Widow bilked: Former Farmington president sued for allegedly stealing $7 million

By Lisa Provence | C-Ville Weekly | December 16, 2016 4:42 PM

When Lynne Kinder’s 41-year-old husband died of a heart attack while riding his bike on New Year’s Eve in 2005, his childhood friend and groomsman in their wedding said he owed it to Trey Kinder to take care of his widow and two young children. She believed him, until discovering earlier this year that the $6.9 million she’d entrusted to Victor M. Dandridge III had shrunk to $735,000, according to court documents.

Kinder filed suit against Dandridge, a local businessman who was the former president of Farmington Country Club, Farmington Property Owners Association and the Virginia Athletics Foundation, November 17 in Richmond Circuit Court.

The suit ensnares a dozen other defendants, including his wife, Ann Claiborne Dandridge, whom the suit contends has an economics degree from UVA and had to know her husband was diverting Kinder’s funds to “line his own pockets and those of his family” and to prop up Timberlake Lighting and the Huntington Learning Center franchises they owned, the latter of which was losing $300,000 to $400,000 a year, according to the complaint.

It also names Dandridge’s father, Victor M. Dandridge Jr., who was a well-known financial adviser with Wall, Patterson in Atlanta; Richard Lloyd Booth, a “close personal friend” of the Dandridges and a managing director and co-chief investment officer with Dallas-based HBK Capital Management, which manages more than $9.7 billion; and Virginia National Bank.

According to the suit, the FBI began an investigation of Dandridge in October.

Dandridge was a partner at Thompson Davis & Company, a private wealth management firm in Richmond, from 2012 until earlier this year, when he resigned after Kinder started seeking documents from the firm, which is also named in the suit.

He helped establish local venture capital firm Tall Oaks Capital Partners LLC in 2000, according to his Thompson Davis profile.

Dandridge managed his own Runnymede Capital Management, which Kinder alleges was an account to pay his personal debts and expenses, and Wycliffe Capital Management and Selwyn Partners LP, which handled multiple clients’ money without Dandridge being licensed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to the suit.

[Chris Wang with Runnymede Capital Management in New Jersey emails to say his company is in no way connected with this Runnymede.]

Thompson Davis was aware of that lack of registration when it hired him, the suit says, although Dandridge did become licensed when he joined the firm.

Kinder accuses Dandridge of illegally transferring money out of her IRA, which she says “should have raised red flags” with Thompson Davis, but the firm never noticed its employee “was purloining her money,” according to the suit. The early withdrawals caused her to incur tax penalties, she says.

Thompson Davis attorney Bill Bayliss of Williams Mullen did not respond to phone calls from C-VILLE.

Virginia National Bank is named in the suit for providing Dandridge with a $2.7 million line of credit, secured by collateral from his father in early 2014. Kinder claims Dandridge used her money to fraudulently make payments and to clear the line of credit and remove his father’s obligation.

Bank president Glenn Rust did not return phone calls from C-VILLE.

Kinder also alleges Dandridge sold his Farmington house in 2015 and bought a house in Inglecress, which he sold to his friend Booth earlier this year and is now renting it to impede her “ability to unwind the transaction.”

According to Albemarle property records, Dandridge sold the house he bought in 1999 for $812,500 at 2530 Pine Lane for $2,125,000 in 2015. He paid $1.09 million for the house at 1105 Inglecress Drive that same year, and sold it to Booth’s 1105 Inglecress LLC in May for $1.5 million.

Kinder also says Dandridge used her funds to make real estate investments, buying the building at 695 Berkmar Court, the address of Timberlake Lighting and Vitruvian, the LLC that operates the learning centers. She claims he sold the building in 2014 for $1.25 million and didn’t share the proceeds or any rental income with her.

“I don’t have any comment,” says Dandridge when reached by phone.

According to the suit, Trey Kinder became an investment banker in 1997, and at the time of his death was making $2 million a year. He left his wife a $2 million life insurance policy, and $3.3 million in Wachovia stock and stock options.

Within 17 days of his death in January 2006, Dandridge sent Lynne Kinder a letter with an investment portfolio strategy and recommendations, including a “preservation of capital approach” on the $6.5 million portfolio, according to the complaint.

By 2008, she says he was no longer providing statements from the third-party brokerages where he said he’d put her money, and when she asked, Dandridge “continued to assure her that they were doing well,” the suit says.

Kinder made only modest withdrawals from the accounts, but when she did, she had to go through Dandridge, and by 2013, “grew tired of having to make requests to withdraw her own money,” she says in the suit.

With her requests for greater transparency going unanswered, according to her complaint, Kinder drove to Charlottesville on April 7 of this year, and Dandridge presented her with a one-page financial summary that said she had $1,277,536 in liquid assets and $1,407,760 in illiquid investments, a number that included her $1 million house that she’d paid off after her husband died and her $458,000 IRA.

That’s when she sought counsel.

The $6.9 million she’d entrusted to Dandridge had “catastrophically and inexplicably” been depleted to around $1.7 million, the suit alleges, during a time that, she conservatively estimates, based on S&P 500 returns, should have grown to at least $7.3 million. So far, she’s recovered only $735,000.

According to the complaint, “Dandridge admitted that he had both stolen and mismanaged Mrs. Kinder’s assets.”

Among the 13 counts, Kinder is suing for breach of contract and of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligence, and is seeking $9 million in damages.

Her attorney, Mark Krudys, declined to comment beyond the complaint. Dandridge has until January 12 to respond.

Updated December 19.

See Original Article Here.

Local family claims fleecing by advisor; Richmond firm implicated

By MICHAEL SCHWARTZ | Richmond BizSense | December 14, 2016

See Original Article Here.

The widow of a wealthy local investment banker is suing a Charlottesville businessman who she claims stole much of her family’s $7 million fortune in an episode that is allegedly being investigated by the FBI and has entangled a Richmond financial firm.

Lynne Kinder, whose husband Carr Lanier “Trey” Kinder died in 2005, has accused Victor Dandridge III, a former partner at Richmond-based Thompson Davis & Co., of pilfering the money left to her and her daughters.

Filed Nov. 17 in Richmond Circuit Court, the suit states that Dandridge was struggling with his own financial dealings and has admitted to stealing and mismanaging Kinder’s money in a scam that diminished her assets from $6.9 million to less than $2 million. It claims a criminal investigation was launched by the FBI in October related to “the theft of Mrs. Kinder’s monies.”

“To buoy the struggling businesses and simply to line his own pockets and those of his family, during the period of 2007 to 2016, (Dandridge III) stole and squandered millions of dollars of Kinder monies,” the case claims.

“Mrs. Kinder brings this action to reclaim for her daughters the bright financial future that her late husband and she worked so hard to provide.”

FBI spokesman Michael Schuler said the bureau couldn’t confirm or deny the existence of any investigation related to the allegations in the Kinder case.

Dandridge is represented by Charlottesville attorney Francis Lawrence. Messages left for Lawrence were not returned by press time.

In addition to Dandridge, the suit also lobs allegations at a dozen other defendants, including Thompson Davis – where Dandridge worked from 2012 until this summer – its founder and CEO Bill Davis, its current and former compliance officers, the firm’s in-house hedge fund, and Dandridge’s wife.

Also dragged into the 64-page lawsuit are Virginia National Bank, Dandridge’s father, Charlottesville financial advisor Richard L. Booth Jr. and various business entities.

The relationship between the late Mr. Kinder and Dandridge goes back to their youth in Roanoke. The two were childhood friends and Dandridge was a groomsman at the Kinders’ wedding and spoke at Kinder’s funeral.

The late Mr. Kinder attended Washington & Lee University and earned a law degree from UVA.

He worked as an associate at Hunton & Williams before going into investment banking in 1997 – a career change that landed him in Richmond at Wheat, First Securities (which eventually became part of First Union), and then Wells Fargo.

He was 41 when he died of a heart attack while riding his bike, according to the suit, leaving his wife and daughters nearly $7 million through an IRA, stock, stock options and life insurance proceeds.

The case alleges that Dandridge, who worked in Richmond for First Union in the late 1980s, contacted the widowed Kinder days after her husband’s death, claiming he ‘owed it to Trey’ to look after her and her two young daughters and offered to manage the family’s financial affairs.

Despite allegedly not being registered as an investment advisor with either FINRA or the SEC, Dandridge persisted in his pitch, the case claims, and Kinder – who attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg – eventually agreed to transfer her financial assets to Dandrige’s care in February 2006.

Six years later, Dandridge became a partner at Thompson Davis, earning certain financial advisor certifications in the process.

While the case admits Dandridge brought only a fraction of Kinder’s assets with him to Thompson Davis, it claims Davis and current and former compliance officers Kevin Rutherford and Walter Young knew Dandridge was managing money for clients without being registered or licensed with FINRA or the SEC but “took a head in the sand approach” to his past and then-current activities.

It claims Thompson Davis should have seen red flags raised by Dandridge’s actions during his time at the firm, and that the company is “vicariously liable” for its employees’ alleged wrongful conduct.

Thompson Davis, through attorney Bill Bayliss of Williams Mullen, said in a statement it denies the allegations.

“The Thompson Davis defendants, including Bill Davis, Walter Young, Kevin Rutherford and Seven Hills deny any and all allegations of wrong doing on their behalf and their records reflect that they had only a small amount of Lynne Kinder’s money under management and Thompson Davis never took custody of any of these funds while under management at Thompson Davis as these assets were held at Bank of New York Mellon-Pershing,” the statement reads. “Their records further reflect that they properly managed the funds entrusted to them by Lynne Kinder and when the accounts were closed this summer and the funds were returned to Lynne Kinder the accounts reflected a positive return for their client.”

Dandridge left Thompson Davis shortly after Kinder’s attorney began requesting documents from Dandridge and the firm.

Over the course of Dandridge’s management of Kinder’s finances, he allegedly used Kinder’s money to prop up his own businesses and facilitate various real estate deals in Charlottesville, including one involving a nearly 9,000-square-foot home there.

Dandridge allegedly used Kinder’s money to make payments on a $2.7 million line of credit, which he borrowed from Virginia National Bank with the help of collateral from his father.

The case claims Dandridge used Kinder’s money to take out a loan on Kinder’s own home and then used her money to pay back the loan.

It claims Dandridge and his wife, Ann Claiborne Dandridge – both of whom have economics degrees from UVA – used Kinder’s money to settle various business lawsuits and to pay a lease in Midlothian and their legal fees.

It claims Mrs. Dandridge knew of the ill-gotten funds.

Kinder, who lives in the City of Richmond, alleges 13 counts, including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud, negligence and unjust enrichment against Dandridge, Thompson Davis, Davis, Rutherford, Young and Seven Hills.

She accuses Dandridge, his wife, their lighting company and Thompson Davis of conversion, a legal term for theft.

The claims against Booth, Virginia National Bank and Dandridge’s father relate to fraudulent conveyances, seeking to recoup money that may have been transferred under fraudulent circumstances.

She’s seeking combined damages of more than $9 million and has asked for a jury trial.

Kinder is represented in the case by Richmond attorney Mark Krudys, a former federal prosecutor. Krudys had no comment beyond the pleading.

Justice Dept. probes whether Hampton Roads jail violated rights of mentally ill

See Original Article Here.

By Rachel Weiner | The Washington Post | December 12, 2016

The Hampton Roads jail, where a mentally ill young man died last year awaiting a psychiatric hospital bed, is under investigation by the Justice Department.

Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, was accused of stealing $5.05 worth of snacks from a 7-Eleven near his family’s home in Portsmouth, Va., in April 2015. A judge ordered Mitchell, who had stopped taking his schizophrenia medication, sent to a psychiatric hospital.

But Mitchell stayed in the Virginia jail while waiting for an open bed. Five months later, he was dead, having lost 36 pounds. Mark Krudys, an attorney for Mitchell’s family, said Mitchell’s cell was soaked with urine when his body was found.

The federal probe is focused on whether the jail violates the rights of the mentally ill by putting them in isolation and denying them proper services.

“All prisoners, including those with mental illness, have a constitutional right to receive necessary medical care, treatment and services,” Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement Monday.

Prosecutors in the Eastern District of Alexandria are working with the Civil Rights Division on the investigation.

“Prisoners with mental illness are a particularly vulnerable population, and their rights must be safeguarded,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said in a statement on Monday.

After Mitchell’s death, officials at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail told The Washington Post that Mitchell received proper treatment and had not alerted jail staff members to health problems. “Food was delivered to his cell,” said Lt. Col. Eugene Taylor, assistant superintendent at the jail. “He could have flushed meals.”

Taylor said the jail could not say for sure that Mitchell was eating, but he also said Mitchell did not complain that he was losing weight.

An audit by the Virginia Office of the Inspector General found that nurses at the jail did not treat severe edema in one of Mitchell’s legs, failed to note his alarming weight loss and relied on the acutely psychotic inmate to report health problems or suicidal thoughts himself.

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) requested a Justice Department investigation in September, noting Mitchell’s death and that of 60-year-old Henry Stewart in the same jail this August. The Virginian-Pilot reported Stewart’s repeated requests for medical treatment were denied; he died of a perforated ulcer.

Since then, Taylor and the jail’s superintendent have stepped down and procedures at the jail have been changed so that a central medical staff member rather than jail staff is responsible for care requests.

Mark Krudys, who represents the Mitchell and Stewart families, said he has heard many more complaints about the jail from inmates and their relatives.

“We do believe that the problems at that jail are systemic,” Krudys said. “It’s really necessary for somebody like DOJ to come in and do a thorough investigation.”

Robert J. McCabe, interim superintendent of the jail, said, “We expected to hear from DOJ and look forward to cooperating with the DOJ investigation going forward.”

He added: “The Hampton Roads Regional Jail staff has been working tirelessly to improve jail operations and delivery of services. We are confident that DOJ will recognize the positive efforts being made.”

$20 million lawsuit filed against Richmond City Justice Center in death of inmate

By SARAH KLEINER AND K. BURNELL EVANS | Richmond Times-Dispatch | December 1, 2016, 10:30 PM

A Petersburg man was treated for the wrong medical condition and then died after jailers strapped him to a restraint chair at the Richmond City Justice Center in January, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court.

Gregory Lee Hill, 26, told medical staff members at the jail that he was addicted to Xanax, but a nurse wrote on medical forms that he was addicted to opiates instead, according to the lawsuit.

Withdrawing from the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and other benzodiazepines can be lethal without the right treatment, while opiate withdrawal typically is not, according to the lawsuit.

At the time of Hill’s death, jail officials said they believed he died of a heart attack.
Hill was the first of at least 37 Virginia jail inmates who have died so far in 2016.

Questions about inmate health care and the oversight of jails are expected to be addressed when the General Assembly convenes in January.

The Richmond Police Department is investigating Hill’s death, according to the lawsuit. A police spokesperson could not be reached late Thursday afternoon to confirm the investigation.

Brenda Hill Myrick, Hill’s mother, is seeking $20.4 million from 23 defendants: NaphCare, the company that contracts with the jail to provide medical care to inmates; 11 NaphCare employees; Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr., the jail’s top administrator; and 10 of his corrections officers.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the Richmond division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. It was filed by Richmond attorney Mark Krudys, who declined to comment for this story.

Tony Pham, general counsel for the Richmond sheriff’s office, said he could not comment on the lawsuit because the jail had not received it as of late Thursday afternoon.

Hill, who died Jan. 9, was arrested Jan. 5 in Petersburg on charges of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

According to the lawsuit, Hill began experiencing symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal, which include tremors, irritability, increased anxiety, panic attacks, sweating, confusion, hallucinations and psychosis.

Hill began making statements that did not make sense, but deputies did not initially contact the jail’s medical staff, according to the suit.

“When deputies finally determined to take Mr. Hill to the medical department, deputies characterized Mr. Hill as resisting, and they physically restrained him and sprayed him with pepper spray,” the suit says.

NaphCare workers told the jail’s staff that he needed to be taken to the hospital, according to the lawsuit. Instead, jailers took him away from the medical pod and strapped him into an “emergency restraint chair.”

Limited video footage available showed Hill complying with deputies as they walked him to the chair, according to the lawsuit. He was sweating heavily and disheveled.

Corrections officers called for NaphCare employees the evening of Jan. 9 because Hill was unresponsive.

Emergency medical responders were called to the scene and they attempted to resuscitate Hill, according to the suit. He was transported to VCU Medical Center in cardiac arrest. He was declared dead seven minutes after arriving.

Jail officials and NaphCare declined to provide Hill’s medical records to the medical examiner and gave limited reports and video footage to the Richmond Police Department, according to the suit.

The medical examiner said Hill died of unknown causes, according to the lawsuit. A spokesperson with the medical examiner’s office in Richmond did not respond to a request for information from the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday afternoon.

Hill was one of at least 230 inmates who have died in Virginia jails since 2011. That total does not include deaths at state or federal prisons.

Four other men have died at the Richmond City Justice Center since Hill: Kenard Leshawn Hines in February, Darrell Jerome Ross in March, Rashad Antonio Dandridge in June and Walter Rodney Woodard in September, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

According to court records, several inmates have settled lawsuits against the Richmond jail and its administrators in the past five years — especially those who were incarcerated in the old facility, which lacked air conditioning. The new jail, which is air conditioned, started accepting inmates in mid-2014.

The lawsuit from Hill’s mother comes as Virginia lawmakers grapple with how best to boost oversight of the state’s largely self-policed local and regional jail facilities.

Although jails must report inmate deaths to the Department of Corrections, facilities are not required to release the results of their own internal investigations of those deaths to the public.

Most jails are run either by an elected sheriff or a superintendent who serves at the pleasure of a regional board.

The panel of citizens appointed by the governor to oversee local and regional jails did not — until last month — begin receiving notification of inmate deaths and other critical incidents at facilities.

Although some jail leaders invite local law enforcement agencies or Virginia State Police to review fatalities, state Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle, has said those investigations are not designed to address a gray area laid bare by the case of Jamycheal Mitchell, a 24-year-old man who died in August 2015 of complications from wasting syndrome, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

Mitchell, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, lost 46 pounds over 101 days at Hampton Roads Regional Jail. He had been arrested after allegedly stealing $5 worth of snack food from a convenience store near his home in Portsmouth.

Mitchell’s case and many others that have wound their way through state and federal courts raise questions about a jail’s obligation to provide inmates with adequate medical care.

At least five agencies reviewed Mitchell’s death, but none was able to reach a conclusion about how a physically healthy but mentally ill man was allowed to waste away in plain sight.
The jail cleared itself of wrongdoing in an internal investigation but declined to release the report to the public. State police continue to look into Mitchell’s death.

Jail officials have said the Hampton Roads facility handles the region’s most medically complicated cases and — like correctional facilities across the state — is not the right place for those with severe mental illness.

Bell has said authority to ask difficult questions about how jails should be caring for inmates, and in particular those with mental illness, must rest with an independent third party.

Possibilities on the table are the state’s top watchdog — the Office of the State Inspector General — or the Board of Corrections. Law enforcement agencies have supported moving additional oversight responsibility to the board, but board members have voiced concerns about the body’s ability to manage that degree of oversight.

In the interim, families such as Hill’s and Mitchell’s continue to seek legal recourse.
Krudys, the attorney who filed Thursday’s suit, also is representing Mitchell’s family in a $60 million lawsuit filed in federal court in May, and the family of Henry Stewart, a 60-year-old inmate at Hampton Roads Regional Jail who died two days after his written request for emergency medical help in August was denied. A lawsuit in Stewart’s case has not been filed.

See Original Article Here.

Regional jail’s interim chief vows more transparency after two inmate deaths

By PETER DUJARDIN | The Daily Press | September 17, 2016 6:03 PM

The new interim head of the Hampton Roads Regional Jail is vowing more public transparency regarding the jail’s operations — including two high-profile deaths over the past 13 months.

Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe, a board member of the regional jail and its acting superintendent, said he would decide this week whether to publicly release the internal investigation report into the death of inmate Jamycheal Mitchell, who died at the Portsmouth facility in August 2015.

And soon, McCabe said, he would likely have more to say about the death of a 60-year-old Newport News inmate who died in custody at the regional jail in early August.

“Whatever we can release, we need to release,” McCabe said Thursday. “And if we can’t release it, then somebody needs to give me a good, valid reason why we can’t. If there’s a screw-up, then you know what, you gotta own it.”

As for the Aug. 6 death of Henry Clay Stewart Jr., 60, of Newport News, McCabe said jail officials told the board last month “that it was a natural death, and that there was nothing out of the ordinary.”

Because the jail houses many inmates with health issues, he said, “that’s what we accepted.” Now, however, he’s not so sure.

“After some documents that I’m seeing … I’m not so sure that’s going to be acceptable once I get my hands on everything that I need to in reference to that,” McCabe said. “I can’t say anything more because I don’t have my hands on all those things.”

But he’s “certainly looking at” Stewart’s death, he said, and will be talking to the jail’s medical staff about it on Monday.

After the second death, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring asked the U.S. Justice Department for a federal investigation into practices at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail.

“I write to you with urgency,” Herring wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Sept. 2. “Virginia is once again confronted with significant questions about the provision of medical care at this regional jail.”

The Justice Department has not yet announced whether it will investigate.

A week after Herring’s request, the board’s personnel committee voted to accept the retirement of Superintendent David L. Simons, effective Oct. 1.

Simons had put in that retirement date months ago, volunteering to stay until his replacement could be found. But at the Sept. 9 meeting, board members declined that offer, putting McCabe in the interim spot beginning three days later.

McCabe said Thursday that the jail’s “lack of transparency” under Simons was a “major reason” for their decision.

Hampton Roads Regional Jail: By default, Virginia’s largest mental hospital
Hampton Roads Regional Jail: By default, Virginia’s largest mental hospital
“The superintendent was listening to legal counsel and the lawyers,” who told him not to say much, McCabe said. “That’s what lawyers do. But I was always taught that there’s legal recourse and the court of public opinion. … For us, I think the public deserves to know, because let’s face it, they pay our salaries, they pay for these facilities.”

Last week, the AG’s office also revealed that Herring wrote to Simons in June, urging him to release the jail’s internal report into Mitchell’s death, pointing out that it occurred more than 300 days earlier.

“The public expects and deserves answers about the chain of events that led to this death,” Herring wrote in the two-page letter June 17. “As policymakers and public servants, we have an obligation to learn any lessons we can to make sure such a situation does not occur again.”

Though other agencies have investigated the death, he wrote, “a critical piece of the puzzle” is missing, “with the public and commonwealth left to surmise or speculate” about what happened. “In my view, this is untenable and unacceptable,” Herring wrote.

But Simons rebuffed the attorney general’s request.

“I appreciate your opinion,” Simons wrote, in part, on June 30. He told Herring the report is exempt from mandatory release under state open records law, and said he provided the results of the internal investigation to both the Virginia State Police and Portsmouth police.

“On the advice of counsel, we have not released our internal documents since we are involved in a federal court lawsuit,” Simons wrote. “The Hampton Roads Regional Jail has cooperated in all investigations concerning Mr. Mitchell’s death and will continue to do so.”

But Simons never told the jail’s 15-member board — made up mostly of local sheriffs and city managers — that Herring had asked him for the report. McCabe, for his part, said that request should “without a doubt” have been shared with the board.

“We were not aware of the attorney general’s letter, or even that there was a letter,” he said. “When we have our monthly board meeting and we are briefed on things and ask about things, we are presuming that we are being told things like that.”

After McCabe told the Daily Press Thursday that he had still not seen the letters, the newspaper — which got the correspondence from Herring’s office last week — emailed them to McCabe.

Simons declined Thursday to speak to a Daily Press reporter who knocked on the door of his home in Hampton.

The Hampton Roads Regional Jail, with just over 1,100 inmates, is a publicly owned facility that houses inmates from Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth. Its governing board is appointed by those five cities.

Mitchell, the man accused of stealing snacks from a Portsmouth 7-Eleven, suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When he was found dead — of a heart problem and a “wasting syndrome” — his family’s lawyer said urine and feces lined the cell.

It was later discovered that court clerks and staffers at Eastern State Hospital had bungled the paperwork needed to get Mitchell transferred to a state hospital for court-ordered psychiatric treatment.

Less than a year later, Stewart died in August.

He was arrested in early May outside the family’s home on 31st Street in southeast Newport News, picked up on a warrant charging him with violating the terms of his probation on a 2011 shoplifting conviction from Hampton.

On Aug. 4, in a one-page “emergency grievance,” Stewart begged jail staffers for medical help.

He wrote that he had “blacked out twice in less than 24 hours,” but didn’t know why, adding that “I can’t hold water down or food.” “I need emergency assistant right away,” Stewart wrote in larger lettering.

Another inmate would say later that Stewart had been coughing up blood for weeks, and had also fallen and hit his head on the jail’s concrete floor the day of that request.

But a jail staffer determined that Stewart’s request was “not an emergency.” Two days later, on Aug. 6, he was found dead in his cell.

The lawyer representing both inmates’ families, Mark Krudys of Richmond, said he hoped the jail’s new leadership is serious about public transparency — and isn’t just touting it as a way of making the media scrutiny go away.

Jails in Virginia, Kudrys said, are notoriously closed-mouth after an inmate death. He compared that to a more open atmosphere when a child dies or is injured in school.

“If something happens to a child at a school, you’d expect the principal to bring the parents in and describe the circumstances,” Krudys said. “The principal says, ‘Here is what we know, and I’m trying my best to find out what occurred.’ They don’t do that (with jails). There’s a total information shutdown. And you have to basically resort to the courts to find out in detail what occurred.”

Krudrys has filed a $60 million federal wrongful death lawsuit in Mitchell’s death last year, with that case now pending.

For his part, McCabe vowed that the regional jail would do better.

Jail officials, he said, could have done a better job communicating that the regional jail is different from other jails in that a greater proportion of its inmates have health issues, so a higher death rate is expected.

But in his first week on the job, he said, longstanding frustrations about jail communications rose to the surface.

“It’s not just the media who hasn’t had contact with the leadership,” McCabe said. “I’ve talked to quite a few people who have called the jail, concerned about their loved ones, who haven’t gotten their phone calls returned.”

“There’s going to be a need for a huge improvement in communication all the way around.”

See Original Article Here.

Mark Krudys addresses national audience on litigating a drowning case

On July 8, 2015, Mark Krudys and aquatics expert Kim William Tyson presented a nationally transmitted webinar entitled “Litigating a Drowning Case: Practice Tips and the Law.”  The presentation and related materials are available from seminarweb.com.  Topics covered in the webinar include the following:

Introduction of Mr. Tyson

Drowning statistics

Overview of the presentation – first practical, then substantive

Description of nature of cases

Practical Tips

Pre-filing investigation

Identifying persons with relevant information

Send spoliation letter

Identify expert witnesses

Categories of potential defendants

Discovery

Matters to understand before embarking on discovery

Instinctive drowning response

Different than aquatic distress

Three types of victims

Description of drowning

Timing

Recognizing drowning

Drowning – What occurs?

Drowning process summary

Plaintiff’s experts

Aquatics expert

Emergency room physician

Medical examiner

Document requests

Pool inspection and photo plan

Jury selection issues

Opening statement

Plaintiff’s case-in-chief

Aquatics expert

Establish the standard of care

Describe the qualities and proper role of a professional lifeguard

RID Factor

Scanning challenges

Direct testimony regarding actions/inactions of the lifeguard

Cross of the lifeguards

Substantive law

Basis of the claim is generally a combination of common law duty and regulations – example discussed

Typical regulations

Theories of liability

Applicable standard of care

Premises liability

Product defects

Attractive nuisance

Willful and wanton misconduct

Negligence per se

Contributory negligence/ Assumption of the Risk

Charitable immunity

Helpful websites and sources of materials

The Krudys Law Firm wins appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia

On June 4, 2015, the Supreme Court of Virginia sided with The Krudys Law Firm’s arguments that its client Laura Pendleton had properly pled a defamation by inference, implication or insinuation action. The Supreme Court’s summary of its decision follows:

In a defamation action, the circuit court erred in sustaining a demurrer and dismissing the complaint without leave to amend. Whether a claim for defamation by inference, implication or insinuation, defamation actions may proceed in Virginia only upon statements which may actually defame a plaintiff, and in this case it is clear that any innuendo proceeding from the defendants’ statements about the death of a child was aimed directly at the mother and at no other person. The statements were published, and were capable of conveying the defamatory innuendo that the plaintiff bore responsibility for her child’s death. Assuming the truth of all the facts properly pled, and giving her the benefit of all facts implied and fairly and justly inferred from them, in the context set forth in the complaint the words ascribed to the defendants, given their plain meaning, are reasonably capable of conveying the defamatory innuendo of which the plaintiff complains. Because the circuit court erred in sustaining the demurrer, the judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.