Interesting Case for Custody Evaluator Lawsuit / Immunity Rebuttal

Davis v Medical Evaluation Specialists  

(I’m only going to copy over the relevant parts – see the bold / underlined parts of what I have copied)
Appellant pleaded that local plaintiffs attorneys had detected a bias against claimants by doctors affiliated with MES. For example, appellant’s pleadings alleged that when MES physicians were involved, the reports allegedly all read the same, and the result was allegedly almost always a 0% impairment rating. Appellant thus alleged that MES and its physicians were not participating in good faith in evaluating workers’ compensation claims.(FN2) Appellant contends that MES was subverting the TWCA by recruiting physicians who would ignore the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines and knowingly assign false and fraudulent impairment ratingsthat would attract insurance company business.  

The TWCC then designated another doctor to evaluate appellant (A Second Opinion). The new designated doctor examined appellant and assigned an impairment rating of 21% under the AMA guides.  (second opinion was in disagreement with the bias doctor)  

(The bias doctors) moved for summary judgment, claiming absolute derived judicial immunity and qualified “good faith” immunity.   ( The trial court granted immunity) 

In point of error one, appellant contends it was error for the trial court to grant the summary judgment motions of MES, Dr. DeFrancesco, and Dr. Dozier based upon either absolute derived judicial immunity or qualified “good faith” immunity.    These appellees rely heavily on Delcourt v. Silverman (which Sherry relies heavily on)

(The second opinion) affidavit created a fact issue as to whether Dr. DeFrancesco and Dr. Dozier acted in bad faith when they assessed appellant
These appellees rely on Putthoff v. Ancrum, 934 S.W.2d 164, 166-67 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1996, writ denied), in which the plaintiffs complained that a negligent autopsy prevented them from proving their daughter was murdered. The pathologists claimed qualified judicial immunity, and their motion for summary judgment was denied.  

In City of Lancaster v. Chambers, 883 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Tex. 1994), the supreme court adopted a good faith test consisting of “objective legal reasonableness.” This standard applies in all qualified or official immunity cases. Murillo v. Garza, 881 S.W.2d 199, 202 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1994, no writ). The element of good faith is satisfied when it is shown that a reasonably prudent person in the same or similar circumstances would have taken the same actions. City of Houston v. Newsom, 858 S.W.2d 14, 18 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1993, no writ). To controvert summary judgment proof on good faith, the plaintiff must do more than show a reasonably prudent person would not have taken the same action; “the plaintiff must show that ‘no reasonable person in the defendant’s position could have thought the facts were such that they justified defendant’s acts.‘” City of Lancaster, 883 S.W.2d at 657 (emphasis added).  (No reasonable person like the list of a dozen experts that have come in behind Sherry with second opinion reports??)
plaintiffs did not lose because the defendants’ affidavits were unassailable. They lost because their own controverting affidavit was inadequate. All it stated was that the defendant doctors were negligent; it wholly failed to say that they acted in bad faith. See id. at 173.  

“We must also bear in mind that it is not appellees’ burden to disprove good faith, but merely to raise a fact issue.” Murillo v. Garza, 904 S.W.2d 688, 692 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1995, writ denied).  

The appellees claim that (the second opinion) affidavit was conclusory and unsupported by any medical or other objective data. We (the appellate court) disagree.  We sustain the first point of error.

Delcourt, 919 S.W.2d at 787. This argument must fail because we have found above that the physicians in question are not immune if they acted in bad faith, and a fact issue was raised on this question. Unlike the court-appointed psychiatrist and the attorney ad litem defendants in Delcourt, and unlike the corrupt judge in the Delcourt hypothetical, appellees are not entitled to common-law absolute derived judicial immunity. They are immune by statute only for their acts “in good faith.” For acts in bad faith, they have no immunity. Tex. Lab. Code Ann. §§ 413.054(a), 402.010(b). These appellees’ contention that they derive immunity from Dr. Dozier and Dr. DeFranceso fails for the same reason.  
We sustain the second point of error.

We reverse the judgment and remand the cause.  

Psychologist Can’t Be One Sided Expert

CHILD CUSTODY – EVIDENCE – PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAM

Kelly v. Kelly
No. 46748
(Idaho Supreme Court, September 10, 2019)
The magistrate court abused its discretion by permitting husband to retain psychologist to perform a parenting time evaluation as his expert, in divorce proceeding when child custody was a contested issue; parenting time evaluators can be selected only by stipulation of the parties or by appointment of the court, in either case, the chosen expert must be neutral, and not beholden to either side, and psychologist was ultimately paid over $105,000 to conduct the parenting time evaluation on behalf of husband. Further, the magistrate court abused its discretion when it ordered wife to undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling, as recommended by psychologist, husband’s expert, during child custody portion of divorce trial; a judge had no authority to order medical or psychological treatment in a child custody case unless there was direct testimony that such treatment would be in the best interest of the child, and there was no language indicating a psychological evaluation was in the best interests of child

Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Despite the decision out of our federal Supreme Court a few years ago that legalized same sex marriage across our country there are still some misunderstandings and questions regarding that subject. This is understandable to a degree. The change in laws dramatically altered the landscape of family law in terms of who is and is not able to participate in the family law courts. In addition, some folks I have spoken with in my capacity as a consultative attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan still have questions if marriage and divorce work the same for opposite sex and same sex persons. Today’s blog post will discuss marriage and divorce for same sex couples.

Expected length of time for a same sex divorce in Texas?

There are two roads that your divorce could go down. The first is the path of least resistance- an uncontested divorce. To be considered truly uncontested you and your spouse would need to be in agreement on getting a divorce, have a plan in place for diving up any marital property and if you have children would need to have every aspect of a parenting plan agreed upon as well. This means conservatorship, visitation, support, etc. all need to be decided prior to hiring an attorney. If even one piece of this pie is missing, then your divorce is not uncontested and will therefore require some degree of negotiation.

The second path is unfortunately the more common road that most divorces go down- a contested divorce. All of the above issues that I laid out are in play in a contested divorce. The more substantial your martial property or the more detailed your parenting objectives and plans are the more complicated and longer your divorce will likely take. There is not anything wrong with this as a general rule, but it can get tedious and tiresome for most people who are eager to complete their divorce and move on with the rest of their lives.

Generally speaking, a divorce in Texas must take at least sixty days from the date on which the Original Petition for Divorce is filed with the court. Ostensibly the sixty first date is the earliest date on which you and your spouse can have a judge sign a final decree of divorce. A final decree could be signed and ready the day after your petition is filed but absent extreme circumstances (like family violence being an issue) it is unlikely that a judge would waive the sixty-day waiting period. For those of you wondering, the waiting period exists in order for you and your spouse to make absolutely sure that you want to get a divorce rather than remain married and try to work it out together.

How can you avoid a long and protracted divorce?

The key to a fast-moving divorce is to understand early on that you are not going to get 100% of what you want. I wish there were some way to ensure that all of our clients always got just what they wanted out of a divorce but to this point I have not been able to do the math on how to get there. If any attorney ever does get to that point, then the rest of us may as well give it up and start looking for work elsewhere.

The reason that divorces end up being situations where you and your spouse both give up (and therefore gain) things in order to settle the case is that most family courts in Texas require that you attend mediation at least once throughout your case’s life. Typically, you will attend mediation once before any temporary orders hearings and then again before your trial.

Temporary Orders hearings have everything to do with how you and your spouse will be situated during your divorce from the perspective of making sure bills are paid, the kids are cared for and one another are treated with respect. Mediation involves attending a formal negotiation session with your attorneys in the office of a third-party mediator. The mediator is also very likely a practicing family law attorney him or herself so you will be able to gauge the relative strength or weakness of your arguments with the mediator as well.

In mediating for final orders you will likely be extending much of the temporary orders out into your post-divorce life as well as deciding what will happen with any marital property accumulated by you and your spouse. Texas is a community property state. This means that any property that you acquired during the course of your marriage is considered to be jointly owned by both of you and is therefore subject to being divided up in your divorce case. If it is your contention that something acquired during your marriage is your property separate from your spouse- like a gift of some sort- then the burden is on your to prove by clear and convincing evidence that this is the case.

Tips for preparing for mediation in your same sex divorce case

Attending mediation will be the same for you as it would be for persons going through any other divorce. You and your attorney should come prepared with settlement offers, a list of property that may be in play as far as negotiation is concerned as well as plans and ideas on how to divide up parenting time with your children. The more prepared you are and the more variations you have available to you of the different parenting plans the more likely you will be to reach a relatively pain free settlement.

For instance, it is commonly thought in opposite sex divorces that mothers have the advantage when it comes to being named the primary conservator of your child. Primary conservator means the parent who has the right to determine the primary residence of your child- among other rights. This allows your child to live with you throughout the school year and provides visitation time (mostly on weekends) to your spouse once the divorce has been completed.

In same sex divorces there would not be an apples to apples comparison due to there not being a male and female parent from which to choose from. You and your spouse should have had discussions heading into mediation regarding which of you is better suited to be named as the primary conservator of your children. Having an honest conversation with your attorney about which parent has been more active, more involved, and better acquainted with your children’s day to day needs is a good place to start. My admitting to yourself that your spouse has taken the lead in these areas throughout your marriage or has a work schedule that is more conducive to providing the level of care that is needed to raise a child on a daily basis is not admitting that you are not a good parent. It can, however, help you to eliminate contentious delays in your case and lead to a more developed settlement agreement.

Another aspect of divorce mediation that you need to be prepared for is determining how to divide up your bigger financial assets. Retirement plans, bank accounts, home equity and the like are probably the type of assets that you will have in play for your case. If you have not considered these subjects prior to entering into mediation you will find out that you will need to work through them in mediation. Seeing as how most mediation sessions are only four hours long you will not be optimizing your time by spending an undue amount of time on these sort of brain storming sessions while in mediation. Rather, spend a few weeks prior to mediation using your attorney as a go-between to communicate settlement offers to your spouse.

Finally, it is important to note that what you settle upon in mediation cannot (in most circumstances) be changed. That means that you cannot wake up the morning after mediation and call your attorney in a panic because you think you made a huge mistake in deciding to agree to a geographic restriction for your child when you really want to move back home to Colorado to be closer to family once the divorce is over with.

You can avoid problems like this by asking questions of your attorney about anything that you are agreeing or not agreeing to. If any settlements are reached (either in part or in full) then the mediator will present rough draft copies of what is known as a mediated settlement agreement to you and your spouse. You can and should go over them with your attorney to make sure that you understand everything that is being agreed to. If something doesn’t make sense, or if the wording of what the mediator included does not comport to the agreement as you understood it please raise that issue before mediation is over with.

Will you ever have to go to court in your divorce?

Thankfully you will likely only have one court date that you will have to attend during your divorce. That court appearance will be an uncontested appearance in what is known as a Prove Up hearing. The petitioner (party who filed the Petition for Divorce) will attend a quick hearing with their attorney in court. At the prove up hearing your attorney will be presenting you and your Final Decree of Divorce to the judge for his or her approval. The attorney will ask you questions regarding the divorce decree as a means to show the judge that you and your spouse have come to an agreement and are ready to move forward to close out your case.

In all likelihood your judge will not ask any questions and will send you off on your way. The divorce decree will be signed by the judge later that day and will likely be posted online in the day following. You can pay for certified copies at the clerk’s office shortly thereafter.

One question that I am sometimes asked by clients is how much of your prove up hearing will be heard by the public. It is true that anyone can walk into your courtroom during your prove up hearing and hear some details about your case. If you are at all trying to keep the divorce from becoming an “event” or something like that I understand why you may not be too excited to set foot in court and put your life on display in front of a handful of people.

I cannot emphasize, however, that it is unlikely that anyone in court other than the court report, judge, your attorney and you will be paying attention to a word of what is said. In Harris County, for example, you and your attorney will approach the bench and speak to the judge in a conversational tone. Therefore, a person in the first row of courtroom seats will have problems hearing what is happening in your case. The bottom line is that if you are worried about airing your business for all the world to hear then you should be at ease because a Prove Up hearing is not that kind of court appearance.

Closing thoughts on same sex divorce cases

It could be that you never imagined that you would ever get married in your life. Now you are having to contend with the thought of getting a divorce. This cannot be an easy time for you and your family. However, the attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to tell you that our office will stand with you throughout your case until your process is complete.

If you have any questions about the material that we have covered please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with our licensed family law attorneys. It would be our pleasure to talk with you and to answer your questions and concerns in a comfortable, pressure-free environment.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Pet Custody in Texas: Who Keeps the Pet in a Divorce?

Pet Custody in Texas: Who Keeps the Pet in a Divorce?

Originally published by Hendershot, Cannon and Hisey, P.C. Blog.

For many Americans, pets are part of the family. While that means our pets can bring years of companionship and joy, they can also become a significant point of contention when spouses choose to divorce. In fact, the issue of “pet custody” has evolved so much throughout the years that it’s become a matter many courts across the country are willing to hear, as well as a focused niche in family law.

At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., our divorce and family law attorneys have worked with all types of clients – from individuals and single parents to large families, married business partners, and yes – pet owners.

Because we know each client has their unique goals, we’re passionate about structuring the strategies to address what matters most them, and what’s most appropriate for their given circumstances. If your pet is part of your family, then we know it’s important to make them a priority – even if Texas courts that have traditionally treated pets as property fail to fully grasp that pets’ value is far more than monetary.

If you are considering divorce and are concerned about what will happen to your furry friend (or any pet or animal you’ve owned with a spouse), working with experienced attorneys can make all the difference in reaching a workable resolution. To help you understand how pets and divorce work in Texas, we’ve put together a few important things to know.

Pet Custody & Divorce: New Trends for the Modern Family

The role pets play in the family unit have made pet custody an increasingly more common area of focus in many divorce cases. Some of the latest developments related to pet custody and divorce make it clear it’s becoming an issue that’s gaining attention:

  • According to a report published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there was a nearly 30% increase in family law cases involving issues of pet custody between 2009 and 2014. During that same five-year period, almost a quarter of attorneys also reported an increase in cases where family judges characterized pets as assets in divorce.
  • Dogs and cats are the most common animals involved in divorce-related pet custody. However, there have been documented divorce cases involving all types of pets and animals, including reptiles, birds, and exotic animals. While many Texas divorces involve farm animals and cattle and livestock, those animals tend to viewed in terms of their monetary value, rather than the emotional value we attach to household pets.
  • Alaska became the first state in the nation to pass pet custody legislation in 2017. Under that state law, courts can consider the wellbeing of pets when making decisions over which spouse will be awarded custody, similar to how courts consider the wellbeing of children in proceedings over child custody (or “possession and access” as it’s known in Texas). A similar law passed in Illinois took effect in 2018, and a measure in California providing judges with the power to treat pets as people (by considering their best interests) became law on the first day of 2019.
  • Advocates and lawmakers from across the country are supporting efforts to raise awareness about this unique issue and introduce and pass pet custody legislation in other states. Earlier this year in Pennsylvania, for example, lawmakers introduced a measure that would differentiate domesticated pets as “companion animals,” and allow judges, if necessary, to decide upon custody of the pet.

Pet custody is certainly not a new issue; spouses have been battling over pets or animals in family courts for decades. However, a lack of clear legislation on how pets are to be viewed in divorce, in addition to the larger role they play in modern families, often means it becomes a matter of discretion, with some judges taking the issue more seriously than others.

Still, it’s indisputable how much we love our pets, and questionable as to whether we may love them even more than people. As one New York State Supreme Court judge who oversaw a pet custody trial involving a mini-dachshund in 2013 noted in his opinion:

“People who love their dogs almost always love them forever. But with divorce rates at record highs, the same cannot always be said for those who marry.”

Pet Custody in Texas Divorce Cases

Although there has been no specific pet custody law passed in Texas, there are still many pet owners who wish to protect their relationships with their pets when it comes time to divorce, and many cases in the past that have dealt with all types of situations and disputes related to shared animals.

Even without a statutory law, there are a few things to consider when dealing with pet custody in a Texas divorce:

  • Pets as Property – The status quo in most Texas divorce cases is to treat pets like personal property. This means they can be deemed community property or separate property. In these cases, courts will generally follow statutory laws when awarding a pet to an owner who purchased or adopted the pet on their own prior to marriage (separate property).
  • Discretion – Although pets can generally be considered property in divorce, any owner knows they are far more than that. Given the emotional significance of the relationship between owners and their animals, judges may exercise discretion to allow owners to raise arguments over custody arrangements, and even consider the best interests of the pet. However, there’s now law requiring that they do.
  • Agreements and Options – As with many aspects of divorce, couples may have the ability to reach mutual agreements with one another over what happens to family pets. This may be facilitated through out-of-court negotiation or mediation that resolves the issue with a property division agreement. It can also result in any number of options for what that agreement looks like, such as having one spouse take one pet and another spouse take the other, or awarding a spouse other assets in exchange for possession of the pet. For some divorcing spouses who end a marriage on good terms, or for whom their pets are that important, it can even involve time-sharing or visitation, depending on their personal wishes.
  • Disputes – Although pets bring us unconditional love and companionship, they can become a focal point for disagreement in divorce. When disputes arise, it becomes important for pet owners to work with experienced attorneys who can leverage their understanding of existing laws, case law, and their ability to illustrate the unique and special relationships clients have with their pets when pursuing a positive outcome. This can be especially important in cases where custody of a pet is being sought as a means to harm the other spouse (i.e. as an act of “revenge”), or when there are other factors involved that would mean pets carry more “value” in terms of being a unique asset, such as pets used as show animals, for breeding, or for performances.

HCH: Protect Your Rights & What Matters Most to You

Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. has earned national recognition as proven and experienced divorce and family lawyers, as well as the trust of clients who valued the personalized focus and dedication we devote to their cases and the issues which matter most to them. By working closely with clients, we gain a better understanding of the key issues in their cases, and are driven to help protect their rights as we pursue the most positive outcome possible.

If you have questions about divorce, property division, or your pets, our team is here to help. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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productive co-parenting communication

Developing Productive Co-Parenting Communication

productive co-parenting communication

 

Parenting can be difficult even in an in-tact household wherein even residing together the time spent together as parents, uninterrupted in thought and time for discussion, results in many discussions occurring through text, email and in passing.

Of course, the hustle and bustle of the world we live in as parents leave much room for errors in schedules, forgotten appointments, and confusion as to who is where. This is even more difficult for two parents who do not reside together yet share in one mutual goal- raising and being involved in their children’s schedules and lives on an equal basis.

Productive Co-Parenting Communication

Married or not, raising children takes a lot of communication. Unfortunately, communication in relationships that have broken down for one reason or the other is made even more difficult and can create a host of issues for couples attempting to co-parent absent a close relationship or any at all for that matter. As family law attorneys, we are often faced with questions, concerns and issues from our client stemming from the lack of communication, i.e. the other side not providing information or not being responsive.

Other times, the absence of communication is used to assert control and intentionally keep the other parent out of the loop. On the other hand, some parents utilize communication in a manner which is harassing such as incessantly texting, calling, or making things difficult. Either way, the reality is that communication in strained relationships can be incredibly difficult and as a result, children suffer by missing activities, homework assignments, family outings, etc.

Therefore, focusing on simple ways to communicate, absent the need to involve lawyers and judges, is the most productive and cost-effective way to co-parent when the relationship with the other parent is less than ideal. The reality is that the involvement of lawyers and the court’s not only costs thousands of dollars, but there is also a delay in resolution by virtue of the time needed for everyone to respond.

Therefore, it is simply not practical on any level to require the use of your lawyer to communicate about everyday issues regarding your children.

It is significant to note that communication is one of the primary statutory factors the courts consider in determining custody and parenting time arrangements. Moreover, just not getting along is not enough to prove that two adults cannot communicate in a manner which would cause a court to minimize either parent’s role.

In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court has long held that joint legal custody is the “preferred” custody arrangement and that this requires sharing the responsibility for jointly making “major” decisions regarding the child’s welfare, developing a productive way of communication is key to the success of not only the co-parenting relationship but the children’s success overall.

That being said, family law attorneys, as well as Judge’s, are mindful of the difficulties parent’s may have communicating during less than ideal times. Therefore, the focus and trend have been to encourage the use of apps that parties can utilize to limit and focus the communication to just the issues versus the text message and/or email chains that seemingly increase in hostility with the back and forth involved.

For example, one method of communication often utilized by co-parents, either by way of agreement or more frequently now being Court Ordered, is Our Family Wizard.  Our Family Wizard obviously cannot circumvent the use of communication as a weapon in contested or tension ridden co-parenting relationships, however, it is designed to assist parents by having categories that limit and narrow the issues and minimize the probability of misinterpretation of miscommunication.

Parents can download the children’s schedules, they can monitor parenting time changes in their schedules, and even scan in the children’s expenses, none of which can be altered if needed for use in Court. In other words, it is a protected forum which allows communication between parents about the issues relating to their children and provides clearer documentation in the event that communication (or lack of same) is the overriding issue.

In sum, learning and finding a way to communicate is essential to raising children regardless of the status of your relationship. Utilizing applications such as Cozi, Our Family Wizard, Truece, and other applications which permit scanning, scheduling and limit the opportunity for emotions to supersede the issues is beneficial to everyone’s quality of life, especially and most importantly the children involved.

The post Developing Productive Co-Parenting Communication appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Demand to AOC for removal of corrupt Head of Bergen Family Court, Judge Peter J. Melchionne

Demand to AOC for removal of corrupt Head of Bergen Family Court, Judge Peter J. Melchionne

Demand to AOC for removal of corrupt Head of Bergen Family Court, Judge Peter J. Melchionne 1
“The Godfather”
played by pedophile-lovin Judge Peter J. Melchionne, Head of the Bergen Family Court

In a complaint letter and addendum filed this past week with Glenn Grant, J.A.D., Acting Administrative Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in New Jersey, New York mother Karin Wolf is demanding the removal of Judge Peter J. Melchionne, the Presiding Judge of the Bergen County Family Court in the State of New Jersey, and calls for an investigation into the matter.

According to Wolf, “What New Jersey needs is a public task force hearing like the one they did in Connecticut in 2014, where parents testified over the course of 14 hours about the perversions of family court.”

Ratings on Judge Peter J. Melchionne from The Robing Room:

Demand to AOC for removal of corrupt Head of Bergen Family Court, Judge Peter J. Melchionne 2
Demand to AOC for removal of corrupt Head of Bergen Family Court, Judge Peter J. Melchionne 3

Ms. Wolf posits that the State of New Jersey had no compelling state interest to prevent her kids from leaving the State and returning to her, as the children became domiciled by operation of law with her in the State of New York upon her ex-husband’s death in April 2018. Ms. Wolf says the State of New Jersey has once again, violated her fundamental rights embedded in the United States Constitution and that this case is ripe for a 5.1 constitutional challenge in the federal court.

Some background of the case – In 2013, Karin lost her kids after years of being denied legal representation by the State of New Jersey, including the Bergen Family Court dismissing her attorney 15 minutes prior to trial, forcing her to proceed unrepresented, violating her Due Process rights; and the Appellate Division blocking her from perfecting an appeal by allowing the Office of the County Counsel to deny her free transcripts, which they were required to do pursuant to a U.S. Supreme Court precedent. In 2014, Judge Gerald C. Escala, known for taking a bribe in the Denike v. Cupo case, retaliated against Karin for filing a grievance against him and trying to protect her kids, barring Karin from contact with her kids.

In 2014, Karin sued the Office of the County Counsel in federal court and it was reprimanded by a federal judge. In that case, James X. Sattely, Esq. represented the Office of the County Counsel as a defendant; and Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol, now Head of the Bergen Court, was also a defendant.

James X. Sattely is now a judge in the Bergen County Criminal Court, who has, in a major conflict of interest, presided over Karin’s recent criminal case, where she’s being vilified (as the only living parent) for picking up her 14-year-old daughter during the summer of 2018 in North Carolina, for safety reasons, when the girl ran away from her stepmother Luciana Coutinho-Crane, whom the child alleges physically abused, sexually harassed, and medically neglected her.

In the fall of 2017, Karin’s young teenage daughter disclosed that her stepmother Luciana Coutinho-Crane was physically abusing her, leaving bruises on the child and spitting in her food; and that Coutinho-Crane’s father, Plinio Coutinho, kicked her and was exposing Karin’s kids to pornography; and that the child’s father, Edward Crane, was ignoring the problem and coercing the child to keep quiet, threatening her with foster care. As we’ve seen as customary for child protective services agencies throughout the U.S. in promoting abuse and pedophilia, the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP, formerly known as DYFS) covered it up and let it fester.

Demand to AOC for removal of corrupt Head of Bergen Family Court, Judge Peter J. Melchionne 4
“Cunt-ho the Wicked”
played by Luciana Coutinho-Crane
(Sadistic Stepmother whom child says abused her and exposed her to pornography)

Concerned for her children’s safety and morality, and placed in an untenable predicament, Ms. Wolf began checking up on the kids and seeking alternatives to Bergen County Family Court’s corruption.

In October 2017, Edward Crane (who had threatened to shoot his ex-wife Karin in the past) chased Karin in the car through the streets and highway spanning five towns in Bergen and Passaic counties, toting what is believed to be a gun. Karin called 911, and a police pursuit ensued.

Karin got a restraining order in her home state of New York and filed domestic violence criminal complaints against Edward in both Bergen and Passaic. Judge Meola in Passaic County found probable cause on four counts and scheduled an arraignment. On the other hand, Kimberly McWilliams of the Glen Rock Municipal Court (Bergen), either ill-trained or without smarts to know the difference between a civil complaint and a criminal one, refused to file the domestic violence criminal complaint, insisting Karin go to the Bergen Courthouse to file for a civil restraining order (despite Karin reiterating she already had one from New York – this did not compute).

Det. Sgt. James Calaski of the Glen Rock Police threatened Karin, saying that the State of New Jersey would not enforce her restraining order, despite federal law saying it must. Audio of the 911 call she placed on the day of the incident also revealed Chief Dean Ackerman of the Glen Rock Police victim-shaming her on the tape. Karin then filed criminal complaints against Calaski and Ackerman, as well as misconduct complaints with Internal Affairs.

For more on the sins of the Glen Rock Police Department, see heading below, “A Culture of Troglodytes in Glen Rock.”

On April 12, 2018, Karin brought Coutinho-Crane’s alleged abuse to the attention of Judge Melchionne of Bergen County Family Court and filed for a change of venue. Four days later on April 16th, Karin Wolf’s ex-husband Edward Crane died, and Karin Wolf became the sole surviving custodial parent.

Mr. Crane’s short-term wife, Luciana Coutinho-Crane hid the death from Karin for nearly a week. Officers at GRPD (buddies of Edward Crane) refused to assist Karin get her kids back peacefully, also revealing they’re without smarts to understand what a restraining order looks like.

In an effort to swindle the kids’ 2 million dollar inheritance, Coutinho-Crane then ran down to the courthouse to file for custody of Karin’s kids claiming to be the their “psychological mother” (whatever that is), employing Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli, & Conte, P.C., a law firm Karin had used in the past in her custody case with her ex-husband Edward Crane. Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli, & Conte, P.C. failed to properly notify Karin, serve her with the petition, or the Order.

Brazilian native Coutinho-Crane claims Karin is unfit for exercising her First Amendment Rights blogging about political corruption (particularly in Bergen Court), posting on social media, and founding a non-profit called Women’s Civil Liberties Union. Of course, this was too luscious to resist, as the Bergen Court was given a self-serving opportunity to further retaliate against Karin, and did so by granting Coutinho-Crane, a Brazilian citizen, full custody of Karin’s two biological children; as well as a convenient politically-motivated Gag Order on Karin.

Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli, & Conte, P.C. also represented Edward Crane in the criminal proceedings at the beginning of 2018 and have not been forthcoming about their involvement with the Cranes and their previous involvement with Ms. Wolf.

On the record, Karin asked Judge Melchionne why her dead ex-husband’s name was handwritten onto the initial April 24, 2018 order as a co-defendant. Judge Melchionne stated he didn’t know – didn’t know what he was signing, if he did indeed sign it. Several orders in the case show inconsistency of the signatures. Also, Melchionne was at a judicial conference out of state that day, not sitting on the bench.

Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli & Conte, P.A. was, at that point, illegally representing both the Plaintiff and a defendant in the case.

Brian Shea, Esq. of Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli & Conte, P.A. disqualified himself, but is MFMC is still representing the decedent Edward Crane in the case.

As Karin states in the Addendum letter:

“…in the process of my deceased former husband becoming a co-defendant on April 24, 2018, Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli & Conte, P.A. was immediately required to disclose their representation of my former husband Edward Crane earlier in the year, withdraw as counsel, and withdraw the pleadings. This business of ‘file now, get orders signed, and ask questions later (IF anyone finds out)’ is not only unethical, but downright illegal.”

The case is ripe with Due Process violations and conflicts of interest.

“In essence, this is a de facto adoption without procedural protections in place, which I have repeatedly documented and stated on the record.” – Karin Wolf, Letter to AOC

As usual, Judge Melchionne appointed his mistress Valerie Solimano, Esq. as Guardian ad Litem (GAL). This appearance of impropriety has sent tongues wagging in Bergen – because you know, there’s only so many times you can hear that story about Richard Gere and the gerbil…

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“The Favourite Court-esan”
played by Valerie Solimano, Esq.
(Melchionne’s Mistress, appointed GAL on every case)

On May 7, 2018, Karin filed a civilian criminal complaint against Melchionne, Solimano, Coutinho-Crane, and several officers at the GRPD, for kidnapping, extortion, and official misconduct. At that point, Melchionne was required to recuse himself.

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According to Karin’s daughter, Coutinho-Crane and her dirty-old-man-of-a-father were still abusing her. This led to the child running away while on vacation in North Carolina and asking her mother to rescue her. Again, Karin was placed in an untenable predicament. Mother and child checked in with the police in Virginia and all was ok. Then, Ms. Coutinho called her buddies at Glen Rock Police Department to do her bidding in issuing a fake arrest warrant for the incident, which didn’t happen in New Jersey. No jurisdiction, but as we’ve seen, Bergen County just does what it wants, in martial law fashion.

At the time of her arrest, Karin’s criminal complaint was still pending against Judge Melchionne, Coutinho-Crane, and several officers at the GRPD. Certainly Ms. Wolf’s arrest and incarceration conveniently prevented her from testifying against them.

Within five days of the child running away, Coutinho-Crane stated she didn’t even want Karin’s daughter back. So much for her claim as the “psychological mother.” Apparently, having custody of the boy is enough to milk the trust fund, which together with the Bergen Court players in the case, have raided and plundered the children’s trust fund upwards of 300K. The case has employed about a dozen lawyers, GAL’s, doctors, and other family court leeches.

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“The Troll” or “Jayba the Hutt”
played by family court leech Jay Atkins, Esq.
(attorney for Wicked Stepmother)

Despite no finding of unfitness, abuse or neglect against Karin, the Bergen Court placed her daughter in foster care, on a case stemming from a case opened by the State of Connecticut against Coutinho-Crane for abuse and neglect, which New Jersey is gaslighting.

DCPP has been up to its old tricks again, taking people’s kids without basis, attempting to make a case when none exists, calling it “permanency” under the controversial Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA). CPS’ diabolical tactics are described in the book Legally Kidnapped: The Case Against Child Protective Services by Carlos Morales, a former CPS worker and whistleblower.

The UK equivalent of the ASFA is The Child Act of 1989, the subject of the documentary, England’s Stolen Children, originally aired in France as Les enfants volés d’Angleterre.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act is one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on taxpayers and families in America. The ASFA was part of welfare reform, but instead redirected the monies going to single mothers, to incentivizing government agencies like DCPP and family courts to use Orwellian methods to steal kids, including putting hospital holds on babies for predictive neglect. In the UK, The Child Act has prompted pregnant women into running to Ireland and France to give birth.

Passage of the Act was pushed by Republican Newt Gingrich in collaboration with Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, as well as Democrat Hilary Clinton.

Along with the ASFA, the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Act enables the State to steal children from their mothers in progressive Handmaid’s Tale fashion. First, remove the child(ren) from their mother, incentivized by federal money given to family court through the Fatherhood Initiative, then if the father dies, take the kids again via the ASFA. This is exactly what is happening to Karin Wolf and her children.

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The number of states now enacting anti-abortion laws is not surprising, as the business of misogyny via the Fatherhood Initiative and the ASFA are the pre-cursors. When Sarah Ragle Weddington, the attorney representing Roe in Roe v Wade was arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, she argued that pregnancy impacts a woman’s ability to attend school, work certain jobs and ultimately, succeed.

In an American climate of mass incarceration issues and criminalizing motherhood, white male privilege lawmakers aim at using these new anti-abortion laws as a means to control and incarcerate women.

The Sarah Ragle Weddington’s of today might argue the custody and adoption issues women have been facing in recent years are a reason why women should not be forced to carry a pregnancy that could have serious implications and circumstances down the road, like being jailed for protecting their child(ren) from abuse (as in Karin’s case), or facing a custody battle initiated by their rapist.

The State of New Jersey has subjected Karin and her kids to a rigamarole of absurd processes that violate their fundamentally and constitutionally protected right to be a family. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly stated the State can’t take people’s kids away absent a finding of abuse or neglect.

Karin states that DCPP has violated her and her children’s ADA and HIPAA rights. She states that DCPP is threatening to terminate her parental rights, yet has purposely failed to schedule many of the unnecessary reunification services it is requiring for her daughter to be returned to her.

“What this really is, is punishment for suing the State of New Jersey and exposing corruption in Bergen County. Donald Trump and David Duke can raise their children, but not me?”

In The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services, former Georgia congresswoman Nancy Schaefer, who was curiously murdered (along with her husband and her documentary filmmaker, believed to be for exposing CPS corruption), stated:

“…that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not returning children…”

Schaefer also stated:

“State Departments of Human Resources (DHR) and affiliates are given a baseline number of expected adoptions based on population. For every child DHR and CPS can get adopted, there is the bonus of $4,000 or $6,000. But that is only the beginning figure in the formula in which each bonus is multiplied by the percentage that the State has managed to exceed its baseline adoption number. Therefore States and local communities work hard to reach their goals for increased numbers of adoptions for children in foster care . . . [and] there is double dipping.”

“The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. There is funding for foster care, then when a child is placed with a new family, then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved and so is Medicaid; as you can see this program is ordered from the very top and run by Health and Human Resources. This is why victims of CPS get no help from their legislators.”

DCPP and the Bergen Court also purposefully excluded Karin from the Child Placement Review Board hearing at the beginning of the case, and attempted to exclude her from an Internal Placement Review (IPR).

Karin also states that DCPP had a psychologist, Dr. Marc Singer, who is an ex-cop, violate her rights under the ADA/ADAAA and interrogate her about the underlying criminal matter, without a lawyer present, causing her to invoke her Fifth Amendment right and abruptly leave the evaluation.

DCPP and the Bergen Court are pushing a report from pen-for-hire Dr. Allywyn Levine, an evaluator who attempted to diagnose her under the DSM-V, without meeting or speaking to Karin even once. That report was commissioned by Valerie Solimano, who is aligned with the stepmother, because hey, when you are a litigant who has brought 2 million dollars to the table, why not be rewarded? No surprise, that report says Karin’s daughter should go to foster care (why DCPP loves it) or be shipped off to boarding school, with, wait for it….Coutinho-Crane in charge of all the money.

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“The Hired Handjob”
played by pen-for-hire Dr. Allwyn Levine
(Psychologist who fraudulently diagnosed Ms. Wolf without ever meeting or speaking with her)

A significant portion of that money and the children’s status was subject to a divorce agreement between Karin and Edward, which he violated.

Karin also states that the public defender the Office of Parental Representation of the State of New Jersey appointed for her is useless, an ornament placed there by the State. Karin’s attorney, Michael Lamolino, Esq. refuses to assert her rights, including Karin’s demands that he prepare and file a written answer to the initial Order to Show Cause filed by Attorney General, and his refusal to make a Motion to Recuse Judge Melchionne when Melchionne has violated the ADA and has remained on Karin’s cases, despite her criminal complaint against him. In fact, the New Jersey handbook for public defenders specifically bars public defenders from zealous representation of the parents they are representing.

Judge Melchionne’s tyranny is such that Karin’s private attorney in the custody case, Louis Lamatina, Esq., also refused to make a Motion to Recuse Judge Melchionne, so as not to provoke, “Judge Melchionne’s ire.” This is common for family law attorneys who don’t want to “upset the apple cart” so as not to encounter problems in their careers down the road.

Karin said she had to write Judge Melchionne directly on February 13, 2019, demanding his recusal and refusing to sign a coerced financial settlement at that point. This incensed Melchionne, who retaliated by appointing a GAL for Karin, so that she could no longer make decisions in her case, including firing her attorney Lou Lamatina, Esq.

“Accordingly, I refused to solidify a financial settlement in the case. In retaliation, Judge Melchionne appointed a GAL for me without a finding of mental unfitness. Moreover, I have not been supplied with any handbook or set of State guidelines as to what GAL’s can and cannot do. Therefore, the appointment of all GAL’s for my children and me is void for vagueness.”

Lydia Tatekawa and Lavar Parker, two social workers at DCPP, have been illegally tampering with a witness, relentlessly trying to convince Karin’s daughter she was “kidnapped” by her only parent. Enlisted by the Bergen Prosecutor’s Office to manipulate the case for the State, and harboring a Napoleon complex, Tatekawa’s shady tactics are obsessive, akin to Inspector Javert of Les Misérables or the Spanish Inquisition. The daughter, now 15-years-old (almost 16), has maintained throughout that she ran away to escape the stepmother’s abuse, asked her mother to pick her up, and checked in with the police in Virginia. Karin’s daughter has gotten feisty with Tatekawa and told her off, along with Karin’s brother telling Tatekawa to f–k off. This sent Tatekawa’s knickers in a twist, and further lodged the bug up her ass. Mon dieu!…Confess! Confess! Karin has not, in fact, been charged with kidnapping.

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“Inspector Javert”
played by Lydia Tatekawa, Adoption Supervisor and Gaslighter

Tatekawa and Parker are also relentless in attempting to convince Karin’s daughter that Karin is mentally ill, despite a psych eval that says she’s not.

Recently, Judge Melchionne has jumped on that bandwagon, gaslighting Karin’s daughter and lying to her. As Godfather of the Bergen County Family Court, he must maintain the RICO enterprise.

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As Schaefer stated:

“…caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored…”

“…the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets…”

DCF/DCPP is required to place the child(ren) with relatives first, yet in the case of Karin’s daughter, DCPP refuses to place the child with her only living biological and beloved grandmother, Karin’s mom, who helped raise Karin’s kids for many years while Karin worked.

As Schaefer stated:

“…relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.”

Schaefer stated:

“…the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer…”

Despite the Gag Order, Karin Wolf has gone public with her story, as is her First Amendment right. Several years ago, the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, struck down a family court Gag Order as unconstitutional.

As Schaefer stated:

“…Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a
confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid!”

A Culture of Troglodytes in Glen Rock

Glen Rock is an affluent suburban town fostering the Future Brock Turners of America movement and breeding future Handmaids. It’s a town that would rather not acknowledge domestic violence happens there nor have any “incidents” on their records, especially when the perpetrator is a white male.  According to the teenage male population there, girls are “bitches and ho’s” and “feminist pieces of shit.”  According to teenage female population at the school, Principal John Arlotta of Glen Rock High School (who has repeatedly covered up child abuse at his school) completely misses the mark on the #MeToo incidents happening or otherwise brewing at the school.

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“The Brock Turner”
played by Dean Ackerman, Glen Rock Chief of Police
(promoted to position AFTER sexually assaulting his co-worker)

In Brock Turner fashion, the Borough of Glen Rock promoted Chief Dean Ackerman to his current position after sexually assaulting his female co-worker, who sued the Borough.  Officer Matthew Stanislao also sued the borough in October 2014, after being sexually harassed by several officers at the Glen Rock Police Department for being gay, then was fired.  #MeToo

Then there is the 2015 incident where the Head of the Juvenile Division, Det. Sgt. Eric Reamy (then 51) was convicted of child endangerment for sexting a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl he’d been assigned to supervise.  Those girls have now sued the Borough.  #MeToo

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