CONSUMERS V. FOOD INDUSTRY

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/business/lawyers-of-big-tobacco-lawsuits-take-aim-at-food-industry.html?src=me&ref=general

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FORECLOSURE DEFENSE / KAREN KENNEDY, ESQ.

http://www.karenmkennedyassociates.com/va-foreclosure-laws/index.html

Virginia Foreclosure Laws and How They Affect You
VA Foreclosure Laws have recently caused a tremendous amount of difficulty for some people. When facing the possibility of foreclosure, or even when considering the purchase of a home, it is good to have an overview and general idea of the law in this area.

First, Virginia is considered among the states that operate under what is known as the “title theory.” The title theory regarding real property refers to the principle that a borrower purchasing real property through a loan from a lender does not actually hold the title. The lender holds the title in the name of the borrower through execution of a Deed of Trust.The title passes to the borrower upon full payment of the obligation to the lender. In contrast, a state that follows the lien theory allows the borrower to hold title to the property with the lender placing a lien through a mortage instrument.

Generally, a state that follows the lien theory requires a lawsuit to be filed by the lender in order to foreclose on a property and a state that follows the title theory does not require court intervention. Virginia, being a title theory state, follows the general principle and is a non-judicial foreclosure state. A Lender in Virginia, can send a borrower a notice of foreclosure sale and foreclose on the property within fourteen (14) days of mailing said notice. A Homeowner therefore may have little time to assess their legal rights when facing foreclosure.

Once a foreclosure sale occurs in Virginia, the homeowner loses many legal rights and opportunities. There is no redemption period for a borrower to redeem the property and stay in the home. The whole foreclosure process can take approximately 60-90 days for a lender to complete. If you find yourself in this position it is imperative to act swiftly and contact an attorney with experience in this area.

When purchasing a home and entering into an agreement with a lender to finance the purchase, a homeowner should be sure to read carefully every document and ask questions. By making an effort to protect their rights before entering a relationship with a lender, a borrower can save much headache later.

Karen M. Kennedy & Associates, PLC is an expert in VA Foreclosure Laws.

Her law firm focuses specifically on the practice areas of Foreclosure Defense. Our firm is located in Warrenton, VA and has attorneys who practice in Federal Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern and Western District of Virginia and various State Courts across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of legal service in the area of VA Foreclosure Laws to our clients and will work tirelessly on their behalf. Our firm has over 30 years of experience in the practice of VA forclosure law and is here to help with all of your legal needs. Contact our law office today to learn more about how we can help.

Why Choose Us?
CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE FIRM.
Stopped Over 50 Foreclosures
Completed Over 40 Loan Modifications
Will Travel to Personal Injury Clients

CHANGING BIRTH CERTIFICATE / TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS / DNA TESTING

http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&srchtype=discussedNews&gid=3229018&item=117623353&type=member&trk=eml-anet_dig-b_pd-ttl-cn&ut=1kuy7uSMJgYRk1

 

Virginia Attorney Forum

Follow Valerie Foley

Does anyone have any experience in amending birth certificates?
Looking for procedural assistance in amending a birth certificate in case where the individual listed as the father on the BC was later discovered to actually not be the natural father. Can provide more details if needed. Thanks in advance!

2 months ago

6 comments

Follow Ken
Ken Labowitz • Some years ago I was involved in a case in which a correction was made in a birth record. My recollection is that the process was quite simple through the Vital Statistics office, but my case did not involve paternity. My suggestion is to start by calling the Vital Statistics office in Richmond and see if there is a form. I recall being surprised about how routine it was to get a new certificate– apparently it happens surprisingly frequently, such as for adoptions (a new certificate is issued showing the new parents of the adoptee).
2 months ago• Like

Follow Kathleen
Kathleen Havener • I am doing this tomorrow in Ohio. I will report back — this is to have the purported (but not actual) father removed from the child’s birth certificate. Tomorrow’s proceeding is a hearing.
2 months ago• Like

Follow Rhetta
Rhetta Daniel • I did one in the 90’s that was in New York. It can be done, but you have to find out exactly what the jurisdiction requires from the Bureau of Vital Statistics or its equivalent in other states. Then you have to follow the procedures they outline exactly in order to get the birth certificate modified. I had to get a “Certified Order”, not a copy teste, from the appropriate Circuit Court in Virginia for the agency in New York before they would even consider amending the birth certificate. However, other states may have different requirements.
2 months ago• Like

Follow Toni
Toni Brown • In Virginia, you need to petition the juvenile court in the jurisdiction where the child resides and ask for a paternity test. When it comes back that the purported father is not the father, the court will notify Vital Records and the father’s name should be removed from the birth certificate at that point. That’s the method I’m familiar with. There may be a simpler way if all parties agree, but I do believe you have to have a court order.

Hope this is timely enough to be useful.
1 month ago• Like

Follow Valerie
Valerie Foley • Thank you to everyone who commented. The case has become somewhat more difficult since I first posted. Some additional information – the father listed on the birth certificate was deported in March 2011, and the client believes she knows the identity of the real biological father (but he ‘wants nothing to do with the child.’) Client is newly married and wants her husband to adopt the child, and I am trying to figure out the best way to do this given the acknowledged father/purported father issue. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
1 day ago• Like

Follow Toni
Toni Brown • The actual biological father will have to be tested to see if he is in fact the father. A petition should be filed with juvenile court asking for determination of paternity. Once the biological dad is positively identified he then can say whether or not he agrees to terminate his parental rights and allow the mother’s new husband to adopt. If you start the adoption process without this the court is just going to appoint an attorney to represent the “unknown father” and all this will have to be done any way.
1 day ago• Like• Reply privately• Flag as inappropriate
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Edward Meyers, Eric Jensen and Michael H. Gladstone have joined the group.
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Toni Brown commented in the group on Does anyone have any experience in amending birth certificates?: The actual biological father will have to be tested to see if he is in fact the father. A petition should be filed with juvenile court…
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Valerie Foley commented in the group on Does anyone have any experience in amending birth certificates?: Thank you to everyone who commented. The case has become somewhat more difficult since I first posted. Some additional information – the…
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JURY NULLIFICATION AND MARIJUANA

http://www.readthehook.com/104819/jury-nullification-elephant-room

Jury nullification: The elephant in the room

By Lisa Provence | lisa@readthehook.com

Published online 6:50am Tuesday Jul 24th, 2012

There’s an elephant in every courtroom. Prosecutors and judges won’t show it to jurors, and even Virginia defense lawyers seem forbidden from mentioning this fact: If you think a law is unjust, you can acquit.

It’s called jury nullification, and such Founding Fathers as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson venerated juries as “the last roadblock to tyranny,” according to civil libertarian John Whitehead.

“The Framers of the Constitution were some of the greatest advocates for the power of juries to nullify,” says Whitehead, the founder of the Albemarle-based Rutherford Institute.

Charlottesville citizens got a taste of how the government deals with an unpopular law last week when six potential jurors were dismissed when they said they wouldn’t convict someone of marijuana possession because they thought the law was wrong. And even the judge noted that the last time she had a marijuana case, she couldn’t get enough jurors.

“The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy,” said John Jay, the first U.S. Supreme Court chief justice. With such a pedigree, why has jury nullification gone underground?

“In large part it’s because it’s no longer taught in schools, and it’s not favorable to prosecutors,” says Kirsten Tynan of the Fully Informed Jury Association, a Montana-based nonprofit dedicated to reminding each American jury that it remains “an independent body that objectively interprets the law and considers the facts.”

Many courts have interpreted a potential juror’s disagreement with an unpopular law as a threat to justice. That’s what allowed Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins to remove six drug law foes from the jury pool during the voir dire process for the two-pot-plant-possession trial of Philip Cobbs on July 18.

“That’s a clear case of stacking the deck for the prosecution,” says Tynan. “That’s not what voir dire is meant to do.”

Tynan asserts the juror interviews are intended to identify relationships that might pose a conflict for a juror, such as the accused being a family member or business partner.

“It’s not to exclude anyone who disagrees with the prosecution,” says Tynan, who notes that the governor of New Hampshire signed a law last month giving New Hampshire defendants something that Virginia defendants can only dream about: the right to tell the jury that they can consider the “application of the law” in addition to the facts of the case.

Tynan’s organization encourages citizens to publicize their hidden right– even if that means handing out leaflets to potential jurors. Such efforts have been fought by officials, as in the case of Julian P. Heicklen. A retired chemistry teacher, Heicklen was arrested and charged with jury-tampering for leafleting outside a Manhattan courthouse. To the delight of nullification fans, that charge was dismissed in April by federal judge Kimba Wood, who noted that illegal tampering would target specific jurors rather than Heicklen’s effort to provide the information to whomever would take it.

Jury nullification has a long, and sometimes proud, history in America, including the last days of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, when that federal law deemed slaves property that must be returned to owners. “Northern juries,” says Whitehead, “refused to convict those accused of violating the law by harboring escaped slaves.”

By the end of the 19th century, when juries refused to convict illegally striking workers and unions, the federal government clamped down on nullification, and a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1895 that judges were not required to inform juries of their right to nullify unjust laws, says Whitehead.
In the ensuing decades, such unpopular laws as alcohol bans during the Prohibition era, the draft during the Vietnam War, and what Whitehead calls the “unjust, unconstitutional” War on Drugs have all inspired jury nullification.
More ominously, nullification also has been accused of abetting Jim Crow-era cases in which all-white juries would refuse to convict a white defendant accused of killing or raping an African American. However, jury nullification proponents point out that such injustices stemmed more from a jury’s lack of racial diversity than with laws seen as unjust.
Death penalty cases are a high-profile example in which states such as Virginia and Texas have endorsed the practice of excluding jurors who say they can’t follow the law, notes Hook legal expert David Heilberg.

“How fair is that for the defendant?” asks Heilberg. “I think jury nullification is protected by the Constitution.”

And yet even the Rutherford Institute-affiliated legal team that defended Philip Cobbs in the case of the armed, helicopter-abetted, search-warrantless invasion of his property never told the jury about its right to send a message about potential misuse of drug laws. Lawyer Heilberg explains why.

“Lawyers have given an oath to apply and follow the law,” says Heilberg. “I don’t think it’s proper for a defense attorney to ask a jury to nullify the law.”

Perhaps, Heilberg suggests, the burden lies with citizens who serve on drug or other questionable cases, to think about the government effort pressing such a prosecution and then ask the question: “Is this the best use of your tax dollars?”

BANKRUPTCY FRAUD

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/shepherd-preyed-on-his-flock/2012/08/02/gJQATGOoRX_story.html

Shepherd preyed on his flock

By Michelle Singletary, Thursday, August 2, 10:52 AM

A Maryland minister who used parishioners to finance his luxury lifestyle was recently sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $630,000 to four church members who took out loans on behalf of the pastor to purchase cars and a mansion.

Prosecutors said Robert J. Freeman, 56, hid church assets to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts. He pleaded guilty to obstructing bankruptcy court proceedings.

In 2005, Freeman filed for bankruptcy protection claiming he was broke. But it turns out the pastor was hiding the fact that he was living in a $1.75 million, 9,000 square-foot home bought with funds from church members, reported The Washington Post’s Ann E. Marimow and Hamil Harris.

Freeman also failed to disclose that he also had received 11 luxury vehicles worth more than $1 million, also in the names of church members. Freeman served as pastor and leader of Save the Seed Ministry, Inc., Save the Seed International Church, and Seed Faith International Church.

Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. States Attorney for the District of Maryland, said Freeman “lived a life of fraud and deception, using millions of dollars from church members and fraudulently obtained credit to pay for luxury cars and a mansion while falsely representing in court that he was indigent.”

“The essence of this crime was taking advantage of unwitting people,” District Judge Roger W. Titus said before he sentenced Freeman.

Here’s the Color of Money Question of the Week: What do you think when you hear stories of pastors preying on their parishioners? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “Shepherd Preyed On His Flock” in the subject line. Please include your name, city and state.

Retirement Reservations

Two recent surveys and an opinion piece in the New York Times might have you wondering if individual investors truly have a fair chance of saving enough for their retirement.

Rich Smith of The Motley Fool wrote about a recent survey of financial services professionals that found that 39 percent of financial industry insiders “reported that their competitors are likely to have engaged in illegal or unethical activity in order to be successful.”

Smith said the survey also found that nearly one in four “believed that financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct in order to be successful.” Nearly one in three said they felt “pressured by bonus or compensation plans to violate the law or engage in unethical conduct.”

“Needless to say, these numbers are a bit discouraging,” Smith wrote. “After all, these are the people to whom we entrust our money, our nest eggs, our life savings.”

In another study, also reported by Motley Fool, researchers at the business schools for Emory and Duke Universities found that “in any given period, about 20 percent of firms manage earnings to misrepresent their economic performance.”

The research team surveyed 169 chief financial officers and a great majority of them said that the reason to manage earnings was to “influence stock price.”

DEFAMATION SUIT VS CRIME TIMES

http://www.readthehook.com/104973/picture-man-sues-crime-times-over-mugshot-mistake

The Hook – Charlottesville’s weekly newspaper, news magazine

Picture this: Man sues ‘Crime Times’ over mugshot mistake

By Courteney Stuart | stuart@readthehook.com

Published online 5:12pm Thursday Jul 26th, 2012

Four months after Crime Times erroneously labeled him a felon who’d been charged with gun offenses, J.T. Suddarth has sued the mugshot mag’s owners.

There’s little doubt that Crime Times has embarrassed plenty of people, but one man whose image appeared in the pages of the mugshot magazine after a misdemeanor arrest says the publication did more than humiliate him. In a lawsuit filed in Albemarle County Circuit Court against the Crime Times owners, James T. Suddarth claims his reputation was damaged when, in the March 20 edition, he was erroneously labeled a felon who’d been arrested on multiple gun charges.

The suit describes the published misinformation as “character assassination” and accuses father-and-son owners, Wade and Brad McMurray, of defamation for claiming in print that Suddarth, a 46-year-old used car salesperson who says he’d never been arrested prior to the misdemeanor, a DUI, was a convicted felon who’d rung up a trio of charges for, among other things, firing a gun into a building.

While the paper ran a retraction in the following week’s edition, Suddarth contended that it didn’t go far enough. Suddarth’s attorney, Dustin Rosser, says his client deserves compensation.

“We’re talking about damage to his reputation. What’s that worth?” asks Rosser, noting that while many lawsuits ask for millions, Suddarth’s demand for $100,000 is reasonable.

Related content
Mugshot drag: Crime Times error raises ire

Smile: Mugshot mag flying off shelves

More mugshots: Can Gotcha! survive with Crime Times?

“He’s not looking to ruin anyone or shut down the thing,” says Rosser, “but he does think they should pay a price.”

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg says defamation cases can be difficult to win, but he sees wisdom in setting the demand at six figures.

“If you sue for an unrealistic amount, that does seem like you care more about the money than about stopping the behavior,” notes Heilberg, adding that defamation cases are, generally speaking, more about principles than money.

Just filing the suit presented some challenges, Rosser says, noting that the first complaint, filed May 22, named Crime Times LLC as a defendant when, in fact, that mugshot magazine company, which is based in the southwest Virginia town of Hiltons, is a different entity.

“We had a hard time tracking them down,” says Rosser of the McMurrays, noting that there is neither an address nor a phone number published in the local Crime Times, which doesn’t appear to be incorporated. In late April, McMurray told a reporter that he doesn’t publish a phone number to eliminate allegedly frequent middle-of-the-night complaints.

Attempting to get a comment for this story, a reporter emailed and called the cellphone number that Brad McMurray provided for interviews for previous articles, but the messages went unreturned. In a pre-suit interview, he indicated that the misinformation about Suddarth, who ended up getting convicted of misdemeanor DUI, was not particularly troubling.

“Of the thousands of people that have been in the paper, I think getting one drunk-driving used car salesman upset isn’t bad,” McMurray wrote in an email. “If Mr. Suddarth doesn’t care about endangering people’s lives by driving drunk, I don’t care that his family is upset and wants to direct their anger anywhere but where it belongs.”

After this story was posted, Wade McMurray responded by email to what he described as his son’s “rash remark.”

“Just like Mr. Suddarth I have sold cars, new and used, to support my family. This profession is just as dignified and necessary as any other and I am sure Mr. Suddarth is a fine salesman,” he wrote, offering an apology to “Mr. Suddarth and anyone else that might have taken offense.”

Attorney Rosser says he tracked the McMurrays to a Tennessee address and recently spoke with Wade McMurray to alert him to the suit, which will likely be served on the McMurrays in the next week. Because Crime Times is not incorporated, Rosser says, the publication itself has been dropped as a defendant, although its owners remain.

“We’re confident that a jury in Albemarle County will be sympathetic to what Crime Times put Mr. Suddarth through,” says Rosser.

–Story updated Friday, July 27 at 12:20pm with response from Wade McMurray.

5

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11 comments
George Jefferson July 26th, 2012 | 5:53pm
That paper is worse than the Cville.

I Love C-Ville July 26th, 2012 | 6:58pm
absolute gossip rag…who buys that garbage? You could be totally innocent and be pictured in it.

Slav July 26th, 2012 | 6:59pm
You can ask for whatever you want but likely they won’t be able to prove damages. In addition, crime times files a retraction quickly just as other publications do. The issue here isn’t if a mistake was made or not, mistakes happen. The real issue here is if it was intentional and did Crime Times single him out. Evidence clearly shows the opposite. If I was on that jury that would be case dismissed.

local 42 July 26th, 2012 | 7:26pm
trash geared for trash, that is what this ridiculous waste of paper truly is and it saddens me that people around hear will buy this junk.

backwoodssouthernlawyer July 27th, 2012 | 7:32am
On the other hand, it is a great way to keep up with your friends from high school.

leddedup July 27th, 2012 | 9:00am
I heard Suddarth has a page on the local tea party website and that he shot up a movie theater. Oh wait, wrong Suddarth? The Crime Times sincerely apologizes for the mistaken report.

This was a classic line though:
“Of the thousands of people that have been in the paper, I think getting one drunk-driving used car salesman upset isn’t bad,” McMurray wrote in an email. “If Mr. Suddarth doesn’t care about endangering people’s lives by driving drunk, I don’t care that his family is upset and wants to direct their anger anywhere but where it belongs.”

Fierce!

VA Gal July 27th, 2012 | 1:24pm
I’m not ashamed to admit, I buy one every week. I want to see who has been arrested.

I Am The Walrus July 28th, 2012 | 6:28am
I wonder how much this legal defense is going to cost, and it will be really interesting to see how they plan to win this considering, the defendant did not lose his job, so where is any financial loss. Probably didn’t exactly have a shining reputation to “ruin” begin with, and how does he plan to prove it was allegedly “ruined”. Crime Times, I am pretty sure did not single out this guy for any reason, and it was a mistake, and not done with “malice”, a retraction was printed the very next issue,,.that said, I really don’t see much of a law suit here. Furthermore, the comments made by Mr McMurray about the whole “used car salesman” bit, states it was sent in and email, most likely correspondence between himself and the reporter, and was never intended to be part of the “story” or “interview” but it got published anyway,,not putting himself in the best of light,,so should he be suing the hook? And, IF Mr S were to win in court and claim the funds they are suing for, this sure makes getting a DUI worthwhile for him eh??
Mistakes HAPPEN. I am sure Mr Suddarth wants to be forgiven for his “mistake” of boozing it up and driving, so why should Crime Times have to pay for a typo,,,yes, a pretty embarrassing one, but a mistake none the less and especially 100k,,seriously??. This whole thing is nothing more than a convenient reason to try for financial gain over something that should have just been forgotten about.
Personally, with all the publicity from the Hook, I think he (Suddarth) has done nothing more than make SURE EVERYONE knows now that he drinks in excess and drives…Shining reputation. Tisk tisk,,

Max Frisson July 29th, 2012 | 8:21pm
It wasn’t the DUI but the irresponsible inaccuracy of false charges they reported that will end up costing the publishers.

That something like CrimeTimes exists is perfectly good reason to sue. Many cities 5 times the size of C’ville don’t have as many magazines and newspapers as there are around Albermarle County. But it’s still mostly small town gossip.

red nuckleberry July 30th, 2012 | 7:29pm
@ I Am The Walrus:
A “typo” has more meaning and repercussion in a “paper” that shows our neighbors faces with crimes attached. perhaps the paper should be held to a high standard because defamation through carelessness is easy to imagine.

Liberalace August 1st, 2012 | 10:36am
Only a used car salesman (oops, and a politician) would have the audacity (not of “hope”) to parade his face around to the press after pleading guilty to DUI. He actually shames the shamed with his campaign. Frankly, I find DUIs more pernicious that firing a gun in an occupied building; the latter happens routinely in these here parts.

R.I.P.: Buddy Ebsen

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