Friday, 4 August 2017

Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell Managing Partner Alan Ciklin, brother of Judge Cory Ciklin, SUPPORTS Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin's actions. Landmark, Game Changing VERDICT West Palm Florida sends a message to ALL Florida Probate Court Attorneys, Judges and Guardians. NO MORE.

"Jury says attorneys for guardian mismanaged money of millionaire Texas oil man"

"Guardianship case came from courtroom of Judge Martin Colin, 
featured in a Palm Beach Post investigation"

"Colin praised the attorneys in his courtroom, calling them honest and trustworthy"

“This first salvo sends a serious message not only to the predatory guardians and lawyers who have been exploiting families all over Florida for decades but especially to the probate judges without whose complicity these cases could never happen.”

"Advocates for guardianship reform clamored in vain for years that Florida’s system failed to properly protect incapacitated seniors, that its primary purpose had been perverted to line the pockets of greedy attorneys and professional guardians with the hard-earned life savings of the elderly.
Brian O'Connell
Now they can point to a new federal verdict awarding a whopping $16.4 million in a lawsuit claiming that two West Palm Beach attorneys breached their fiduciary duties while running up “unnecessary and excessive fees” of $1 million.
“It’s really kind of a landmark case,” said Julian Bivins, who brought the suit as the personal representative of the estate of his father, Oliver, a Texas oil man.

“It sends a message to these unscrupulous lawyers and guardians that they are not going to be able to get away with it anymore.”
The Bivins guardianship case emanates out of the court of Circuit Judge Martin Colin, the subject of an investigation by The Palm Beach Post into the judge’s conflicts of interest because his wife is a professional guardian.
Colin in open court had heaped praise on the attorneys who lost the case and refused to hold a hearing to decide whether the attorneys had “secretly” kept money from the sale of one of Oliver Bivins’ properties in an escrow account for more than a year, according to court documents.
The Post’s award-winning series featuring Colin, Guardianships: A Broken Trust, resulted in an overhaul of guardianship rules in Palm Beach County. Colin retired last December after he was transferred from the Probate & Guardianship Division because of The Post’s reporting.
Weeks after The Post published, Julian Bivins filed a motion to disqualify Colin, saying his concerns about the “close-knit atmosphere of the Guardians, their attorneys” and Colin had been “glaringly brought to light” in the stories.
The younger Bivins said he felt his father was “held captive” in South Florida by the guardianship so the attorneys could liquidate real estate assets — including a New York City Upper East Side mansion — and charge more fees.

Colin granted an emergency order prohibiting the senior from returning to Texas.The jury found on July 28 that attorneys Brian M. O’Connell and Ashley N. Crispin of the Ciklin, Lubitz & O’Connell firm not only breached their fiduciary duty but committed professional negligence.

The lawsuit claimed they failed to get appraisals on two high-end New York City properties being divided among family. They were not of equal value and as a result, Julian Bivins ended up with one that was worth millions less than other.

The jury’s decision to award $16.4 million makes up the difference.

But the fight over the property is far less important to reform advocates than the fact that attorneys who carry out the wishes of professional guardians and are paid with the ward’s money were held accountable.
“This case in one of the longtime hotbeds of guardianship abuse is a tipping point,” said Sam Sugar, director of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship.
“This first salvo sends a serious message not only to the predatory guardians and lawyers who have been exploiting families all over Florida for decades but especially to the probate judges without whose complicity these cases could never happen.”
Oliver Bivins died at age 97 in March 2015. He ended up in the court-ordered guardianship when he visited his condominium in Palm Beach in 2011 and a social worker became concerned with his well-being, according to court documents.
Oliver Bivins appeared to be coming to Florida for a weekend vacation, leaving his refrigerator in Texas fully stocked, plaintiff attorneys told the jury. His son said he often didn’t visit his Palm Beach condominium for years at a time.

The verdict takes a further step toward re-establishing that attorneys are supposed to represent the incapacitated ward, not the court-appointed professional guardian — a position many lawyers have argued in court to thwart families trying to rein in a fee frenzy.

“If it wasn’t for me, they would have completely depleted my dad’s estate,” said Julian Bivins, who now lives in Palm Beach. “I’ve been fighting them from the beginning to just get him back to Texas. Finally, I got him back there 35 days before he passed away.”

As with many family members who challenge the status quo in guardianship in Palm Beach County, Julian said he found himself relentlessly attacked in court. He was even sued by one of the guardians in the case, Curtis Rogers.

The biggest toll, he said, though, was his relationship with his father as Rogers told the elder Bivins that his son only wanted his money. “He turned my dad against me,” Julian Bivins said. “I could never explain to my father how he was being held for ransom, how they wouldn’t let him go.”

The Ciklin firm said it is confident it can prevail on post-trial motions 
in front of U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra.

“We think the verdict was not in keeping with the law or the facts and, in fact, was considerably more than the plaintiff even asked for,” said Alan Ciklin, the firm’s managing partner. “We feel pretty good about our ability to have this reduced dramatically.”

Rogers, one of two professional guardians dismissed as defendants in the lawsuit, testified for more than two days at the trial. He told The Post he believes the younger Bivins financially took advantage of his father. “The verdict was a total shock to me,” he said. “I anticipated there was no way that type of verdict could be made.”

It may come as a shock to Judge Colin, as well.

Colin during a Feb. 3, 2016, hearing in the guardianship case bristled at the suggestion that the Ciklin Lubitz firm was not acting as a good custodian of Bivins’ assets.

The senior’s son questioned why the firm had failed to turn over $472,000 from the sale of his father’s commercial property in New York City, requesting Colin refer their actions to the Florida Bar or keep them from holding onto the money.

“The Ciklin Lubitz law firm has a well-earned reputation of honesty. And this is honesty,” Colin said in court. “Not for a moment do I have any concern because their reputation is well-earned in this respect.”

Colin denied Julian Bivins’ request without hearing any evidence but ordered the firm to return about $400,000.

An attorney for Julian Bivins filed a motion to disqualify Colin because of those statements, but the judge denied it.

“We never got anything done in his court,” Julian said. “We complained about the amount of the fees and he (Colin) cut them down 25 percent, but then we had to pay their fees for them to defend those fees. So they just made it back.”  "

Guardianship Catch-22

It is in this Catch-22 that families often find themselves when trying to decide whether to fight unethical actions by a professional guardian: Either way they pay, and either way the lawyers’ wallets grow fatter.

The guardianship issue is being looked at by a task force formed by Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga. The state Legislature established the new Office of Public & Professional Guardianship as a result of lobbying by advocacy groups and others about lawyers and guardians siphoning off fees.

Attorney Greg Coleman, past president of The Florida Bar, wrote to the work group in June to alert it to “inappropriate, improper and illegal activities of a very small number of Florida attorneys” practicing in the guardianship arena.

“Unfortunately, the way guardianship statutes and rules are currently constituted allows for a window of exploitation by bad attorneys and bad guardians for their own personal monetary gain,” said Coleman, who was not associated with the Bivins guardianship or any of the relating litigation.

Coleman said everything is moving in the right direction for seniors. “The issue has the (Florida Supreme) Court’s attention, I can tell you,” he said. “It is not something that is being ignored or swept under the rug.”

Oliver Wilson Bivins Sr. was an oil man whose family were pioneers in Amarillo, Texas. He visited his Florida condo infrequently.

Dominoes falling?

Sugar’s grassroots-group based out of Hollywood was the force behind legislative reform last year. He said the verdict in Bivins is a sign “the dominoes are starting to fall.”

Several years ago Sugar could barely get a conference with key Florida lawmakers. Now his group has spearheaded legislation and made guardianship an issue around the country. Sugar pointed to the recent federal indictment of a professional guardianship firm in New Mexico, charging the owners with stealing millions from seniors, as an example that justice could be done for these seniors.

Attorneys who represented the Bivins family — Charles D. Bavol and Ron Denman of The Bleakley Bavol law firm in Tampa — compared the trial to a climactic brawl from the movie Rocky.

The Ciklin defendants knocked out their expert witness and cited attorney-client privilege in refusing to turn over crucial emails between the Ciklin lawyers and the guardians. 

The son’s testimony persuaded the jury, his lawyers said.

“What the defendants did in this case was wrong,” Denman told the jury. “It was legally wrong, what they did was ethically wrong, and what they did was morally wrong.”

Bavol and Denman said the verdict builds off a 2015 state court appellate finding out of Palm Beach County, ruling that the guardianship attorneys’ duty is to the incapacitated adult, not the professional guardian.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in recent years has reined in circuit courts in Palm Beach County that reform advocates say patently favor professional guardians and their attorneys. Still, advocates such as Sugar say they hear about abuses almost daily in the guardianship courts.

Bavol and Denman said the verdict underscores 
the need for accountability from guardians and their lawyers.

“Based on this significant jury verdict and the ongoing investigative journalism in Southern Florida concerning professional guardianships, the need for reform of the guardianship system to protect Florida’s elderly citizens is again underscored,” the lawyers said in a news release."

Source of Article and Lot's More

Regardless of What Move managing Partner Alan Ciklin, brother of Judge Cory Ciklin, want to make next, It is DONE. There is a Path to Justice cleared now and HOPE for the Victims of attorneys and guardians such as Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin.

Also NOTE that Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga is the top of the Florida Corruption Food Chain, just look at the iViewit Patent Theft Case and Proskauer Rose and the gang.

Also NOTE that Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga was Judge Martin Colin's MENTOR "He finds a great camaraderie among the Judges in this Circuit and considers Judge LaBarga to be his mentor. "  As Seen at the Link Below

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

"as to this Court's October 27, 2016 order in Case No. 16-3162, the Court sua sponte recognized a potential conflict immediately after the order issued, and the case was sent to a different member of the Court for consideration. "

Ok so the COURT Recognized they had a CONFLICT. Of which Judge Cory Ciklin CLEARLY knew and was OBVIOUSLY not disclosing, yet they RULED the exact same way, and did not seem to DISCLOSE the actually adjudicated factual reasons nor did "they" address the FRAUD that is pretty darn obvious and that Chief Judge Cory CIKLIN was covering up to protect his former law firm where his brother is the managing partner Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell.

"ORDERED that Eliot Bernstein's October 31, 2016 motion for disclosure from court as to judges names to be disclosed for every order in each case listed herein is granted in part and denied in part.

Mr. Bernstein is advised that pursuant to Section 3.11 of this Court's Manual of Internal Operating Procedures,

The Clerk shall issue unpublished orders of the Court under his or her signature unless otherwise directed by the judge or judges who approved the order. The Court may, at its discretion, include in any order the names of the panel members who approved the issuance of the order.¿

The Clerk's signature appears on all orders issued by this Court, and, in the case of dispositive motions endorsed by a three-judge panel, the three-judge panel who authorized the order is listed.

Finally, Mr. Bernstein is advised that as to this Court's October 27, 2016 order in Case No. 16-3162, the Court sua sponte recognized a potential conflict immediately after the order issued, and the case was sent to a different member of the Court for consideration. 

After a different member of the Court considered the case, the amended order as to the panel was issued; further, ORDERED, to the extent Mr. Bernstein requests that all orders sent to him be exemplified and requests that the Clerk of this Court no longer rule and make orders in these matters and all pleadings be ruled on by Judges who place their names on the orders,¿ the motion is denied, as the Court will continue to follow its Internal Operating Procedures as set forth above; further, ORDERED, to the extent Mr. Bernstein requests that the Court identify the judges who signed off on certain orders, the orders which were endorsed by judges are as follows, with all other orders having been issued on the Clerk's authority:

Case No. 4D15-3849 Judges Stevenson, Levine, and Conner endorsed the November 30, 2015, December 17, 2015, and January 7, 2016 orders.

Case No. 4D16-0064 Judges Warner, Taylor, and Damoorgian endorsed the February 29, 2016 order.

Case No. 4D16-0222 Judges Taylor and May endorsed the April 21, 2016 order. Judge Gerber endorsed the May 13, 2016 order. Judge Conner endorsed the June 9, 2016 and June 21, 2016 orders. Judges May and Gerber endorsed the July 7, 2016 order. Judges Gross, Levine, and Klingensmith endorsed the July 28, 2016 order. Judge Conner endorsed the September 22, 2016 order. Judge Levine endorsed the October 18, 2016 order. Judge Forst endorsed the October 27, 2016 order.

Case No. 4D16-1449 Chief Judge Ciklin and Judge Gerber endorsed the July 8, 2016 order.

The Court concludes that the assignment of Chief Judge Ciklin was inadvertent and that the Appellant suffered no prejudice as the Appellee¿s motion to dismiss was denied. Judge Conner endorsed the August 25, 2016 order. Judge Conner endorsed the September 22, 2016 order."


"as to this Court's October 27, 2016 order in Case No. 16-3162, the Court sua sponte recognized a potential conflict immediately after the order issued, and the case was sent to a different member of the Court for consideration. " 

There is CLEARLY massive covering of tracks being attempted by the 4th DCA as well as a whole lot of Florida Probate Attorneys and past and present Judges.

What a Mess the Florida Courts are in. And those who pay their Salaries are the VICTIMS of it.


Eliot Bernstein 4th DCA Florida Cases IGNORED thus far. Where are the REAL Authorities that ACTUALLY want to Uphold the LAW? The JUDGES who Dismiss Call the Claims Meritless, meanwhile CORRUPTION is Rampant in the Florida Probate Courts

Eliot Bernstein has been Shouting the Truth from the Rooftops for YEARS. He has filed in all appropriate courts and yet Corruption has been IGNORED by Florida Judges and Authorities, WHY?

THEY CALL IT "meritless and improper pro se proceedings", sometimes they call the Pro Se litigant Vexatious.  You know when a Pro Se party EXPOSES Corruption that involves Judges and Attorneys, well the higher courts call it Meritless and IMPROPER, they BLOCK the Pro Se litigant EXPOSING CORRUPT JUDGES and for some reason don't dare EXPOSE the Rampant Fraud, Forgery, Murder, Insurance Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Real Estate Fraud, Probate Fraud, Civil Rights Violations and Predatory Guardianship that they CLEARLY KNOW, as there it is RIGHT THERE in the document they are dismissing as  "meritless and improper pro se proceedings".

Case No.FiledCase StyleCountyLower Tribunal CaseDisposed
15-384910/15/2015ELIOT BERNSTEIN v. ESTATE OF SIMON BERNSTEINPalm Beach502011CP00653XXXXSB, more11/30/2015
16-6401/06/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. TED BERNSTEIN, AS TRUSTEE.Palm Beach2014CP003698XXXXNB02/29/2016
16-22201/20/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. TED BERNSTEIN, AS TRUSTEE,Palm Beach2014CP003698XXXXNB, more04/27/2017
16-144905/03/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. OPPENHEIMER TRUST CO. OFPalm Beach2014CP002815XXXXNB11/29/2016
16-147605/05/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. OPPENHEIMER TRUST CO. OFPalm Beach2014CP002815XXXXNB11/29/2016
16-147805/05/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. TED BERNSTEIN, AS TRUSTEE,Palm Beach2014CP003698XXXXNB11/29/2016
16-224907/05/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. OPPENHEIMER TRUST CO. OFPalm Beach2014CP002815XXXXNB01/11/2017
16-316209/16/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. WILLIAM E. STANSBURY, et al.Palm Beach502012CA013933XXXXMB10/28/2016
16-412012/06/2016ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. WILLIAM E. STANSBURY,Palm Beach502012CA013933XXXXMB01/05/2017
17-160705/31/2017ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. ESTATE OF SIMON L BERNSTEIN,Palm Beach2012CP00439107/13/2017
17-160805/31/2017ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. ESTATE OF SIMON L. BERNSTEINPalm Beach2012CP004391
17-193206/23/2017ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN v. TED BERNSTEIN, AS TRUSTEE,Palm Beach502014CP003698XXXXNB07/19/2017
Total Cases 13

In One Day, Out the Next. Judge Cory Ciklin NO LONGER Chief Judge of the 4th D.C.A.

Chief Judge, Fourth District Court of Appeal, July 1, 2015 - June 30

Then Chief Judge Cory Ciklin, with KNOWN Conflicts, RULED to Dismiss a Case that Exposed his former law firm, where his brother Alan Ciklin is still there and is Managing Partner, of Fraud, Ethics Violations, Guardianship Statute Violations, Predatory Probate Practices and MORE

Ya Um those Guys, ya DISMISSED.
Click Below to Read Short and Sweet DISMISSAL

ahhh Poor Conflicted Ciklin, Judge Cory Ciklin REMOVED as Chief Judge. Probably Way to MANY CONFLICTS. Ya I bet that's It.

"Former Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jonathan Gerber has been named chief judge of the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Judge Jonathan Gerber
Gerber was elected by his colleagues to succeed Judge Cory Ciklin, a former Palm Beach County judge, as chief of the West Palm Beach-based appeals court. During his two-year term, Gerber will oversee the administration of the court. He will also continue to oversee the construction of the court’s new headquarters on Tamarind Avenue in West Palm Beach.
Gerber has served on the appellate court since 2009. Prior to his appointment by Gov. Charlie Crist, he served on the county’s circuit court bench for five years. From 2002 to 2004, he served as a county judge. He worked in private practice in Palm Beach County from 1993 to 2002.
He received his law degree in 1993 from the University of Florida. He received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1990.


Judge Cory J. Ciklin OUT as Chief Judge

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Attorney Brian O'Connell, Attorney Alan Ciklin, Phillip O’Connell Sr. and the case of a WINNING appeal in Favor of Chief Judge Cory Ciklin's Brother Alan Ciklin.

"Storied West Palm law firm wins $2.3 million legal battle against founding partner

"A long-running legal battle pitting a storied and politically connected West Palm Beach law firm against one of its founding partners culminated Wednesday when an appeals court ruled the partner deserved a fraction of the $2.3 million he was slated to get.

Rejecting calculations made by former Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell owed former partner Patrick Casey only $511,200.

“Reverse, reverse, reverse,” managing partner Alan Ciklin said of the appeals court decision. “We’re pleased and we feel vindicated.”

Alan Ciklin, managing partner of the West Palm Beach law firm Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell

Attorney Eric Hewko, who represented Casey, said he and his client were “very disappointed” in the three-page ruling. The $511,200 is the equity Casey had in the firm roughly 15 years ago which doesn’t reflect what it was worth when he stepped down in 2012, he said.

Hewko said he and Casey are deciding whether to ask the West Palm Beach-based appeals court to reconsider the decision or whether to appeal it to the Florida Supreme Court. Ciklin said he doubted an appeal would be successful.

“It’s been a long haul and certainly not something we wanted to happen,” he said.

The saga began two months after Casey, a founder of the 30-year-old firm, resigned. While the firm paid him what Ciklin described as “less than $100,000” that he was owed under the partnership agreement, Casey sued, claiming he was entitled to more.

After a five-day trial in 2014, Brown agreed. She wrote a scathing 12-page opinion, questioning the veracity of Ciklin’s testimony, blasting the firm for keeping at least two sets of books and awarding Casey $2.3 million.

In its far less detailed ruling, the appeals court said Brown misinterpreted the partnership agreement. For instance, it rejected Brown’s reasoning that as one of 10 partners Casey was entitled to 10 percent of the firm’s income. “This mechanical approach ignored the language of the applicable portion of the partnership agreement,” the three-judge panel wrote.

In what some legal observers called an unusual move, the case was heard by Judges Martha Warner, Melanie May and Burton Conner. However, it was decided by Warner, May and Judge Robert Gross.  The opinion notes that Gross didn’t hear oral arguments, but reviewed the record.

While acknowledging such switches are rare, Clerk of Court Lonn Weissblum said occasionally a judge discovers he has a conflict as the case progresses. Judges are not required to explain why they step down, he said.

Ciklin is the brother of Cory Ciklin, chief judge of the appeals court. Their brother, Blair Ciklin, is a longtime commissioner of the Port of Palm Beach.

The firm traces its roots to one of the county’s most prominent attorneys, Phillip O’Connell Sr. A former professional boxer, he served a quarter-century as Palm Beach County State Attorney while also maintaining a private law practice, according to the firm’s website. A bust of him graces the lobby of the state attorney’s office. His son, Phillip O’Connell Jr., and nephew, Brian O’Connell, are partners of the firm.

Roughly 10 years ago, one of its named partners – Bill Boose, considered the dean of local land use lawyers  – was sent to prison for 15 months after admitting he helped former Palm Beach County Commissioner Tony Masilotti hide profits from a secret land deal. The scandal, that also sent Masilotti to prison, rocked the county."


You don't Think that Chief Judge Cory Ciklin had ANY influence over this Stunning APPEAL in favor of his Brother's Law Firm, where his brother, Alan Ciklin is managing partner?  Hmmm.

I fully Believe that Chief Judge Cory Ciklin influenced this Appeal in favor of his former law firm, his brother Alan Ciklin Managing Partner and Brian O'Connell Partner.

oh and Good Luck with the Florida Supreme Court, they PROTECT Florida Corruption at every level. Where is the State and Federal Authorities in all this?

Click Below to Read the Casey Decision, July 20th 2016

Sure Looks Like RICO Pattern and Practice to Me. Protecting the O'Connell, Ciklin Law Firm