Archive for the ‘breach of fiduciary duty’ Category

HTC, Lawyers Sued by Nina Simone’s Daughter

October 9, 2013

CN) – The daughter of Nina Simone has taken aim at HTC over the use of the legendary jazz singer and pianist’s song “Sinnerman,” and at a law firm for allegedly mishandling her mother’s estate.
 Lisa Simone Kelly filed the federal complaint against HTC and advertising agency Deutsch LA in Manhattan on Sept. 27, claiming they neither sought permission nor paid the estate for use of “Sinnerman.”
She seeks $1 million in damages.
Her mother was signed to the Mercury Records subsidiary Phillips Record when she recorded the 1965 hit song, which fell under the umbrella of a collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the complaint alleges.
Because HTC is a party to contracts with the federation and the Screen Actors Guild governing the commercial use of recordings, it was obliged to negotiate with Simone’s estate before using the song, according to the 5-page filing.
Kelly filed a separate lawsuit that same day in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming as defendants her former attorneys Sussan Shore, Blake Rummel and the estate-planning law firm Weinstock, Manion, Reisman, Shore & Neumann.
In her complaint for professional negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, Kelly claims that the law firm failed to investigate whether Simone was domiciled in France when she died there on April 21, 2003, at the age of 70 after a long battle with breast cancer.
Kelly says that it was in her interest that administration of the estate take place in France under the country’s hardship laws. Weinstock Manion allegedly wanted Simone’s estate probated in California, however, because it would net them more in fees.
“Defendants knew that plaintiff Lisa Simone Kelly was in a vulnerable state after the death of her mother and wanted to close the estate quickly,” the complaint states. “The breaches of fiduciary duty by defendants caused the probate proceedings to drag on interminably with acrimonious litigation, arbitration and other disputes; indeed, ten years after Nina Simone’s death, the probate proceeding in California is still ongoing.”
Full Article and Source:

Criminal probe requested in conservatorship case

July 30, 2013

John E. Clemmons

Citing “incomplete accountings and other misrepresentations,” a court-appointed conservator is recommending that the district attorney general and the TBI open criminal investigations into a Nashville attorney’s handling of a conservatorship.

In a 26-page report filed Thursday in Davidson County Probate Court, Paul Gontarek found that attorney John E. Clemmons paid himself over $370,000 while acting as the conservator of Nannie P. Malone. Court records show that most of those payments were made without court approval.

Malone passed away last year at the age of 81, but her family has filed a civil suit against Clemmons, who is facing criminal charges in a separate case in Rutherford County.

Gontarek was named to replace Clemmons in the Malone case on April 10 after the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Clemmon’s license to practice law. Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy also named Gontarek to take over three other of Clemmons’ cases.

Gontarek said that his review of the four cases showed Clemmons routinely submitted accounting reports that omitted the payments he made to himself. He said some of those reports were “totally fraudulent.”

Full Article and Source:
Criminal probe requested in conservatorship case

See Also:
Nashville Attorney John E. Clemmons Charged With Theft in Conservatorship Case

Tennessee Attorney John E. Clemmons, Court Appointed as Conservator, Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, and More

Defalcation, Bankruptcy and Fiduciary Litigation

June 2, 2013

Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Bullock v. BankChampaign, N.A., which addressed the circumstances in which a breach of fiduciary duty judgment can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. Specifically, the Court resolved a deeply fractured Circuit split on the scope of the term “defalcation” within Section 523(a)(4) of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. That Section of the Bankruptcy Code provides that an individual cannot obtain bankruptcy discharge “for fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement, or larceny.” For years, the lower courts had struggled with what, exactly, “defalcation” means. Wonder no longer because the Supreme Court has defined it.

Full Article and Source:
Defalcation, Bankruptcy and Fiduciary Litigation

Nashville Attorney John E. Clemmons Charged With Theft in Conservatorship Case

May 29, 2013

A Nashville attorney, whose license to practice law was recently suspended, has been charged with theft of more than $60,000 from a client.

John E. Clemmons, 65, was charged last week with theft from a retired teacher.

While serving as the conservator of the Rutherford County resident, Clemmons paid himself more than $50,000 in fees without court approval.

Paul Housch, Clemmons’ attorney, said his client already had entered a not guilty plea to the criminal charge. He declined to respond to the charge, stating that it would be addressed in court. An initial hearing is scheduled for June 7.

The charges were initially spelled out in an April order from the state Supreme Court which indefinitely suspended Clemmons’ license to practice law, concluding that allowing him to continue posed “a threat of substantial harm to the public.”

Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III on March 5 removed Clemmons as Russell Church’s conservator. Rutherford County Clerk and Master John A.W. Bratcher then referred the matter to District Attorney General Robert Whitesell, whose office brought the charges to a grand jury.

The indictment was unsealed last week.

Clemmons also is facing charges in a civil case brought by the daughter of a woman for whom Clemmons served as a conservator for more than four years. The suit charges that Clemmons misappropriated about $450,000 from the estate of Nannie P. Malone, who died last year.

The suit on behalf of Malone’s daughter, Teresa A. Lyle, charges that Clemmons breached his fiduciary duty and failed to properly account for thousands of dollars in proceeds when Malone’s property was auctioned. The insurance company that provided a bond for Clemmons under his services in the conservatorship has filed a cross claim against Clemmons for the value of the $300,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Nashville Attorney Faces Theft Charges in Conservatorship Case

See Also:
Tennessee Attorney John E. Clemmons, Court Appointed as Conservator, Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, and More

TN Attorney John E. Clemmons, Court Appointed as Conservator, Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, and More

April 18, 2013

A Nashville attorney whose law license already is under suspension for misappropriation of a ward’s funds is being accused in a civil suit of misappropriating at least $450,000 from a now-deceased elderly woman whom the courts had entrusted to his care.
In the suit filed in Davidson County Circuit Court, John E. Clemmons has been charged with breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, intentional misappropriation of more than $450,000 and repeatedly failing to account for his handling of the estate of Nannie P. Malone.

In a 16-page complaint filed Friday, Teresa A. Lyle, Malone’s daughter, charged that Clemmons had sold off at auction hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Malone’s property but had failed to properly account for the proceeds.

The suit comes after the state Supreme Court indefinately suspended Clemmons license to practice law, citing him for misappropriation and concluding his continued practice of law “poses a threat of substantial harm to the public.”

The high court action stemmed from a Rutherford County case in which chancery court officials found that Clemmons had paid himself $50,400 without court approval from the estate of a nursing home resident who had been entrusted to his care. A review showed an additional $16,500 could not be accounted for.

In the suit filed in Davidson County, attorneys for Lyle charged that “Clemmons has not made any itemized accounting of any expense” incurred in the auction of Malone’s properties, including a 68-acre farm and four lots.

Full Article and Source:
Suspended Lawyer Faces Lawsuit in a Conservatorship Case
See Also:
TN Attorney John E. Clemmons Suspended After $50,000 Taken From Disabled Ward

Malpractice Case May Proceed Against New York Attorney Who Charged More Than $44,000 For Medicaid Planning To Protect Net Estate Worth $130,000

February 19, 2013

A New York appeals court allowed a case for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty to proceed against an attorney who charged more than $44,000 for Medicaid planning work to protect a net estate valued at about $130,000. Sobel v. Ansanelli, (N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div., 2nd Dept., No. 2011-11418, Sept. 19, 2012).

In August 2005, Mary Ellen Malone hired attorney Vincent W. Ansanelli to perform estate planning services, including asset protection, the preparation and filing of an application for Medicaid benefits, and the transfer of Ms. Malone’s cooperative apartment to her daughter, Christina Sobel. At the time Ms. Moore retained attorney Ansanelli, the total value of her assets was approximately $190,000, and she had debts of approximately $60,000.

Ms. Malone died in April 2008 and was retroactively found eligible for Medicaid in July 2008. Mr. Ansanelli sent a final invoice for the Medicaid planning work in February 2008. In total, Mr. Ansanelli charged legal fees of more than $44,000 for his services.

Full Article & Source:
Malpractice Case May Proceed Against New York Attorney Who Charged More Than $44,000 For Medicaid Planning To Protect Net Estate Worth $130,000