FBI agent gets trial on suit over ‘botched’ chemo treatment

From Westlaw Journal Medical Malpractice: Missing medical records helped tip the scales in favor of an FBI special agent in her fight against a summary judgment motion by NYU Hospital Center over a chemotherapy mishap that permanently damaged her shooting hand.

Justice Alice Schlesinger of the New York County Supreme Court denied the hospital’s motion after reviewing the evidence and expert testimony.  NYU argued unsuccessfully that chemotherapy incidents like the one at issue can occur “in the absence of negligence.”

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Ruling in Connecticut preemie med-mal suit is based on murder-case precedent

From Westlaw Journal Medical Malpractice: An extremely preterm girl at 22 weeks’ gestation who died shortly after her mother gave birth was “born alive” for purposes of a wrongful-death claim in a medical malpractice action, a Connecticut judge has ruled, citing one of the state’s murder case rulings.

Judge Michael P. Kamp of the Fairfield County Superior Court was addressing whether the mother, Melanie Foster, could maintain a claim under Connecticut’s wrongful-death law, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-555, for her daughter who was born prior to being viable and then died.  Fetal viability is the ability of the fetus to survive outside the uterus.

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Increased condo dues doesn’t equal more victims, embezzler says

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime:A former property manager who embezzled $139,000 from a condominium association is seeking en banc review of a 2nd Circuit panel decision that affirmed his multiple-victim sentencing enhancement based on the increased dues that individual condo members must pay to make up the loss.

Peter Iovino says in his Feb. 11 petition for rehearing by the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the panel’s decision was contrary to the ruling in United States v. Abiodun, 536 F.3d 162 (2d Cir. 2008).

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Confusion, misunderstanding spike mail-fraud plea, 7th Circuit says

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime: Although a lawyer claimed his client was lying about a plea agreement and a trial judge approved the client’s admission of guilt, a federal appeals court has allowed the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea.

Mortgage fraud defendant Siamak S. Fard told the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Illinois federal trial court should have allowed him to withdraw his plea because he only pleaded guilty to wire fraud after his lawyer said the deal involved cooperating with prosecutors and no jail time.

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Defendant escorted to bathroom by armed agent loses suppression motion

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime:  A homeowner is free enough to tell armed federal agents to get out of his house during an interview even when he’s not free to use his own bathroom without escort by a sidearm-wearing agent, a federal judge in Tampa, Fla., has found.

U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell of the Middle District of Florida noted in her court order denying Cordell Jones’ motion to suppress statements he made at the time that “the agents never unholstered their firearms.”

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California man gets 17+ years, $500K fine in bankruptcy fraud case

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime: A California businessman who was convicted by a jury on 15 counts of bankruptcy fraud and related charges has been sentenced to 17 years and eight months in prison ordered to pay a $500,000 fine.

Steven K. Zinnel, who hid his roles in various companies from a bankruptcy court during a contentious divorce, will also forfeit $2.8 million in corporate interests and real estate under the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

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Justice Department says no to ‘strip down’ of tax lien in Chapter 13

A Chapter 13 debtor should not be allowed to void, or “strip down,” the unsecured portion of his six-figure tax debt, the Justice Department is arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The federal government’s Feb. 12 brief opposing certiorari defends a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held last July that Dewsnup v. Timm, 502 U.S. 410 (1992), bars debtors such as petitioner Patrick J. Ryan from stripping down their unsecured tax bills.  Ryan v. United States (In re Ryan), 725 F.3d 623 (7th Cir. July 8, 2013).

Ryan, who owes the government more than $136,000 in back taxes, only has about $1,600 of personal property securing the tax lien that the Internal Revenue Service lodged against him in January 2011, according to the government’s Oct. 4 certiorari petition.

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Former BofA exec faces 40 years, $1 million fine over muni bond scheme

Bank of America’s former managing director of municipal derivatives products has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges for his hand in a municipal bond manipulation scheme.

Phillip D. Murphy is the 17th person to have pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina or been convicted for their roles in the scheme, according to a Feb. 10 Justice Department release.

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JPMorgan pays $1.7 billion to resolve charges over role in Madoff scheme

JPMorgan Chase Bank has agreed to forfeit $1.7 billion for distribution to victims of Bernard Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.

Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a Jan. 7 statement that the payment is the largest ever penalty recovered by the Justice Department for a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.

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California appeals panel recognizes ‘narrow’ assignment of legal malpractice claim

A three-judge appeals panel in California has ruled for the first time that a legal malpractice action may be assigned when it is a small, incidental part of a larger commercial transfer of assets and liabilities between insurance companies.

The decision represents a “narrow exception” to the state’s general public policy ban against assigning legal malpractice claims, the appeals court said in an opinion reversing a trial judge’s finding that an insurance company lacked standing to pursue the assigned claim.

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