More on Michigan attorney facing contempt charges from Barden estate case


Here’s another article on the Michigan attorney potentially facing contempt charges in association with the Don Barden estate.  At issue is a response filed by attorney Steven Cohen in which he alleged that estate planning attorneys connected to Barden’s estate were following an unwritten “playbook” of rules among probate attorneys “to unnecessarily complicate the estate and generate enormous fees” for probate attorneys.

At Estate of Denial® we often discuss disputes contrived by unscrupulous attorneys for the purpose of generating billable hours.  We’ve even written commentaries with titles like Contrived probate disputes mirror ‘ambulance chasing’ barratry actions.  So while the veracity of such claims are unknown in this particular case, from a general standpoint – absolutely such actions occur!

In fact, in the same way that a lucrative estate-looting racket using a self-enriching subset of “legal standards” to prey on an unsuspecting public and their property has emerged within the legal industry’s culture, this web site was established to talk about exactly such actions.

From the article:

A lawyer in the battle over the estate of Don Barden, the late casino mogul, has been threatened with criminal contempt for revealing confidential details about the dispute and accusing the Wayne County Probate Court of operating a corrupt legal system.

In an order Friday, Wayne County Probate Judge Terrance Keith also said he planned to ask the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission to investigate Farmington Hills lawyer Steven Cohen for possible disciplinary action.

Keith accused Cohen of publicly disclosing information about the estate brawl in violation of the judge’s confidentiality order; and for making outlandish, unsubstantiated and frivolous accusations about the court, opposing lawyers in the case and the facts of the case.

Keith, in a 57-page opinion, also rejected Cohen’s request to invalidate Barden’s trust and ordered Cohen to pay sanctions — legal penalties that could total tens of thousands of dollars — to opposing lawyers who had to file legal responses to Cohen’s allegations.

Keith said Cohen’s allegations that the Wayne County Probate Court operates according to an unwritten playbook that allows favored lawyers to corruptly charge excessive fees to estates were sensational, defamatory and unfounded and “have absolutely no legal relevance whatsoever in furtherance of the petition to set aside … the trust.”

Read more.


Attorney threatened with contempt for revealing details of Barden estate case
David Ashenfelter
July 19, 2012
Detroit Free Press

This is one to watch.  We’ll keep you posted!