Archive for the ‘Defamation Suit’ Category

Unclean Hands: Suing for Defamation

August 15, 2013

Rebecca Schultz must have really touched a nerve when she removed her wealthy father from Jared E. Shafer’s “guardianship” back in September 2010.

In circumstances when an older wealthy married couple decide to retire to another state far away from their family, and then a spouse dies, a horrifying chain of events can occur.

In the case of Guadalupe Olvera, soon after re-locating to Sun City in Henderson, Nevada from their home in California, Carmela Olvera suddenly died. Based on Mr. Olvera’s multiple physical disabilities and his desire to stay in Nevada until his paid-for half million dollar home could be sold and his other financial affairs settled, Nevada law required that he be evaluated to make sure he was mentally and physically capable of handling his own affairs. In the absence of a relative living in Nevada, the clerk for Clark County Family Court Judge Jon Norheim recommended private guardian Jared E. Shafer be hired as temporary guardian over Olvera’s person and finances. The guardianship was supposed to be temporary and last only until Olvera’s financial arrangements were in order, but in opposition to Olvera’s wishes and the court pleadings of his only child Rebecca Schultz, the “guardianship” dragged on and on for over two years while Shafer bled Olvera’s trust and bank account of over $300,000.

After careful research, I discovered that the granting of Guadalupe Olvera’s wish to forcefully terminate Shafer’s “guardianship” and move back with his family was the first time one of Shafer’s “wards” has ever defied his unlimited power over their person and estate and escaped from his custody. In all other cases I investigated, Shafer defeated all attempts by family members to terminate him by convincing Clark County Family Court judges like Norheim that the relative was either a financial “exploiter,” or “unfit” to be their loved one’s legal guardian.

But Jared Shafer was not finished with the Olvera family. Three years after Guadalupe moved back home, Shafer filed a libel law suit against Rebecca claiming she authored anonymous Internet reports that damaged his and his cronies’ reputations. He did so without any proof Schultz authored the reports. Many believe Shafer’s libel suit was meant to send a message to the families of his other “wards” to not challenge his authority.

I view his baseless lawsuit against Schultz as a perfect example of a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) meant to silence future exposés of his highly questionable business practices.

Full Article and Source:
Unclean Hands:  Suing for Defamation

See Also:
NASGA:  Great Escapes: Jared E. Shafer Loses Guardianship, Looted Senior Citizen Returns to Claim Home and Possessions After Winning Termination in a Bitter Sweet Victory

California Court Rules Against Conservator in Defamation Lawsuit

March 12, 2013

A California woman serving as a conservator lost her defamation lawsuit against a Sacramento television station as an appeals court concluded that she could not prove that the reports aired the report with knowledge that their information was false, or at least reckless disregard for its falsity. In reaching it conclusion, the court in Young v. CBS decided that, because conservators are very powerful agents acting under the authority of a court order, and could reasonably trigger scrutiny by the public, they are public figures for purposes of defamation lawsuits. The ruling serves as a warning to any a conservator in California, making clear that, by accepting an appointment as a conservator, any person may subject him/herself to public figure status, and a much more difficult path to recovery, if he/she believes he/she is defamed by a news organization.

In November 2006, Sacramento County Adult Protective Services asked Carolyn Young to serve as the conservator for an allegedly incapacitated adult, 86-year-old Mary Jane Mann. Young, a professional conservator and fiduciary for more than a decade and a half, petitioned the court for the appointment. Almost immediately after the court appointed Young as temporary conservator, the senior and one of her daughters, Monika Mann, began contesting the conservatorship. A non-judicial mediation yielded an agreement where Young agreed to petition for dissolution of the conservatorship in exchange for Young becoming a co-trustee of Mann’s trust.

Shortly thereafter, the CBS television station in Sacramento, KOVR-TV, investigated the Mann conservatorship. A week later, KOVR aired a news story entitled “A Life Hijacked,” which stated that Young “effectively took over Mann’s life without Mann’s knowledge [including] Mann’s bank accounts, investments, and her trust. Young had Mann’s mail forwarded to her office and had Mann’s driver’s license lifted.” The report went on to claim, or insinuate, that Young stole from Mann, threatened her, battered her and trespassed onto her property.

Full Article & Source:
California Court Rules Against Conservator in Defamation Lawsuit

See Also:
California Court of Appeal Holds That a Private Conservator is a Public Official; Finds No Actual Malice Shown in Claim Based on CBS Report About Conservatorships