Lawyers – Farris Law Firm Fri, 30 Sep 2022 23:46:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lawyers – Farris Law Firm 32 32 ‘Don’t wait for the plane to crash’: Lawyers offer grim antitrust update Fri, 30 Sep 2022 23:10:12 +0000

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The Council of Multiple Listing Services offered its usual and highly anticipated legal update at its annual conference on Friday, and this one was a doozy.

According to panelist Chris Osborn, a partner at Seattle-based law firm Stoel Rives and attorney for Northwest MLS, things are not looking good for the real estate industry in several class action antitrust cases currently pending in federal courts.

Chris Osborn

“If you keep score, what you’ll find in the end is that it’s zero for the good guys,” Osborn told the nearly 1,000 attendees at the event.

“None of these cases – not one – have gone our way. Not one. On the contrary, things are moving quite quickly, with quite significant consequences.

“It will be a wild ride,” he added.

The lawsuits relate to controversial National Association of Realtors rules, including one that requires listing brokers to offer buying brokers a commission for submitting a listing to a realtor-affiliated MLS. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is also currently investigating the rule, and the Consumer Federation of America has released numerous studies condemning the rule.

The largest of the lawsuits are Moehrl and Burnett (formerly Sitzer), named after their lead home seller plaintiffs, whose defendants are NAR and real estate franchisors Realogy, Keller Williams, RE/MAX and HomeServices of America. Sitzer/Burnett recently obtained class action status and Moehrl is currently seeking class certification.

Another lawsuit, Nosalek (formerly Bauman), also challenges the rule, but sued an MLS broker, MLS PIN, rather than NAR, as well as the franchisors. Another suit, Batton (formerly Leeder), is challenging the rule on behalf of buyers rather than sellers.

Discount brokerage REX Real Estate sued NAR and Zillow over a different rule, NAR’s No-Mixing Rule, which allows MLSs to prohibit MLS listings from displaying online with listings. not MLS.

And two private listing services, The and Top Agent Network have filed antitrust lawsuits challenging NAR’s clear cooperation policy, which requires listing brokers to submit a listing to their MLS within one day. business after a property has been marketed to the public.

The Sitzer/Burnett case is scheduled to go to trial in February 2023 and there is no indication that it won’t, according to Osborn.

“This judge hearing the case is a ‘non-BS’ judge,” Osborn said, referring to Judge Stephen R. Bough of the U.S. District Court for Western Missouri.

” He does it. If someone files a request, they decide very quickly. The group certification process is complete there, which means that the applicants are no longer representatives of the group. It’s the whole class. There are thousands of plaintiffs in this case.

The damages claimed by the plaintiffs are “astronomical”, according to Osborn.

“We could call them an existential threat to the defendants, which include NAR and the nation’s largest brokerage franchisors. The claims could be mind-boggling.

The case is “unlikely” to be decided by summary judgment before trial, Osborn added.

“So that means that before we meet again, this matter will be decided,” he said.

Moehrl, who was filed in front of Sitzer and Osborn, called “the mother of them all,” is an even bigger case involving 20 MLS markets nationwide. Plaintiffs’ law firms are “straight out of the Who’s Who of plaintiffs’ law firms,” ​​Osborn said. “These are the guys who took on Big Tobacco. They are really big. They know what they are doing. »

But while law firms have “aggressively pursued litigation,” the judge in that case, Judge Andrea R. Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, took much longer to rule than Bough, Missouri, so it’s unclear when this case will go to trial, according to Osborn.

“They are still being discovered,” he said. “In fact, some of you unfortunately just received subpoenas just yesterday to testify in this case and that’s at least an inconvenience.”

Regarding the Bauman/Nosalek case, Osborn said it was “frightening” that the plaintiffs sued an independent MLS, rather than NAR, in this case, but the case was “moving at a snail’s pace.” .

“I think they’re waiting to see what happens [in Sitzer and Moehrl] and not spend more money on it,” Osborn said.

“They want to ride the coattails of the big boys.”

Yet in any case, the claims for damages run into the billions of dollars and Moehrl up to a trillion dollars, according to Osborn.

Regarding the Leeder/Batton case brought by homebuyers, Osborn said it could be “a very reasonable case, just as reasonable as the Bauman, Sitzer or Moehrl cases.”

“Buyers say ‘who cares who, it’s our money that pays the brokers’ commissions,'” Osborn said. “’We are told not to worry about our pretty little heads because the seller pays, not to be afraid.’

“The fact is that their brokers were paid the same in every transaction regardless of their skill and without the knowledge of the buyers, they could just go to another broker and hand another broker the same compensation which might be more capable than the broker they work with.

The case was dismissed but was amended and the defendants filed another motion to dismiss the case, he added.

Mitchell Skinner

Mitchell Skinner

Regarding the DOJ’s involvement in these antitrust cases and its investigation of NAR, panelist Mitch Skinner, attorney for CMLS, said the industry “should have understood what was going on” when the DOJ and FTC organized a joint workshop on competition in real estate brokerage in 2018. , shortly before a 10-year consent decree between NAR and DOJ have expired.

In 2019, the DOJ sent NAR a Civil Investigation Request (CID) into several of its rules. The parties reached a settlement, but the DOJ abruptly withdrew from that settlement agreement and a few days later, NAR dispatched another CID seeking new information on the rules regarding buyer broker commissions and pocket lists. NAR then filed a motion to try to reverse the DOJ’s request or at least modify it to make it less onerous.

In January, both sides said their part in the case and are just waiting for the judge to rule.

“I understand that this tribunal has been slow to rule because it is dealing with all of the criminal complaints from the January 6 insurrection,” Skinner said.

“So once the court is done with this case, which needs a speedy trial, maybe we will hear something about it. But in the meantime, we have this Justice Department overlay hanging over the prosecution: Moehrl, Sitzer, REX, So it’s all kind of related.

Osborn interrupted him. “It’s all very connected, not just somewhat connected. Absolutely.”

Still, panelists stressed that the current crisis represented “a huge opportunity” for the industry.

“If the industry doesn’t see this as an opportunity, we’ll lose a spectacular chance to do what needs to be done,” Osborn said.

“This is an urgent situation and the trick is to take advantage of it to accomplish change as industry leaders, to accomplish change that you otherwise couldn’t.”

Quoting a metaphor made by California Regional MLS CEO Art Carter on Thursday, Osborn said, “Rather than waiting for the plane to crash to unbuckle your seatbelt so you can get out of there, Art is ready to jump out of the plane now. Because he knows it’s going to crash, it’s better to make a change at this point. This is where we are.

Claude Szyfer

Now is the time to innovate, according to panelist Claude Szyfer, partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

“It’s an opportunity to reflect on how we provide service and how we provide better service to consumers and brokers,” he said.

“People should be prepared to look critically at what they do. I would rather control my own destiny than have my destiny dictated to me either by a judge through a court order or by a regulator.

Osborn agreed that MLS should look in the mirror.

“I’m 100% confident that MLS as an industry is extremely pro-competitive, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of MLS that aren’t pro-competitive,” a- he declared.

There should be transparency about how consumers can affect their relationship with brokers, according to Osborn.

“One of the reasons I wonder about the Leeder case is that the buyers indeed seem to not have as much information about the transaction or as much control,” he said.

“It’s arguably – certainly the critics say – one of the shortcomings of the MLS system, in the brokerage industry. Now it doesn’t have to be. I’m here to say it’s easy to fix. Maybe it wasn’t a problem before, but that’s called change, and you have to react to that change.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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Lawsuit alleges Baker County Detention Center denied attorneys access to immigration detainees Mon, 26 Sep 2022 19:21:49 +0000

The ACLU of Florida, which accuses the Baker County Sheriff’s Office of ‘gross’ conditions for immigrants held at the county’s detention center, filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging officials blocked attorneys from accessing to their customers in the establishment.

The trialfiled in federal court in Jacksonville, names the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Scotty Rhoden, and two principal aides and alleges breach of the office’s liability under a custody agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement United to allow access to customers.

The complaint alleges violation of the ACLU’s First Amendment right to speak to its potential clients and witnesses, as well as the clients’ right to speak with the organization; retaliation against the organization and its clients; and the denial of his clients’ Fourteenth Amendment right to the courts, to counsel, and to due process.

He seeks a declaration that the North Florida Sheriff violated the Constitution and a ban on doing so in the future, as well as “appropriate compensatory, punitive and nominal damages”, attorneys’ fees and costs. and “any other relief the court deems just and proper.”

The ACLU alleges that Baker County Detention Center officials canceled, on two days’ notice, a scheduled September 9 visit to the facility by ACLU attorneys and students at the clinics. law school immigration to teach immigrants about their legal rights and to talk to people. customers on their records.

The lawyer who showed up anyway was turned away at the entrance to the establishment. The jail is located in Macclenny, about 30 miles west of Jacksonville.

The ACLU is concerned that additional attorney-client meetings scheduled for this Friday could also be canceled, even though the sheriff’s office and federal immigration authorities had authorized those visits, according to the document.

“A central aspect of the work of the ACLU of Florida is to protect and advocate for the rights of immigration detainees,” the complaint states.

“Defendants’ denial of access to the ACLU of Florida customers and potential customers at Baker hampers the organization’s ability to accomplish this mission. The ACLU of Florida must be given the opportunity to meet confidentially with individuals who report abusive or inhumane conditions while in ICE custody to investigate their complaints, defend their rights, and pursue legal action. .

Previous Complaints

The lawsuit follows an administrative complaint the ACLU filed with the Department of Homeland Security on Sept. 14 alleging mistreatment of immigration detainees, including physical assault, retaliation, and denial of medical treatment. basic.

The ACLU also accuses the bureau of withholding water from hunger strike participants over conditions and denial of access to helplines run by the federal government and immigrant rights groups.

The organization suggested that the cancellation of the visit was linked to a separate administrative complaint filed against Baker in July.

The Phoenix left a request for comment with the sheriff’s office but has yet to receive a response. In August, in an interview with News4Jax, Sheriff Rhoden denied any abuse. “These are all lies because we take it seriously here at the Baker County Sheriff’s Office to treat people the way they should be treated at all times,” he said.

The ACLU launched the Baker Legal Assistance Program with immigration clinics at the University of Florida Law Schools, Florida State University and the University of Miami, according to a news release.

“According to Florida Detention Databasethere have been 86 complaints citing barriers to accessing legal aid in Baker since 2017. For more than a decade, multiple complaints from the Baker County Detention Center have been filed, exposing a deep-rooted pattern of widespread human rights violations and inhumane living conditions,” the organization said.

Andrew Warren stay trial could get messy for Governor DeSantis, constitutional lawyers say Fri, 23 Sep 2022 22:23:22 +0000

Suspended Hillsborough State’s Attorney Andrew Warren remains unemployed, but a federal district court judge wants a trial to decide whether to get him back.

The twice-elected state attorney was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis for dereliction of duty and incompetence in August. The governor pointed to two pledges Warren signed, agreeing not to criminalize those who seek and provide abortions and gender-affirming cases.

Warren said he was suspended for something he said, not something he did. No case involving these issues has ever reached his office. He said the governor violated his First Amendment rights.

Professor Bruce Rogow, a respected First Amendment and constitutional attorney in Florida, recently defended Roger Stone in his federal case. He has also appeared 11 times before the United States Supreme Court.

RELATED: Andrew Warren vs. Governor DeSantis: Legal battle over suspension will head to trial, federal judge says

Rogow believes Governor DeSantis has disenfranchised Hillsborough County voters.

“For the governor to take matters into his own hands and decide that this person should no longer be in office after being elected twice is a pretty extraordinary thing,” Rogow said.

Rogow thinks Warren’s lawyers will want to depose Governor DeSantis, and the governor might even be happy about it.

“It’s fair that the governor explains in court with cross-examination why he fired him,” Rogow said. “The governor may say ‘come on, come to me. I’m happy to tell you why I did this. Why do I think I was right. “”

PREVIOUS: Florida Sheriffs Association backs DeSantis’ decision to suspend Hillsborough State’s Attorney Andrew Warren

As for evidence, Warren will want the Governor’s emails, text messages and notes regarding his suspension, which Rogow says could be complicated for Governor DeSantis.

“I think it could be embarrassing and unconstitutional,” Rogow said. “It’s embarrassing if the discovery shows that she’s politically motivated, that’s not how governance should be. It would be embarrassing.”

He believes there could be an endless legal battle over this evidence. Rogow also said the parade of sheriffs who stood behind the governor when he announced Warren’s suspension could be drawn into this.

“For example, if the sheriff was the one who said to the governor ‘you need to get Warren off the job, I don’t like what he’s doing’, well, that would certainly be very relevant and discoverable. So, a- does he send any emails? are there any phone conversations? any phone records?” Rogow said.

LILY: DeSantis slammed by dozens of former judges, prosecutors and police chiefs over Andrew Warren suspension

Rogow said a trial would reveal a real motive and Warren could be on the winning side.

“I think Judge Hinkle will find that was politically motivated and that this is a First Amendment violation,” Rogow said.

However, he explained that it would not end there. Judge Henry Hinkle’s decision will be appealed by the losing party. This appeal will be heard by the Court of the Eleventh Circuit. Once they rule, again, the losing side could appeal to the state Supreme Court for a final decision. Rogow said legal “ping pong” could take up to two years to decide.

Next week, Warren’s attorneys and the governor’s legal team are due to submit a report to the judge about evidence in the case that may be contested. Lawyers will also provide a schedule to help the judge set a trial date.

]]> Deniece Cornejo’s camp says Vhong must be jailed in Taguig, eyes despise raps against wife and lawyer – Reuters Thu, 22 Sep 2022 06:54:00 +0000

Model Deniece Cornejo’s camp says TV host and comedian Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro should be jailed in Taguig as per procedures.

Attorney Ferdinand Topacio, Cornejo’s lead attorney, reacted to comments made by Navarro’s wife, Tanya Bautista-Navarro, who said on September 21 that she feared for the TV host’s safety. he was being transferred to Taguig City Jail to be held in connection with the rape. file submitted by the model.

Model Deniece Cornejo (left) and Vhong Navarro and his wife Tanya (File, Instagram of Tanya Bautista)

“It’s not up to me or Vhong’s wife, but we have to follow legal procedures. And the law states that a defendant in a criminal case must be held in the city jail within the jurisdiction of the court hearing the case, which is the Taguig City Jail in Mr. Navarro’s case” , Topacio told the September 1 Manila Bulletin. 22.

In a September 21 media interview, Tanya said Navarro’s possible transfer to Taguig City Jail “is very scary.”

“Kasi threatens ‘yun sa buhay niya. Basta very scary, very scary for Vhong (because it will be a threat to his life. It’s just very scary, very scary for Vhong),” she said, according to video uploaded by ABS-CBN. News.

She added, “I think the lawyers also filed a motion para huwag umabot doon. Pero ako right now ang concern ko yung security for Vhong (I think the lawyers also filed a motion for her not to reach this [transfer]. But for me right now, my concern is Vhong’s safety).

“But for now, at least yung security niya. Natatakot ako for him na ilipat siya sa Taguig (But for now, at least for his safety. I fear for him when he is transferred to Taguig),” she said.

Topacio said alleged threats against Navarro were unproven

“What strikes me as odd is that the alleged threats against Mr. Navarro are speculative and unproven. This is also an insult to BJMPs [Bureau of Jail Management and Penology] ability to secure prisoners in detention. Mr. Navarro’s wife is just looking for excuses to give her husband special treatment. But there must be equal treatment under the law,” he said.

Navarro is now being held at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila after Presiding Judge Loralie Cruz Datahan of Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 issued a warrant for his arrest without bail on September 19 in a case that accused him of allegedly raping Cornejo on January 17, 2014.

The Taguig City Attorney’s Office filed the rape case against Navarro on August 31 in the Taguig Regional Trial Court based on an order from the Court of Appeals, which issued an enacted decision on July 21 in favor of Cornejo’s request for a review of his lawsuit against the television host.

Topacio also announced that they would file contempt charges against Navarro’s attorney, Alma Mallonga, and his wife for speaking to the media about the case.

“In addition, we are now preparing contempt charges against Atty. Alma Mallonga and Vhong Navarro’s wife for making sub judice statements. We will not sit idly by while some people scoff at justice again by staging another publicity trial. They will be held responsible! he said.



Dearie meets with Trump attorneys, Justice Department, on Mar-a-Lago search Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:38:19 +0000

NEW YORK — Lawyers for Donald Trump are scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors and the special counsel appointed at the former president’s request on Tuesday to review documents seized from his Florida home.

In a court filing ahead of the hearing, Trump’s attorneys acknowledged that the investigation into the documents found at Mar-a-Lago could lead to an indictment.

New Special Petty Officer Federal Judge Raymond J. Dearie is assessing review mechanisms for approximately 11,000 documents, approximately 100 of which are classified, that were seized Aug. 8 when FBI agents executed a search authorized by the court in Trump’s residence. and private club.

Prosecutors say the search was necessary to recover highly sensitive national security documents, after months of dithering by Trump’s legal team over the classified documents he had after leaving the White House and leaving the White House. he had returned them all to the government. Officials say they are investigating several potential crimes, including the mishandling of national defense information and the concealment or destruction of government documents. Trump’s lawyers accuse the Justice Department of trying to turn a dispute with the National Archives and Records Administration into a criminal case.

Trump lawyers acknowledge Mar-a-Lago case could lead to impeachment

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee, agreed to Trump’s request for a special master — a neutral third-party legal expert — to review seized documents to determine which may be covered by claims of attorney-client privilege or the far more vague and contested assertion of executive privilege.

After Cannon named Dearie as special master, Dearie ordered both sides to appear in his courtroom on Tuesday to discuss document review mechanisms – even as the Justice Department appeals some parties of Cannon’s order. Prosecutors asked a higher court to stay Cannon’s decision that Dearie should review classified documents as well as unclassified documents, and that the FBI and Justice Department cannot use classified documents in connection with their criminal investigation while the special main examination is underway.

In a filing before Tuesday’s hearing, Trump’s lawyers expressed concern that Dearie asked them questions that Cannon did not, including whether documents bearing classification marks were in fact classified. Lawyers argued that Trump – who had broad declassification powers when he was president – could be at a legal disadvantage if he answered those questions at this stage of the process.

Explaining whether Trump declassified the documents, the lawyers wrote, would be forcing Trump to “fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment without such a requirement being evident in the district court order.” In raising this concern, the lawyers acknowledged at least the possibility that the former president or his aides could face criminal charges in the case.

Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly suggested in court documents that the former president could have declassified the documents – but they haven’t actually claimed he did.

The Washington Post reported that among the classified documents the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago was a document outlining a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, according to people familiar with the research. , who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.

Some of the documents seized detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely watched that only the president, some members of his cabinet, or a an official close to the Cabinet could authorize other government officials to know details about them, these people said.

Files that deal with these programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure information compartment, with a designated monitoring officer to keep a close eye on their location.

Barrett reported from Washington.

]]> Judge’s licks criticized; Defense attorneys end case for Parkland school shooter Sat, 17 Sep 2022 13:20:00 +0000

The defense listed 80 witnesses but called only 26 in its bid to spare Nikolas Cruz the death penalty.

Witnesses included friends of his birth mother and adoptive mother, as well as teachers and counselors Cruz interacted with as a child.

Their final witness, a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder expert, testified that Cruz’s birth mother drank more alcohol than any other woman he had documented.

After that pundit, the defense team decided the jury had heard enough, prompting a lick from Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.

“I just want to say this is the most unwarranted and unprofessional way to judge a case,” she told lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill.

When McNeill tried to explain herself, Scherer cut her off.

“You insulted me throughout the trial. So openly take off your headphones by arguing with me, storming out, intentionally coming late if you don’t like my decisions. So, quite frankly, this was long overdue. So please sit down,” the judge said.

The judge’s outburst is unlikely to affect the progress of the trial, but could be mooted if the conviction is appealed.

Craig Trocino directs the Law Innocence Clinic at the University of Miami, he is not directly involved in the case but followed it closely.

“Jurisprudence designates a judge as the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate,” he said. “And I understand that in these cases, it’s stressful, tense, and things can blow up. But judges have to recognize that they are responsible for the courtroom.

Bob Jarvis is a law professor at Nova Southeastern University. Like Trocino, he is not involved in the affair but followed it.

“Let her say it was unprofessional, let her say it was a long time coming – her stunt with them is mind blowing,” he said.

He says the abrupt ending means defense attorneys are confident they have presented enough evidence to prevent Nikolas Cruz from escaping death row.

“You always want to rest at the point when you feel you’ve made your point and nothing more will start to alienate the jury or lose the jury. …. And then, of course, it’s possible that the defense was concerned that these additional witnesses would talk about things that would be very damaging when prosecutors had a chance to cross-examine them.

The defense case relied heavily on the decisions of others, starting with Cruz’s biological mother, Brenda Woodard. Woodard drank heavily during her pregnancy, which caused Cruz to develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, according to expert testimony.

Defense attorneys interviewed a friend of Woodard’s, who died last year, and her daughter. Danielle Woodard, Cruz’s half-sister testified that she saw her drinking and using drugs while she was pregnant with Cruz.

Cruz’s attorneys took a chronological approach in tracing his troubled life. He had behavioral problems and difficulties communicating at school. He bit other children, had difficulty walking and acted like a wild animal in class.

By the time he reached middle school, Cruz became more menacing. Carrie Yon, one of his teachers at West Glades College, testified that he was obsessed with guns and violence and told him he “was a bad boy” and “wanted to kill”.

The final witness called by defense attorneys was Dr. Kenneth Jones, a former medical school professor at the University of California, San Diego, who did some of the pioneering research on fetal alcohol abuse there. 50 years ago.

He examined Cruz after his arrest and testified that his examination showed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, but not fetal alcohol syndrome. Part of the difference is that Cruz did not have the physical characteristics of someone with fetal alcohol syndrome, possibly delaying treatment or diagnosis.

Prosecutors pushed back when Jones said Cruz allegedly struggled to plan and organize. Cruz had researched police response times to school shootings and the different types of firearms he could use, according to internet research presented by prosecutors.

The trial will resume with the state’s rebuttal brief on September 27.

After that, both sides will present their closing arguments and the jury will deliberate on the 17 counts of murder and decide whether or not to impose the death penalty on Cruz.

The jury must be unanimous for Cruz to receive the death penalty. If the defense can convince a juror to vote for life in prison, then it will be worth it.

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Texas AG Ken Paxton to be deposed in post-election fraud case, lawyer says Thu, 15 Sep 2022 23:21:04 +0000

AUSTIN — Lawyers representing the men who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of securities fraud will be able to question him under oath — but not before the election.

Collin County District Court Judge Cynthia Wheless ordered Paxton to sit for an hour-long deposition Nov. 28. court records show.

Terry Jacobson, who along with Dallas attorney Alex More is representing Corsicana GOP Representative Byron Cook and billionaire Florida businessman Joel Hochberg, confirmed Wheless made the decision at a hearing on Friday and signed the order on Tuesday.

Paxton’s agency and campaign staff, as well as his attorney, Mitch Little, did not respond to requests for comment.

The deposition order comes after Paxton filed motions to dismiss at least two subpoenas in the past three months, citing scheduling conflicts.

Setting the deposition for late November means Paxton won’t have to answer questions about his securities fraud charges until the Nov. 8 midterm election, when he faces Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza.

In addition to his 7-year fraud indictments, the conservative Republican also faces a whistleblower trial and an FBI corruption investigation.

Paxton has denied wrongdoing in those cases, saying he was the target of baseless witch hunts.

The deposition relates to a year-long row between Paxton and two former friends accusing him of defrauding them.

In 2015, Cook and Hochberg alleged that Paxton violated state securities laws by persuading them to invest in a technology company McKinney without telling them he had received shares in the company. Cook, who served as chairman of the State Affairs Committee, and Paxton both served in the Texas House and invested in a number of businesses together.

That summer, a Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on two counts of securities fraud and one count of failing to register with the state securities commission. If convicted, he faces five to 99 years on each fraud charge, plus another two to 10 years on filing fees, plus fines.

The year after his indictment, a Paxton loyalist hit back at Cook and Hochberg in the case that is at the center of this deposition fight.

Texas AG Ken Paxton was indicted seven years ago. When will he face a jury?

In a civil lawsuit, Charles “Chip” Loper III accused the pair of concocting an elaborate “self-dealing” scheme to profit from investment funds from a mining asset company called Unity Resources. Loper said the alleged scheme hurt him and his father financially.

The Lopers, who founded an insurance company Frisco, are close allies of Paxton. They donated to his campaign and a Paxton defense fund, and Loper III manages the Attorney General’s Blind Trust.

Lawyers for Cook and Hochberg called the suit a tit-for-tat attempt to “smear and tarnish” the reputations of their clients after they accused the attorney general of fraud.

They scored a victory last year by adding Paxton as a “responsible third party” to the Unity lawsuit. Like them, Paxton was an investor and also served as the company’s attorney, both men argued, saying he too should be held accountable for any alleged wrongdoing.

The decision does not mean that Paxton has been found responsible for any alleged wrongdoing, nor that it clears Cook or Hochberg.

Although related, the Unity lawsuit is separate from Paxton’s fraud case. His indictments remain active and, due to several delays, he has not yet faced a jury. Paxton’s lawyers and prosecutors fight over where to hold the trial.

Since June, lawyers for Cook and Hochberg have been trying to get Paxton to testify in the Unity case, during which they can ask about his securities fraud charges.

Their first subpoena called for Paxton to appear on July 12. But his lawyer said he would travel then, citing both an upcoming visit to China “with other attorneys general” and a trip to Europe.

A search of Paxton’s social media presence does not indicate when or if those trips took place, and his agency and campaign staff did not respond to questions about when and whether the attorney general made the trips. trips.

“Forcing him to change his plans at this late date would cause Paxton undue burden and expense,” Little wrote on June 15.

Later, Paxton was subpoenaed on August 19. But his attorney again fired back, saying there were unresolvable scheduling conflicts. Paxton was filed once in the Unity case in August 2019, but that filing was deemed private and remains sealed.

Texas AG Ken Paxton embroiled in securities fraud debacle between financial adviser and former partners
Actionstep acquires LawMaster and Mattero Wed, 14 Sep 2022 06:21:02 +0000

Law firm management platform Actionstep has acquired a innovative practice management software company, with the goal of driving additional technology investment and providing customers with expanded cloud technologies.

Cloud-based practice management platform Actionstep has acquired legal software company LawMaster and Mattero, bringing together two innovative practice management software companies serving mid-sized law firms.

According to the platform, the combined activities will drive additional technology investments, consolidate many years of legal technology learning, and provide existing LawMaster clients with expanded cloud technologies.

The agreement combines more than 50 years of pioneering legal technology development and legal industry knowledge and will result in the development of a large-scale legal technology business with plans to invest more in technology specifically for law firms. sized lawyers.

Actionstep provides a highly adaptable all-in-one practice management platform with nearly 20,000 daily subscribers.

LawMaster’s customer base of nearly 4,000 daily subscribers includes many prestigious upper-middle-market Australian companies, with its core product being a feature-rich and highly configurable law practice management solution. Prior to the deal, LawMaster had invested in cloud technologies and successfully launched Mattero, a cloud-based practice management system for small firms.

The combination of LawMaster and Actionstep means the new business services have over 11,000 subscribers in Australia alone.

The two companies will continue to operate as separate businesses, with David Toohey, LawMaster’s founder and CEO, continuing to lead LawMaster.

According to Actionstep Global President David Hepburn, the new company will work closely with all of LawMaster’s clients to ensure continued quality service and understand their current and future technology needs.

“We are thrilled to partner with LawMaster, it brings together two amazing legal technology companies, positions us for future growth and will fuel major technology investments to benefit the legal industry,” he said.

“As always, our goal is to ensure that our combined customers enjoy using our software – both day-to-day and as part of their future business plans.”

LawMaster CEO David Toohey added that the acquisition was an “exciting new chapter” for the team.

“We are delighted to join the Actionstep team. As always, we will remain focused on our customers’ needs and develop innovative, market-leading technology,” he said.

“As one company with a shared set of values ​​and roadmap, the unified team can focus on propelling our clients’ businesses to new heights.

Actionstep acquires LawMaster and Mattero

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Lawyer’s blunder almost cost billions of KRA Sun, 11 Sep 2022 21:01:09 +0000


Lawyer’s blunder almost cost billions of KRA

KRA headquarters at Times Tower in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

An error in court by a lawyer representing the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) nearly cost the Inland Revenue billions of shillings in tax refund claims related to VAT regulations issued in 2017 which opened floodgates for taxpayers to request refunds.

The court last week came to KRA’s rescue when it overturned a January decision to overturn the VAT settlement after the taxman argued that his lawyer had falsely told the court that the settlement was not had ever been tabled in Parliament.

The commissioner stated that the VAT regulation had indeed been tabled in the National Assembly on May 10, 2017, as required by the Statutory Instruments Act.

Over the years, the tax authorities have struggled to pay VAT claims, largely due to insufficient liquidity provided by the Treasury and a lengthy audit. On average, the Inland Revenue receives claims of up to 30 billion shillings each financial year, mostly from manufacturers.

The regulations were published and placed greater emphasis on VAT refunds. A registrant, for example, will only be entitled to a rebate arising from zero-rated supplies for persons who impose taxes at the general rate and the zero rate.

The introduction of the regulation has also facilitated the taxation of telecommunications services given the dynamism of global trade in services.

An analysis by KPMG East Africa in 2017 pointed out that some of the provisions of the regulations were the elimination of the requirement to install and use tax records, further clarification on what constitutes an export of services , which if implemented will undermine Kenya’s position as a regional trading hub and requirement to charge VAT on imported services.

Under the regulations, a supply of telecommunications services is deemed to be made in Kenya if the supplier of the services is in Kenya at the time of the supply. Where an invoice does not provide for a separate VAT amount, the invoice amount shall be deemed to include VAT.

The regulations also required a registrant who is a retailer or who makes supplies inclusive of tax to non-registrants to prominently indicate on the invoice that the taxable supplies are made inclusive of tax and indicate whether the supply is taxable (including the rate ) or exempt.

In the January 22 ruling, Judge David Majanja said the regulations have no legal effect because they were never tabled in Parliament as required by the Statutory Instruments Act.

“In conclusion, I grant the request on the terms that the judgment of January 22, 2022 insofar as the decision that the VAT Regulations 2017 ceased to have any effect immediately on the 8th day after said regulations did not has not been tabled before the National Assembly and is hereby set aside,” the judge said.

The VAT Regulations were published in the Official Gazette on 30 March 2017, in accordance with the provisions of Section 67 of the VAT Act 2013 which gives the Secretary to the Treasury Cabinet the power to make regulations to give effect to the provision of the VAT Act.

Article 67 of the VAT Law requires the SC to submit the regulation to Parliament for approval before it can enter into force. The ruling gave taxpayers the chance to seek refunds and relief, but the KRA returned to court to seek a review, arguing it was factually wrong.

The judge said a party can request a review by pointing out an error in reading the record for discovering something new and material.

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The Queen’s Counsel will become the King’s Counsel Thu, 08 Sep 2022 22:49:25 +0000

In a statement first published in Lawyers Weekly, the Australian Bar Association (ABA) confirmed that QC appointees will automatically become KCs upon King Charles III’s accession to the throne.

Following the death of Her Majesty Elizabeth II earlier this morning Australian time (September 9), appointments of people as Queen’s Counsel by Letters Patent are continuing automatically, the ABA has confirmed.

“According to custom, these people, on the death of His Majesty, became the “King’s Counsel” (or “KC”). They did not need to apply for new Letters Patent of Appointment or take any other action,” the association explained in a statement.

Similarly, the UK-based Bar Counsel has been advised by the Crown Office that QCs are becoming KCs with immediate effect.

Speaking after Her Majesty’s death, ABA President Dr Matt Collins AM KC said Queen Elizabeth “has served the people of Australia, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth with dignity, unfailing compassion, intelligence and grace for seven remarkable decades.”

“Throughout this period Australia has been very well served and owes much of its stability and prosperity to the institutions and traditions of Westminster of which Her Majesty has been a vital and wise guardian,” he said. he proclaimed.

“On this sad day, the legal profession joins in mourning her Majesty and offers our best wishes to her successor, King Charles III.”

The ABA, on behalf of more than 6,000 Australian lawyers, has offered its heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family on the death.

The Queen’s Counsel will become the King’s Counsel

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Last update: September 09, 2022

Posted: September 09, 2022