Paralegals: Let’s Catch Up on the News

Paralegals: Let’s Catch Up on the News

Jacksonville Paralegals Help Expand Pro Bono Services for
Low-Income Senior Citizens
Expansion has officially begun in the level of services provided to low-income senior citizens in Florida’s Duval County.

Building on the current efforts of dedicated Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA), attorneys, paralegals and law school representatives met July 12 at the offices of Akerman Senterfitt to discuss plans for expanding services to low-income senior citizens in Northeast Florida.

The expansion in services will be modeled after the Military Reservists Wills and Advance Directives Pro Bono project that has been offered to Navy and Army reservists at local military facilities.

The Senior Citizen Wills and Advance Directives Pro Bono project will provide a two-day effort by the volunteers.

Day one will include a group information presentation to residents of a HUD-subsidized senior citizen residential center describing the purposes of advance directive documents: Durable power of attorney, health care surrogate designation, designation of preneed guardian, a living will and a simple will.

Day two will include an event at which interested seniors will meet with an attorney to execute the advance planning documents.

The goal of the two-part project will be to provide low-income senior citizens with complete legal services to explain, create and execute advance planning documents.
Follow this link for more information.
Former paralegal at Houston law firm files FLSA suit

A former paralegal at the Mostyn Law Firm in Houston filed a complaint in federal court on Aug. 3 alleging the firm failed to pay her and others at an overtime rate when the firm “required and/or permitted” her and others to work more than 40 hours a week.

In Sherri L. Davis v. Mostyn Law Firm P.C., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Davis seeks class-action status for the complaint. Davis alleges the firm violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when she was required to work more than 40 hours a week and the firm failed to compensate her at the “FLSA mandated time-and-a-half rate” for hours in excess of 40 a week.”
To review Ms. Davis’s complaint, follow this link.  To read the entire article:  Texas Lawyer Blog

Paralegals have been determined to be “nonexempt” employees under the The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA states that “Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.” 


ABC Orders Pilot of “The Lincoln Lawyer”

ABC has ordered a pilot of “The Lincoln Lawyer” to possibly add to their prime time TV lineup. “The Lincoln Lawyer’ was a huge hit for Lionsgate grossing over $85 million.

ABC is hoping to cash in on this already proven concept of a twice divorced attorney that works out of his Lincoln Towncars complete with his chauffeur/ paralegal staff.

Michael Connelly, the author of the novel, would collaborate to produce the pilot. Connelly has written five novels centered on the attractive charismatic defense attorney Mickey Haller and Matthew McConaughey was the perfect choice for the film version.

I have read Connelly’s 5 five “Mickey Haller” books and I’ve seen the “Lincoln Lawyer” twice — it was that good!  While I don’t watch a lot of television, this program will definitely be on my “gotta see” list.

To read more, follow this link.

Nebraska Paralegal Wins National Award 
The American Association of Justice recently recognized Christina Koch at the group’s national conference.
Koch was chosen because of her dedication to her work, education and charity.
She works for the Omaha law firm of Inserra and Kelley. She holds a paralegal associates degree and a bachelor’s degree in business. Koch is working on her master’s degree while continuing to work 50 to 60 hours a week.
She also has her Advanced Certified Paralegal designation in Trial Practice from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and serves as the President Elect of the Nebraska Paralegal Association.
Christina joined with me to present two webcasts that are available online. The information is especially helpful to paralegals working in litigation and the handouts that accompany the course are outstanding. They can be accessed as follows:
and Discovery Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Read more here.


Wife/Paralegal Blamed for Murderer’s Missed Appeals Deadline  

Marriage has not been kind to Abdelhafid Rahmani, currently serving two life prison terms for murdering his first wife and her new husband.
First, there was wife No. 1 and No. 2. Same woman: Souad Bousserhan. They had divorced and remarried. She was still married to him when she married another man. Rahmani shot and killed them both in a jealous rage in their home near Winter Park in 1996.

Then came wife No. 3, Casilda Sanchez-Fernandez, a Deltona paralegal who married him following a jailhouse romance.

Rahmani wants to appeal his murder convictions, but in court Thursday he testified he missed the filing deadline because she hid from him all his case paperwork — something he must include with his appeal.
He’s got solid proof. In a letter he filed with Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, Sanchez-Fernandez threatened to burn Rahmani’s trial transcript and other paperwork if he didn’t sign divorce papers.

“You can kiss them good bye,” she wrote in the letter Dec. 27, 2007.
He had milked her for $20,000 in legal expenses, according to court paperwork, plus a $300-a-month jail allowance. She also had bought him new teeth and glasses and paid $7,000 to help a niece go to college, she wrote.

He should be grateful, she wrote, but instead, had accused her of lying and stealing his money. Rahmani, 51, a native of Morocco, had married her in 2005 at the state prison in Chipley, where he was housed.

Their divorce, filed in Volusia County, was finalized in 2008. As part of that case, Circuit Judge S. James Foxman ordered Sanchez-Fernandez to give back Rahmani’s paperwork. She did after several months, but by then the appeals deadline had passed.

Sanchez-Fernandez, in her early 60s, was unavailable for comment.

Source: Orlando Sentinel 

Lawsuit Over Facebook Relationship Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

A Minnesota man was sued by a Michigan woman when their Facebook relationship soured. The case has been dismissed by a Michigan Judge. 

Cheryl Gray, 50, an unemployed paralegal from Livonia, MI, had sought $8,386 in damages from Wylie Iwan in her lawsuit filed in May in Livonia District Court.

Gray was “devastated” and angry when a week before her planned trip to the Tri-Cities, Iwan said he met someone else at a Kennewick bar.

Gray claimed Iwan, 35, led her on, caused her to spend money on gifts and the planned trip, and was humiliated when he posted vulgar comments on Facebook after the end of their online romance. The gifts included a digital camera, professional baseball tickets and other items bought during the six-month relationship.

“The defendant wrote a false and malicious note on his Facebook wall,” Gray said in court Monday.

A Michigan judge said she had no jurisdiction in the case, that alleged misrepresentation and defamation of character.

“The judge dismissed it based on the court having no personal jurisdiction on the defendant, who is an out-of-state resident,” said Julian Poota, Iwan’s attorney. Iwan did not go to Michigan for the hearing.

“We are pleased the judge ruled the way she did,” Poota said. “The plaintiff was arguing the personal relationship constituted doing business in Michigan.”

Iwan insisted that he and Gray were just Facebook friends who played Mafia Wars together, but the friendship developed into an online relationship. Still, he said, he told her she was welcome to visit during spring break as “my friend.”

When he met someone new, he said he was upfront with Gray about it and initially she was OK with it. But then she started a hate group about him on the social networking site and called him an online predator.

Iwan said it was a “completely frivolous lawsuit,” and wants Gray to move on and leave him alone. That won’t be happening — Gray plans to appeal.

Read more here.