming a lawyer? Could law school be shortened, or should those three years of classes have a different focus?

Read the Discussion »

Debaters

David Van Zandt

George Leef

Kevin Noble Maillard

Rose Cuison Villazor

David Lat

Geoffrey R. Stone

Linda Greene

KBA BAR COUNSEL CAN EFFECTIVELY DENY RIGHT TO APPEAL IN ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE CASES – This is happening right now. This practice violates Section 115 of Ky. Constitution

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley -  July 22, 2011

The Supreme Court Rules regulating the attorney discipline process  have many problems.  One of the most bothersome is  the  rule which allows the Bar Counsel to determine how much of a surety an attorney must post with the Disciplinary Clerk .  If this surety bond is not posted by the defendant attorney, then he has no right to file a brief with the Supreme Court.

If the respondent attorney can’t post the surety with the Disciplinary Clerk, then the Supreme Court is directed by the Rules to accept the findings of the Board of  Governors.  The Rules do permit the Supreme Court to “review” any recommendation sent to them by the Board of Governors.  But if the defendant attorney can’t file his brief….how will the Supreme Court be advised of the issues in his case?

SCR 3.370 says that the Bar Counsel can notify the Disciplinary Clerk of the amount of court costs the Bar Counsel claims should be reimbursed to the KBA.  The rule then requires that the defendant  attorney must post a surety in any amount claimed by the Bar Counsel.   There is no rule allowing an appeal of this decision by the Bar Counsel as to the amount of costs.

In one recent case it is reported that the attorney was required to post a surety of close to $40,000.   In another pending case, the KBA is demanded a surety of $18,800. This second case is currently ripe for appeal but the attorney can’t raise the $18,800 surety.  This is seriously troubling since the issues raised in this case will affect the jurisdiction of the Judicial Conduct Commission and will result in the repeal of the Judicial Immunity Doctrine. 

Imagine a criminal case where the Commonwealth Attorney could unilaterally  determine how much it would cost a defendant to appeal his conviction.   That practice would not pass the smell test, and  SCR 3.370  which allows the Bar Counsel to effectively deny the right to appeal for all but the wealthiest of lawyers,  also doesn’t pass the smell test.

See: SCR 3.370 Procedure before the Board and the Court

(1) Upon receipt of the report of the Trial Commissioner, the Disciplinary Clerk shall certify the record of the prior proceedings and send notice of certification to the parties. The entire record, together with a certified bill for costs and expenses incurred in the investigation preliminary to and in the conduct of the proceedings, as well as the expenses associated with the Trial Commissioner’s hearing, shall be filed with the Disciplinary Clerk.

 

8) Bar Counsel or the Respondent may file with the Court a notice for the Court to review the Board’s decision within thirty (30) days after the Board’s decision is filed with the Disciplinary Clerk, stating reasons for review, accompanied by a brief supporting his/her position on the merits of the case. The opposing party may file a brief within thirty (30) days thereafter. Before the notice for review can be filed, the Respondent shall furnish a bond with surety acceptable to the Disciplinary Clerk, conditioned that if the principal in the bond be disciplined by the Court, he/she will promptly pay all costs incurred in the proceeding, including those certified under Rule 3.370. If Respondent files a response in forma pauperis, no bond shall be required.

This tax on the right to file an appeal appears to violate Section 115 of the Ky.Constitution.

   
  Section 115  Ky. Constitution


Right of appeal — Procedure.


In all cases, civil and criminal, there shall be allowed as a matter of right at least one appeal to another court, except that the Commonwealth may not appeal from a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case, other than for the purpose of securing a certification of law, and the General Assembly may prescribe that there shall be no appeal from that portion of a judgment dissolving a marriage. Procedural rules shall provide for expeditious and inexpensive appeals. Appeals shall be upon the record and not by trial de novo.

Text as Ratified on: November 4, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.

 

   Reason and fairness would seem to dictate that every attorney should have the right to appeal from a decision of the Board of Governors.   In the end, it  is the Supreme Court that determines whether or not a losing appellant will have to pay any costs….but if the Bar Counsel can effectively deny the right to file an appeal, this means  the Bar Counsel is allowed to effectively deny the right to appeal at their whim

LOUISVILLE ATTORNEY MARGARET E. “MAGGIE” KEANE ASSUMES PRESIDENCY OF KBA

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Louisville attorney Margaret E. “Maggie” Keane will assume the presidency of the Kentucky Bar Association as of July 1, 2011.

Keane devotes a substantial amount of her time to pro bono representation, and her efforts have

been recognized by the Legal Aid Society (1990 Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award); the

Louisville Bar Association (1996 Public Service Award); and the Fayette County Bar Association

(2001 Pro Bono Award). She served on the KBA’s Inquiry Commission from 1999 to 2007, and

was appointed a panel chair and, eventually, chair of the Commission. She has served as KBA Vice-

President and President-Elect. She was a member of the KBA Convention Planning Committees of

1997 and 2006, and CLE Co-Chair of the 2007 KBA Convention Planning Committee. She was a

member of the KBA Reserve/Investment Committee in 2004-06, is a Kentucky Bar Foundation

Fellow, and was selected as the KBA’s “Outstanding Lawyer of the Year” in 2008.

Keane was also elected President of the Louisville Bar Association in 1997 and presently serves as

a member of its Board of Directors, Judicial Evaluation Committee, and the Louisville Bar

Foundation board. Keane also represented the LBA as its Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates.

She is a “Master” and Past President (2005-2007) of the Louis D. Brandeis Inn of Court, an

organization which promotes legal excellence, civility, professionalism and ethics. Keane served on

the Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court, headquartered in Washington, D.C. from 2006

to 2010.

– MORE –

A 1989 graduate of Leadership Louisville, and a 2006 graduate of Leadership Kentucky, Keane

received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of

Louisville in 2003. Keane has been a board member of Maryhurst since 2006, and was previously a

member of the Kentucky Public Advocacy Commission (2002-2007), and is now a board member

of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation (2005-2011).

Keane recently closed her remarks at the Annual Convention by reminding those in attendance that

“This is your Bar, your profession and your association. You elect those who serve on the Board of

Governors. If you have questions, comments or, even more importantly, criticism to offer, please

let us hear it.”

Keane is married to Gregory R. Masterson, and has two stepsons and three grandchildren.

– 30 –

Kentucky Bar Association, 514 West Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-1812

 

of the Kentucky Bar Association’s (KBA) Board of Governors for a one-year term beginning

Friday, July 1, 2011.

The Board of Governors serves as the voluntary governing body of the KBA and the agent of the

Supreme Court of Kentucky for the purpose of administering and enforcing the Rules of the Court

governing the practice of law. Keane received a ceremonial gavel from outgoing President Bruce

K. Davis of Lexington during the KBA’s Annual Banquet held June 16 in Lexington. Keane will

also serve as President of the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents.

A magna cum laude graduate of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of

Louisville, Keane has practiced law with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC since her

graduation in 1982, becoming a partner in 1989. She has an active civil litigation practice,

representing plaintiffs and defendants in both state and federal courts. She has been selected for

inclusion in

The Best Lawyers in America for over 15 years in the field of Commercial Litigation.

LAWREADER INTERVIEW WITH ANN OLDFATHER REVEALS IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE IN THE LOUISVILLE FIRE FIGHTER SUIT FILED THIS WEEK AND THE ANGELA FORD LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST GALLION, CUNNINGHAM AND MILLS

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

 

July 21, 2011

   We repeat our comments in a prior article on the Louisville Firefighter lawsuit about Ann Oldfather.   “We make no charges against Ann Oldfather, a respected attorney…”   That respect has only increased after our interview with her. 

  We are glad to be informed that Ms. Oldfather did not solicit her Firefighter clients by a mail solicitation as was done in the Fen Phen suit filed by Angela Ford against the original Fen Phen attorneys.

  Ms. Oldfather has a history of representation of a large number of the members of  the Louisville Firefighter group.  We are advised that the Firefighters themselves held a mass meeting to discuss their options.  So when the firefighters determined that they had a claim they wished to pursue, they requested  that Ms. Oldfather  represent them.  We believe that is an important distinction that distances her from the mail solicitation tactics alleged to have occurred in the Angela Ford lawsuit.   It appears that the Firefighter’s solicited Ann Oldfather, and not the other way around.

  We still believe that anytime an attorney files a lawsuit representing hundreds of clients that it is  legitimate to question how they obtained those clients.  Ms. Oldfather  in our opinion, has clearly passed the test imposed by the Code of Professional Conduct. 

  We will remain curious about all strike-back lawsuits.  The merits of the Firefighter lawsuit will be decided in court and we do not have the capability to knowingly predict the outcome. 

  But anytime an attorney obtains a judgment for a client, and then the client sues the attorney, we come a step closer to the day when all lawyers will refuse to accept meritorious claims due to the likelihood they will be sued if they are successful.

  Meanwhile, the KBA Bar Counsel has been in possession of a transcript made before the Judicial Conduct Commission in 2005  raising questions about the solicitation of clients by mail by Angela Ford in her Fen Phen strike back lawsuit.  The client solicitation practices of  Angela Ford have been discussed in both the Gallion and Cunningham criminal trials, in depositions and in findings filed by KBA Trial Commissioners.  These references to Ford’s solicitation practices have been made public at one time or another but are buried in the trial transcripts and have been ignored by the media. 

   The media and one jury has found Gallion and Cunningham guilty, but they have ignored  the issues regarding client solicitation procedures of Angela Ford, which if  they were found to have been in violation of the Code of Professional Conduct, would result in a forfeiture of her fee to her clients.  She made a statement to the press in response to the  Court Order of U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves ordering her to provide an accounting of her handling of funds she seized from Gallion and Cunningham and the Charitable Trust they created.  

Ford is reported to have already paid herself $13 million dollars and told the Courier-Journal….there is no way a future judge or jury would ever give this money back to Gallion and Cunningham.   That statement assumes that even though the Court of Appeals reversed the only judgment in her client’s favor, that she will never be ordered to return the money she has seized.

She argued to the U.S. Attorney’s office that the Summary Judgment granted by the Boone Circuit Court was a good judgment even though the Court of Appeals remanded it for a jury trial.

Why would she think she is entitled to any money unsupported by a judgment in her client’s favor?   We even question whether she is entitled to an appeal to the Supreme Court, since after the Court of Appeals remanded her judgment for a jury trial. There is caselaw that suggests that, an appeal to the Supreme Court would be interlocutory and not ripe for discretionary review since the ruling of the Court of Appeals was not a final ruling….the Ct. of Appeals remanded the case for a jury trial in the Boone Circuit Court.  There is a good argument that Angela Ford is not entitled to discretionary review by the Supreme Court until such time as there is a final judgment of the Boone Circuit Court and a final ruling by the Court of Appeals.

 Her statement to the Courier Journal failed to discuss the possibility that she could be ordered to pay her $13 million dollar attorneys fee to her own clients.  Perhaps  she is not aware of SCR 3.130 (7.10) which states:

SCR 3.130(7.10) Waiver and forfeiture of fees for prohibited solicitation  If a lawyer illegally or unethically solicited a client for which compensation is paid or payable, all fees arising from such transaction shall be deemed waived and forfeited and shall be returned to the client. A civil action for recovery of such fees may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction.”

  That rule provides one way that the courts could order Angela Ford to return her $13 million dollar attorneys fee. (Assuming of course that she was found to have violated the rule.)  

   Other possibilities that could result in her having to return this money arises from the fact that the Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for Gallion and Cunningham in the civil case.  While Angela Ford is confident a jury would find in her favor, we personally learned years ago the danger in predicting what a jury will do.

   Further, the criminal convictions of Gallion and Cunningham are on appeal.  While Ms. Ford is confident of the future ruling of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, we are not so confident. 

We recall that in the first criminal trial Judge Bertlesman allowed the defendants to present evidence on whether the settlement was an aggregate settlement or a class action settlement.  Ten of twelve jurors in the first criminal trial voted for acquittal.  On the second trial Judge Danny Reeves denied the defendants the right to introduce the defense (which was allowed by Judge Bertlesman).   If the Sixth Circuit agrees with the first judge, then there will be a second criminal trial, and who but Angela Ford, knows what the next jury will find.

  If  Gallion and Cunningham get new trials, and if they were to win, then Ford would be hard pressed to justify her attorney fee and she would be hard pressed to claim that her clients had any claim to the $43 million she has seized from the assets of Gallion and Cunningham.  Ford turned the original Fen Phen clients against their original attorneys.  Those clients have shown a willingness to sue their own attorney ….will those litigious clients have any hesitation is going after Ford if they think they can get another $13 million?

  When Angela Ford tells the Courier Journal that there is no way she would ever be ordered to return the money she has seized, in light of the Court of Appeals reversal, and the pending civil and criminal appeals, this suggests she has a lack of appreciation of the serious legal issues which have yet to be decided.  Is she whistling while passing by the graveyard?

Until such time as the KBA Bar Counsel demonstrates some interest in client solicitation practices, we believe  it will be prudent for all attorneys to closely examine client solicitation practices, particularly when the lawsuit is filed against attorneys who have obtained large settlements for their clients.

 We wonder if the KBA Bar Counsel will ever be heard on this topic.

Louisville Courier Journal Reports on copycat lawsuit – New Trend in Class Action Law….Clients settle, get their money, then sue their lawyer.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Louisville Courier Journal Reports on copycat lawsuit  - New Trend in Class Action Law….Clients settle, get their money, then sue their lawyer.

 

July 19, 2011

 

Ann Oldfather  has filed an Angela Ford type lawsuit against  successful class action lawyers who settled a case in behalf of 500 Louisville Firemen.   The firefighters  took their money but now have decided to sue their attorneys on theory if the case had gone to trial they might have gotten more. 

This a new trend…if your lawyer is successful,  you can settle, get your money, and then sue to get back the fee you paid your attorney.

This practice will in our opinion,  lead to the end of class action lawsuits.

The next  step in these Angela Ford type lawsuits  is to blame the trial Judge of complicity….That sure worked well for Angela Ford.   She reported to the Federal Court who recently ordered an accounting from Ford that she has paid herself $13 million dollars in attorney fees.  

We suspect  that someone may want to examine the solicitation method of how  Ann Oldfather  recruited her clients in this case.  

We make no charges against Ann Oldfather, a respected attorney,  but  this question has been raised in the Angela Ford lawsuit  against the Fen Phen lawyers. 

Since  Oldfather,  like Angela Ford, has recruited hundreds of clients.  The question should be examined as to how they got all those clients to agree to sue their original attorneys.

The KBA Bar Counsel  has had transcripts alleging improper solicitation of clients by Angela Ford since 2005.  (See transcripts of the Judicial Conduct Commission turned over to the KBA in 2005.)

The Supreme Court Rules /Code of Professional Conduct says that if an attorney has improperly solicited a client, they must forfeit their legal fees.  So far that rule is being publically ignored by the Bar Counsel.  

The KBA has publically made no statements about any action against Angela Ford over the allegations that she improperly solicited her clients.   

We find it strange that  clients can agree in writing to accept a settlement  then turn around and sure their attorney.

 

See the Louisville Courier-Journal   Article:

Jul 19, 2011 | By Jessie Halladay … going forward in court. “These clients were never able to make an informed decision,” said Ann Oldfather, who filed the lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court Friday on behalf of 486 …

FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS ATTORNEY ANGELA FORD TO SUBMIT ACCOUNTING OF HER HANDLING OF CLIENTS FUNDS

Friday, July 15th, 2011

On June 29th.  U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves ordered Lexington Attorney Angela Ford to provide a “full and complete accounting of all funds collected by her in the civil action captioned Abbott, et al. v. Chesley, et al., Commonwealth of Kentucky, Boone Circuit Court, Civil Action No. 05-CI- 00436, and not distributed to victims.”

After the Boone Circuit Court issued a Summary Judgment against William Gallion, Shirley Cunningham, Melbourne Mills, et al, Angela Ford began to attach cash and property of the defendants.   The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals but were unable to post a $40 million supercedas bond, so Ford was allowed to continue to seize their funds.

Some reports indicate that Judge Reeves appointed Ford to serve as a Victims Advocate to be trustee of these funds.   Not all of the parties are represented by Angela Ford.    It is still unclear whether or not she has paid herself an attorneys fee of $13,000,000, or is she holding funds in trust.   This is an issue since the Court of Appeals set aside the Summary Judgment of the Boone Circuit Court.    The U.S. Attorneys office sought the accounting and raised the question that Ford had been uncooperative in accounting for her handling of client’s and non-clients funds.

It is reported to LawReader that  none of the parties asked that this accounting be sealed, but Judge Reeves  on his own, ordered that Ford’s report be sealed, so the report is not reviewable by LawReader and the public.

Several questions are on the table.   Why should Ford be entitled to a fee when she does not have a current judgment supporting her lawsuit.  The Ct. of Appeals reversed the Boone Circuit Court summary judgment, and the issue is on appeal to the Ky. Supreme Court.

Why was this accounting sealed?  The KBA in their ethics prosecution of Judge Joseph Bamberger argued that one of their claims against him was that he sealed certain orders.   Whose interest is being served by this order sealing the accounting?  It may protect Angela Ford, but does it serve the interests of the plaintiffs she represents?  Does it serve the interest of the clients she does not represent but whose funds are being held in trust by her as the Victim’s Advocate?

Another way the original plaintiff’s can be paid is through the restitution order issued by Judge Reeves after the Federal Jury found the Fen Phen attorneys guilty in their second criminal trial.   That conviction is on appeal, and is not final.

If the Federal prosecutors obtained a valid restitution order why should Angela Ford be entitled to a $13 million dollar fee for work done by the U.S. Government?

See copy of Judge Reeves ruling:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY

NORTHERN DIVISION

(at Covington)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff,

V.

WILLIAM J. GALLION and

SHIRLEY A. CUNNINGHAM, JR.,

Defendants.

Criminal Action No. 2: 07-39-S-DCR

ORDER

*** *** *** ***

This matter is pending for consideration of the United States’ motion for an accounting

of funds held by attorney Angela Ford. Having reviewed the motion, the Court does not believe that a response is needed.

Further, the exigencies presented support a prompt ruling on this motion. Accordingly, being sufficiently advised, it is hereby

ORDERED that the United States’ motion [Record No. 1283] is GRANTED.

Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Order, attorney Angela Ford is DIRECTED to provide a full and complete accounting of all funds collected by her in the civil action captioned Abbott, et al. v. Chesley, et al., Commonwealth of Kentucky, Boone Circuit Court, Civil Action No. 05-CI- 00436, and not distributed to victims.

The accounting shall include the location of all funds.

This 29th day of June, 2011.

(signed by U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves)

CALL FOR NEW RULES RE: ALIMONY TO ELIMINATE THE GUESSING GAME – Judge’s Discretion Rule Produces Widely Subjective Results

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Last year Maryland’s  court ruled that, even though the state alimony law mandates that judges exercise discretion, new numerical rules allow court to consult an objective formula to inform their decisions.

By ALEXANDRA HARWIN

New Haven. Conn

FAMILY law reform is gaining momentum in New York State: last month lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage, while last year they adopted no-fault divorce, allowing couples to end a marriage without a demonstration of wrongdoing. In separate legislation adopted at the same time, New York also became one of the few states to adopt a formula for setting certain alimony awards, making them fairer and predictable. The rest of the country should do the same.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, former spouses pay around $9 billion in alimony each year. The amounts and payment schedules are usually decided by family court judges using a list of factors, including the length of the marriage, the ages and health of the spouses, their financial situations, their earning potential and their contributions to the marriage, financial and otherwise.

These criteria are sensible enough. But judges are on their own in deciding how to prioritize the various factors and how to translate them into dollar amounts, resulting in wildly inconsistent alimony awards. When asked how much alimony a lifelong homemaker married to a doctor deserved, judges in an Ohio survey estimated as little as $5,000 a year and as much as $175,000.

The unpredictability of alimony rules imposes several costs. Negotiating a settlement deal is much harder when spouses have no idea what they’ll end up with if they take their chances in court. Litigation drags on and the bills pile up when lawyers and experts have to prove their clients deserve any alimony at all.

All the while, the emotional costs mount as people awaiting divorce continue in unhappy marriages; some stay married indefinitely because they don’t know if divorce will leave them with enough money to make it on their own. That’s particularly troubling in cases of domestic violence: some wives endure years of abuse because they can’t be sure husbands who control the family finances will be required to give them the money they need to live if they leave.

New York’s law minimizes these costs by establishing a mathematical formula to calculate temporary alimony, which one spouse pays the other while the divorce is pending; it also allows judges to adjust those awards up or down under special circumstances.

Under the formula, alimony is set at 30 percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s, as long as the recipient doesn’t end up with more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income. For example, a banker making $500,000 a year married to a writer earning $50,000 could expect to pay around $140,000 a year.

Along with New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado have also switched to numerical guidelines. But these apply only to temporary alimony, which ends once a divorce is finalized; no state has applied a formula to ordinary alimony, which is paid for months or years following a divorce.

There is no reason they, and the rest of the country, shouldn’t go all the way: the group that created the formula adopted by the Legislature, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, intended it to be used for all alimony awards.

Moreover, several local bar associations and family law organizations have come up with their own, slightly different, formulas for permanent alimony, giving state legislatures plenty of models to choose from. And lawmakers, recognizing that no formula will get it right every time, can also allow judicial discretion to modify alimony awards in unusual circumstances.

In fact, judges already have the discretion to rely on formulas if they want. But many are reluctant because state laws tell them to rely on their own judgment; consulting a mathematical formula can thus seem like dereliction of duty.

Maryland has taken the lead in putting this concern to rest. Last year its top court ruled that, even though the state alimony law mandates that judges exercise discretion, it allows them to consult a formula to inform their decisions. That’s a big victory: it’s a lot harder for judges to make outlandishly large or small alimony awards when parties can point them to an objective standard. See: Boemio v. Boemio 414 Md. 118; 994 A.2d 911 (2010)

Legislatures should go further and require judges to start with alimony formulas, and then apply discretion. Changing alimony from a gamble to something more predictable would make the judges’ jobs a lot easier — and the divorce process a lot fairer.

Alexandra Harwin is a 2011 graduate of Yale Law School

FLORIDA LAWYER SUED FOR FILING DEFAMATION SUIT OVER BAR COMPLAINT

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

 

‘The Florida Bar sat on its  bureaucratic asses´

 By David Arthur Walters – The Miami Mirror  - June 27, 2011

 MIAMI BEACH – David Johnson and his wife Jane Johnson, former residents of Palm Beach County, have filed a complaint in the circuit court of Palm Beach County against Palm Beach attorney Allen H. Libow, his wife Melissa Libow, and Boca Raton law firm Libow & ShaheenLLP et al, for malicious prosecution, conspiracy to commit malicious prosecution, and abuse of process, in regards to a defamation action first asserted by the defendants against the Johnsons in 2004 for filing an absolutely privileged complaint against Libow with The Florida Bar, the agency of the Florida Supreme Court that licenses lawyers in the state, regulates their conduct, and presently represents mainly the political and business interests of the dominant professional elite.

 The defamation suit against the Johnsons was prosecuted by Mrs. Libow¶s father, affluent Miami attorney Arthur W. Tifford, who has not yet been named as a defendant in the Johnsons ¶malicious prosecution complaint, and who has now appeared to defend his son-in-law from that complaint. According to the court docket, attorneys Lisa Weiss and Bruce L.

 Udolf of Boca Raton law firm Udolf  Libow have appeared to defend Mrs. Libow.

 The Johnsons are represented by Steven Jeffrey Rothman. (See case  502011CA001121XXXXMB).

 Mr. Johnson¶s long-running Bar complaint, originally filed on August 16, 2004, alleged that Mr.Libow had filed a false police report as part of an attempt to extort a $100,000 settlement for adisputed legal fee amounting to $1,621.

 According to Mr. Johnson, that amount due had allegedly been reduced from $5,014 after Mr. Johnson, who had already paid several thousand dollars in fees, demanded an accounting and discovered that he had even been billed for his attorney¶s failure to appear for him in the case. The law firm even billed Mr. Johnson another $397 for itemizing the bill, at the hourly rate of $200.

 At one point, Mr. Libow, who is also a certified public accountant, allegedly told Mr. Johnson that clients at his firm had been overbilled for research by his lawyer, that downward adjustments to one client¶s bill had been $11,000, and that he, David Johnson, did not owe the law firm a dime; but he changed his mind when Johnson decided to let that attorney, who had withdrawn from the Libow law firm and whom Mr. Libow was defaming in his conversation with Mr. Johnson, continue to handle his case.

 The suit for the$1,621 fee balance was brought in the small claims court, where Eric Stockel, an attorney for the Libow law firm, admitted that the complaint to the Bar was privileged; nevertheless, Mr. Libow asserted a defamation cause of action there and managed to have the issue removed to the circuit court (see Libow v. Johnson and Johnson, 05-3299 CAA1, 502005CA003299XXXXMB) where it was prosecuted by Mr. Tifford.  Mrs. Johnson was named in the defamation suit although she had not signed the Bar complaint against Mr. Libow and other members of his firm.

 The Bar complaint stated that Mr. Libow had claimed that his wife put him up to making the police report, and complained that Mr. Libow was making ³over death threats.´

  Mr. Johnson opined that Libow was emotionally disturbed, having likened his Bar complaint with the January2005 murderer of Mr. Libow¶s babysitter, Shanette Jones, and her two daughters, Ashley and Joanna Robinson; the girls¶ step-father, who had attempted suicide, was suspected in the shooting.

 The family had made a lot of money in real estate; Mr. Libow would represent Shanette  Jones¶ parents in the wrongful death civil suit. Mr. Johnson disparaged Mr. Libow¶s character in his complaint to the Bar, stating, for example, that, while ³Jessie James used a horse and a six-gun to carry out his robberies, Mr. Libow uses a computer and the United States Mail to carry out his.´

 He further claimed that Mr. Libow carried out said robberies on ³less sophisticated clients´; had a ³total absence of ethics´; was guilty to³concocting a story and filing a false police report´; ³modified (forged)´ email; was a pathological liar predisposed to ³wild accusations´; overbilled and used unlawful collections methods; abused the legal process; was a ³psychotic misfit´ with a ³psychotic agenda,´ besides being a ³creative, twisted, lying son of a bitch.´

 After nine months had passed since Mr. Johnson filed the original complaint, he besought the Bar, which had yet done nothing, to ³get off your bureaucratic asses and do something before this twisted madman lands us all on the six o¶clock news.´

 The defamation suit against the Johnsons was ultimately dismissed by the circuit court and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal. The lower court held that most of the statements made were mere opinions or were hyperbole not to be seriously construed as statements of fact, and that other assertions were not otherwise actionable.

 The few fact-like statements that would be actionable if false were protected or absolutely privileged because they were made in a complaint to public officials for redress of grievances.

 Therefore there was nothing to be taken to trial. But that was not the end of the duress for the Johnsons, who refused to be slapped into silence and who claimed they had fronted nearly a quarter million dollars to defend themselves, which they were at a loss to fully recover.

 As for The Florida Bar, it took no action against Mr. Libow or other lawyers at his firm or against his father-in-law, Mr. Tifford, even though threatening to file or filing a suit against someone for bringing an inquiry or complaint to The Florida Bar is a prima facie violation of the ethical standards promulgated by the Bar.

 For example, in The Florida Bar v James Daniel Eckert, File No. 2009-11,071 (6C), The Florida Bar averred that Mr. Eckert had represented Jean Camposecco in post dissolution of marriage proceedings, and that, while the case was pending, the opposing party, Robert Camposecco, filed an Inquiry/Complaint form against the lawyer with The Florida Bar, which it received on March4, 2009, alleging that Mr. Eckert had blackmailed him, and had personally called him at home although he was represented by an attorney, one Phillip McLeod.

 Those complaints were dropped or dismissed by the Bar although it did not create a record explicitly discharging them. However, the Bar on its own initiative charged Mr. Eckert with threatening to sue Mr. Camposecco with defamation for bringing the complaint.

 On December 30, 2009, the Sixth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee found probable cause for further disciplinary proceedings, that the Respondent had violated Florida Bar: Rule 4-8.4(d), stating that a lawyer shall not engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

 The probable misconduct was stated as: ³On or about July 9, 2009, Respondent wrote a letter to a complainant threatening to sue him for defamation and damages unless he withdrew his Bar complaint and issued a letter of apology within five days.´ The lawyer and his attorney claimed ignorance of the Rule and the common law involved, and copped a plea.

 To the best of our information and belief, The Florida Bar has not been sued for its gross negligence or otherwise taken to task for its dereliction of duty in the Libow v. Johnson matter although it has been aware of the infraction of its Rules since 2004 (the Bar has as recently asthis 2011 reviewed documents in the matter) yet did nothing to stop the malicious prosecution of the Johnsons, which would have saved the courts and everyone else concerned a great deal of aggravation, time and money.

  It is reasonable to assume that the power elite at the Bar have a favorable relationship with Mssrs. Libow and Tifford, or that the persons involved at the Bar are incompetent; in either case they should be discharged from their offices forthwith, as they would be if they worked for a good law firm, and perhaps subjected to Bar investigations themselves.

 That is highly unlikely to happen, however, unless the Press, the so-called fourth branch of government, is willing to shed light on the matter, something that mainstream publications including the Miami Herald  and the South Florida Business Journal  have failed to do, despite being fully informed of the particulars of the public record over the past year, presumably because professional journalists dare not alienate the judiciary, the source of their press shield and one of their main news sources.

LawReader Study Questions Efficiency of Work Produced by KBA Bar Counsel’s Office

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley

In 2010 the Bar Counsels Office handled 2.4 cases or motions per employee, at an average cost of $25,000 per each case.  The annual budget for the Bar Counsel’s Office is $1,600,000, the largest single expenditure of the KBA.  This is paid by dues collected from Kentucky’s 17,000 lawyers.  

These numbers raise the question of whether or not the Board of Governors’ is spending attorney dues money wisely, and are they exercising proper administration of the Bar Counsel’s Office.

 

SUPREME COURT RULINGS ON ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE CASES FOR 2010

 This chart shows the actual caseload of the Supreme Court regarding Attorney Discipline Actions Originating from the Ky. Bar Association.

 RESULTS for 2010:

 50  Original discipline actions considered by Supreme Court

11  Restoration motions considered

  3 Temporary Suspensions (pending findings of Board of Governors)

 AS REPORTED ON AOC WEBSITE UNDER SUPREME COURT MINUTES.

 The annual budget of the Bar Counsels Office is $1,600,000 a year.   There were 50 original discipline actions considered by the Supreme Court, 11 Restoration Motions, and 3 Temporary Suspension Motions.   Total 64 actions.

 This averages out to a cost of $25,000 for each of the 64 motions.  (Or $32,000 for each original action.)

 The Bar Counsel’s Office has 24 employees.  This works out to only 2.4 cases (including motions) per year for each employee of the Bar Counsel’s Office.

MONTH ORIGINAL  ACTIONS SUPPLEMENTAL MOTIONS PENALTIES IMPOSED
Jan 21, 2010 7 suspensions 1 reinstatement 30 days,1  indefinite, 4 yrs. 30 days, 90 days, 120 days, 30 days
February- No Supreme Court Decisions      
March 18, 2010 5 suspensions  (1 unpublished) 3 restatements 1 year, permanent suspension, 3 years, 61 days
April 22, 2010 6 suspensions,  1 fine 1 revocation of reinstatement 3 permanent suspensions, $250 fine, 2 years, 1 year, 61 days
May 20, 2010 6 suspensions 1 restoration 2 permanent disbarment, 1 year, 1 year, 30 days, 30 days
June 17, 2010 1 Public Reprimand 2 restoration Public Reprimand
July No Supreme Court Decisions      
August 26, 2010 8 suspensions 1 restoration, 1 temporary suspension

1 reinstatement denied

181 days, 3 months, 1 year, 60 days, 181 days, 5 years, 30 days, 30 days
September 23, 2010 4 suspensions, 1 non-lawyer contempt 1 restoration 4 permanent suspensions,
October 21, 2010 4 suspensions 1 temporary suspension 1 Indefinite suspension, 1 year, 30 days, 1 permanent
November 18, 2010 4 suspensions -(including 1 motion to withdraw) 1 temporary suspension 1 year, Public Reprimand, 30 days
December 16, 2010 1 public reprimand,         3 motions to withdraw 2 restorations, 1 motion Public Reprimand
 

BURR TRAVIS HELPS HORSE TRAINER FIGHT CANCER

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

The Louisville Courier Journal posted a story Tuesday July 5th. featuring Florence, Ky. attorney Burr Travis as a close friend  of a horse trainer.  Travis came up with a plan to help the trainer fight cancer.

The full story is posted on the CJ website at:

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110704/SPORTS08/307040070/Battling-cancer-trainer-Garry-Simms-has-his-best-Churchill-Downs-meet-ever?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

Quote from the article:

“Simms and his wife say the trainer wouldn’t be alive today if not for the help of the trainer’s owners, who are among his closest friends.

Burr Travis, the Northern Kentucky lawyer who organizes many of the partnerships owning the stable’s horses, showed up unexpectedly at Simmses’ Shelbyville farm the day Garry got the harrowing early verdict. Travis announced that he had a plan of attack. It didn’t include Simms dying.

Travis became Simms’ self-described health-care manager, learning so much about multiple myeloma that one of the trainer’s doctors asked if he was a doctor.”

U.S. Supreme Court Decision is Shocking: The D.A. Stole His Life, Justices Took His Money –

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

By LINCOLN CAPLAN   July 3, 2011

In an important prosecutorial-misconduct case this term, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority threw out a $14 million jury award for a New Orleans man who was imprisoned for 18 years, including 14 on death row, for a robbery and a murder he did not commit. One month before John Thompson’s scheduled execution, a private investigator discovered that prosecutors had hidden evidence that exonerated him.

After his release, Mr. Thompson won a civil lawsuit against the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office, which had been led by Harry F. Connick, for its gross indifference to the incompetence of the prosecutors who violated his constitutional rights.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the 5-to-4 majority in Connick v. Thompson, said the D.A.’s office was not liable for failing to train its lawyers about their duty under the Constitution to turn over evidence favorable to the accused.

The lawyers had kept secret more than a dozen pieces of favorable evidence over 15 years, destroying some. That failure to provide training, the court said, did not amount to a pattern of “deliberate indifference” to constitutional rights.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a powerful dissent, which she read from the bench.

The Thompson ruling tore down an essential bulwark for ensuring that prosecutors are properly trained, and severely diminished the right of citizens everywhere to hold them accountable. The Supreme Court’s decision to shield the district attorney’s office from having to pay a monetary award for stealing 18 years of Mr. Thompson’s life is shameful.

Innocence Project New Orleans found that in 9 of 36 death penalty convictions while Mr. Connick was chief prosecutor, his office suppressed exculpatory evidence. It had one of the worst records in America on that score.

The New Orleans district attorney’s office is by no means alone in its failure to ensure justice in capital cases. Failure to turn over evidence is a chronic problem. Its consequences are magnified by the government’s advantage over the inexperienced and inept defense lawyers who are often assigned to indigent defendants. Many of these violations are exposed. Many other instances may never be uncovered.

The capital punishment system in this country has put many innocent people on death row. It cannot be fixed and should be repealed everywhere. With this ruling, the court made it even more likely that innocent people will be railroaded by untrained prosecutors — with the terrible prospect of their being put to death for crimes they did not commit.

Chief Justice Minton suspends hiring freeze, says no layoffs in Fiscal Year 2012

Friday, July 1st, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky., July 1, 2011 – Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. announced today that, after several years of budget cuts and austerity measures, the Judicial Branch budget is expected to remain stable for Fiscal Year 2012 (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012). The chief justice suspended the three-year hiring freeze for the state court system and said there would be no staff reductions in the coming fiscal year.

“I’m pleased our budget outlook has improved,” Chief Justice Minton said. “The court system had to take difficult steps to weather this recession, including layoffs, a hiring freeze and other measures. These actions, however aggressive they seemed at the time, have allowed the court system to avoid the worst-case scenario of mass layoffs, mass furloughs and closed courthouse doors.

“I think it’s fair to say that this has been the most financially challenging period for the Judicial Branch since our modern court system was created in 1976. Through it, we have emerged a stronger, leaner court system. While this is encouraging news, we must remain vigilant about monitoring our budget as the economy slowly recovers.”

The chief justice announced the news today in an email to all elected and non-elected court personnel statewide. The message also stated that the enacted budget bill for FY 12 does not provide for annual increments for any of the three branches of government.

The Judicial Branch has sustained millions in budget cuts since 2008. The Kentucky Court of Justice implemented a hiring freeze in May 2008 and, in September 2009, abolished 47 positions and trimmed operations. After the latest cuts last spring, the chief justice announced a plan in April 2010 to ensure the Judicial Branch could balance its biennial budget. The plan saved an additional $6.7 million and eliminated 113 positions, which was 3.4 percent of the court system’s non-elected workforce. The cuts were effective July 1, 2010, and affected all four levels of the court system.