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Goodove and Ufkes seek justice for teen’s family

Lawsuits filed in the drunk-driving crash that killed Great Bridge High School senior Kaitlyn Duffy and critically injured her friend, Sabrina Mundorff, have been settled.

The furniture company that employed the driver agreed this week to pay Duffy’s family $450,000, most of which will be covered by insurance, according to a final order filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court.

Records in Virginia Beach show a suit filed there by Mundorff was settled in late August. A final order in that case was entered Oct. 3 but did not mention the settlement amount or terms.

The families were limited in how much they could collect because of the “woefully inadequate” assets and insurance coverage that the company had, according to their attorneys, Michelle McCracken and Michael Goodove. McCracken represented the Duffy family, and Goodove is Mundorff’s lawyer.

“This was never about the money,” Goodove said. “It was an attempt to gain some justice for our clients and to prevent another family from having to go through something like this.”

Duffy, 18, was killed May 19, 2017, when a Great Bridge Furniture box truck driven by Jerode Johnson slammed head-on into her SUV on Indian River Road in the Pungo section of Virginia Beach.

Duffy and Mundorff had spent the day at the beach with friends and were driving home. The two were set to graduate from Great Bridge High School less than a month later.

Mundorff remained hospitalized for months before being sent to a rehabilitation center in Georgia.

Johnson’s blood alcohol level tested at 0.10 to 0.11 more than two hours after the wreck, according to a toxicologist. It would have been .12 to .16 at the time of the crash, she said. He also had cocaine, marijuana and the prescription drug Valium in his system. His father, a passenger […]

NURSE, SENTARA SUED OVER TRAUMATIC ABORTION

The patient felt nervous enough. She was 4 1/2 months pregnant with a deformed fetus, lying on a hospital bed, waiting for an abortion. She knew it would be traumatic.
Into her room walked a nurse who, she says, turned her morning into a horror.
The nurse criticized the patient for choosing the abortion, told her she would never get over it, said she would have to celebrate her dead child’s birthday just as she celebrated her living child’s, the patient says.
Then, she says, the nurse started crying and said she was opposed to abortion. The nurse said she had never assisted in an abortion and told the patient that she would have to help her through the difficult procedure.
That was in December 1994. This month, the patient – using the pseudonym Jane Doe – sued Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and the nurse, Nancy C. Benson of Norfolk, for medical malpractice and other alleged misdeeds.
She is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.
This is the same abortion that prompted another lawsuit earlier this year. In that case, the nurse sued the hospital, claiming religious discrimination: She says she was fired for refusing to help with the Doe operation. That case is pending in federal court.
All sides agree that the nurse was taken off the abortion soon after the incident, suspended, then quit a few days later.
The patient sued Dec. 6 in Circuit Court under a pseudonym to protect her privacy. She says, in court papers, that she feared the nurse would withhold pain medication and would not help her through the procedure.
“This really doesn’t come down to whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice,” said Doe’s attorney, Michael L. Goodove. “She (the patient) has […]

By |October 19th, 2018|STS&G News|0 Comments|
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    Despite past suicide attempts, Norfolk teen was left alone with shackles he used to kill himself

Despite past suicide attempts, Norfolk teen was left alone with shackles he used to kill himself

The mother of the 17-year-old who committed suicide in a courthouse holding cell last year is suing the sheriff and the city, saying they failed to protect her son, who had a long history of mental illness and trying to kill himself.

Lisa Washington, mother of Katrell Washington, filed the wrongful death lawsuit Thursday afternoon against Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron and leaders at the Norfolk Juvenile Detention Center.

The lawsuit alleges a sheriff’s deputy falsified a logbook after the teen’s death to make it appear she and her colleagues had checked on him.

Lisa Washington is asking for $5 million to compensate her for the loss of her son, plus $350,000 in punitive damages from 18 defendants, including Baron, Juvenile Detention Center Superintendent Carey Patterson and the city, which runs the center.

Lt Col. Michael O’Toole, the No. 2 at the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office, declined to comment on the suit around noon Friday, saying he didn’t have a copy of it because the office had not been served. City spokeswoman Lori Crouch declined to comment.

On Nov. 16, Katrell Washington used his shackles to strangle himself in a fifth-floor holding cell. He was awaiting a hearing on charges that he threatened a Maury High School teacher, tried to attack her with scissors and stabbed two students who protected her.

Washington had long-suffered from severe mental illness and tried to commit suicide multiple times, attorney Beth Ufkes wrote in the 56-page lawsuit filed in Norfolk Circuit Court. In fact, Washington had come to court to plead not guilty by reason of insanity so the judge could order him to get the treatment he needed.

But detention center employees said nothing when they handed off Washington to Norfolk sheriff’s deputies so they could […]

By |October 19th, 2018|STS&G News|0 Comments|

Motorists who paid abusive driver fines to be offered refunds

The Virginia Supreme Court will send letters this week to some of South Hampton Roads’ worst drivers, offering them refunds for drunken- and reckless-driving fees.
Some were convicted of eluding police during the commission of a crime, while others were caught behind the wheel after lower courts had already revoked their licenses and ordered them not to drive.
At least 4,204 drivers convicted in the five cities as of the end of 2007 will be told the special fees they were once asked to pay are forgiven, according to the state Supreme Court. Those who have already paid hundreds of dollars of those extra fees will be getting refund checks.
The bad drivers are still obligated to pay their original fines for DUI, reckless driving and other offenses. They still have to pay court costs and suffer the burden of higher vehicle insurance because of their offenses.
But they’ll no longer pay the “abusive driver fees” because last month Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was persuaded by a public uproar to sign the repeal of a law that he and the General Assembly had hoped would help finance millions in interstate maintenance projects.
The fees were a small part of a huge 2007 transportation bill and were intended to punish the worst drivers with a new category of fine – a “civil remedial fee” – that would apply to crimes or misdemeanors committed while driving.
Simple traffic infractions such as ignoring a highway sign or failing to yield were not subject to the harsh new fees.
The law ensnared an estimated 58,000 Virginians who were ordered to pay the fees after the law went into effect on July 1, 2007, said Katya Herndon, director of legislative and public relations for the Supreme […]

By |October 19th, 2008|STS&G News|0 Comments|

DRUNKEN DRIVING FATALITIES UP IN VIRGINIA

Deaths due to drunken-driving accidents in 2006, up from 322 the year before. However, Hampton Roads deaths went down from 32 in 2005 to 22 in 2006.
For city-by-city breakdown, see Page 5. By Jen McCaffery
The Virginian-Pilot
Virginia police officers will be out in force looking to nab drunken drivers this Labor Day weekend, the third-most-deadly holiday for alcohol-related deaths.
The annual Checkpoint Strikeforce efforts are happening as state statistics show that for the first time in several years, the percentage of people killed by drunken drivers in Virginia has increased.
In 2005, there were 322 deaths in alcohol-related accidents, compared with 374 deaths in 2006, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. However, in most South Hampton Roads cities, the number of fatalities from alcohol-related accidents during the same time period decreased, DMV statistics show.
Twenty-two people died locally in 2006, compared with 32 in 2005.
“Perhaps our friends in Hampton Roads are just listening a little better,” Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell said.
McDonnell, a former Virginia Beach legislator, helped implement a package of new laws that reformed the state’s DUI restrictions in 2004 .
They include harsher punishments for repeat offenders and mandatory jail time for some drunken-driving offenses.
According to the DMV report, Virginia Beach was the only city that recorded a significant increase in the number of fatalities from alcohol-related crashes .
Last year, Virginia Beach had 15 fatalities connected to people driving under the influence of alcohol.
In 2005, there were 10 deaths , DMV statistics show.
“We’ve come a long way, but the increasing number shows that impaired driving is a serious and high priority for both MADD and law enforcement,” said Mike Goodove , president of the Southside chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving […]

By |October 19th, 2007|STS&G News|0 Comments|

looking down on lindsay

WHEN IT COMES to the bad (young) girls of Hollywood messing up and seeking redemption, usually for thousands of dollars at a secluded rehab clinic, there’s never a dearth of stories, from singer Brandy’s vehicular manslaughter charges earlier this year to Paris Hilton’s jail stay.

So nary an eyebrow raised when actress/singer Lindsay Lohan got charged with her second DUI in just two months (May 27 and July 24), prompting the former Disney princess to enter yet another drinking rehab facility, this time in Utah.

Even though young adulthood can be the most rebellious period in a person’s life, when it comes to this rule-breaking stage for Hollywood’s elite teens and young adults, their actions can have a far greater impact on their adoring fans and how they deal with the news. Some say Lohan’s status of being a sweet, innocent role model has been flushed down the toilet along with her sobriety.

“Lindsay Lohan thinks that since she is famous, she can do whatever she wants and get away with it,” said Rachel Allensworth, 17, a rising senior at Hickory High School in Chesapeake.

“She is portraying this idea that it’s OK to do drugs and drink and drive, be punished for a few days and then just go out and do it again,” said Shelby Green, 15, a rising sophomore at Nansemond River High in Suffolk.

When you’re in the public eye, said Mike Goodove, coordinator of the Southside Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it’s important to be a model for fans. “She’s sending a bad message to those that look up to her.

“Anyone that drinks and drives and says after one chance (she) ‘learned her lesson,’ but doesn’t, sets an awful example,” Goodove said.

Lohan’s in her third […]

By |March 22nd, 2007|STS&G News|0 Comments|

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in fatal crash

BY MICHELLE WASHINGTON
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
NORFOLK – As Shane Williams prepared to leave the party, several people tried to stop him from driving.
Shaun Lawhorn asked for Williams’ keys. Lawhorn’s wife, Kate, the designated driver that evening, offered Williams a ride. Several people tried to give Williams their cards for Safe Ride , a Navy program that pays for cab fare.
They made the efforts because Williams had been drinking at a series of gatherings since 11 a.m., and had consumed beer, mixed drinks, gin and shots of Jagermeister. He refused their offers and left in his white Ford pickup about 11 p.m. on Feb. 24.
Just after midnight, Williams crashed head-on into a car driven by Anthony Dominic Wilson on Interstate 264. Williams was driving the wrong way, headed east in the west bound lanes. Williams told police and paramedics that he’d had two or three drinks.
Wilson, 26, died on the highway. When paramedics told Williams, he started crying.
“Oh God, help me please,” he said.
“Please forgive me. I don’t know what’s going on. Please forgive me, Lord.”
In Norfolk Circuit Court on Thursday, Williams, 30, pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary manslaughter for Wilson’s death. Wilson’s parents cried quietly in the courtroom.
Prosecutor Ron Batliner wrote the account of Williams’ activities before the wreck based on interviews with people at the parties, witnesses at the roadside, and on investigations by State Police, Norfolk Police, and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. Williams was in the Navy at the time of the crash.
Several people saw Williams driving the wrong way on I-264 before the crash. One woman called 911. Another swerved out of Williams’ way, only to see the collision in his rear-view mirror. Williams told people who had stopped to help that […]

By |October 19th, 2006|STS&G News|0 Comments|

Mother of Va. Beach man killed in crash sues driver

CHESAPEAKE – The mother of a 31-year-old Virginia Beach man killed in a July 16 single-car crash in Chesapeake is suing the driver of the vehicle for being reckless and intoxicated.

Candace Wright filed the lawsuit recently in Chesapeake Circuit Court against Michael D. Conover, a 34-year-old Virginia Beach man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to involuntary manslaughter. Conover was sentenced to a year behind bars for the crash on Interstate 64 that killed Jonathan Dale McGlue.

McGlue was one of two passengers in a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo that Conover was driving when he lost control on westbound I-64 at the Greenbrier Parkway interchange. The vehicle flipped several times.

The lawsuit seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. Wright, through her attorney Michael Goodove, filed the suit on behalf of the estate of her son.

The lawsuit accuses Conover of operating the vehicle in a reckless, negligent manner at excessive speeds. It also said Conover was under the influence of intoxicants.

McGlue was ejected from the sport utility vehicle . He died at Chesapeake General Hospital, police said. A front-seat passenger, who was the owner of the SUV, also was injured.

Conover had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.24 – three times the legal limit for driving – prosecutors said during his criminal prosecution.

By |March 22nd, 2006|STS&G News|0 Comments|

Some question lawyer’s melding of cause, career

BY JON FRANK
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
NORFOLK – Almost 15 years ago, Michael L. Goodove was a law school student when his legal career and life were altered forever.
On a February morning in 1990, Goodove’s younger brother, Jeffrey, was riding in a car that was hit by another vehicle on a narrow, hilly road in Charlottesville.
Jeffrey, a University of Virginia student, was killed instantly.
The driver of the other car was drunk.
Goodove received the tragic news at George Mason University from his mother via telephone.
“I got the call nobody wants to get,” Goodove recalled in a recent interview. “I had never experienced death until my brother was killed. It was the first funeral I ever went to.”
That combination – drunken driving and tragedy – profoundly changed Goodove’s personal life. His family, especially his parents, were never the same.
“It is extremely unnatural to bury a child,” said Goodove, who is now married with three children . “That is something no one should ever have to go through.”
The experience of loss also came to define much of Goodove’s professional life, providing both controversy and a cause – as well as a source of commerce – to his vocation as a lawyer .
In the years since his brother’s death, Goodove has become a lawyer who represents people injured by drunken drivers and a prominent spokesman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He has been the group’s leader for the past 12 years.
In that capacity, Goodove has helped many families navigate the legal system after loved ones were injured or killed by DUI offenders.
“I consider what he does to be a real public service,” said Kaye Walsh, whose daughter, Robin Gustafson, was killed by a drunken driver in Virginia Beach in 1997. “He […]

By |October 19th, 2005|STS&G News|0 Comments|

BEACH NIGHTCLUB SUED OVER WRECK THAT KILLED 4 SUIT : PEABODY’S RESPONSIBLE FOR DRUNKEN DRIVER

Three lawsuits stemming from a deadly highway collision in 2001 were filed Thursday against Peabody’s, a popular Oceanfront nightclub where the driver responsible for the wreck had been drinking.

Enrique Lopez, a 21-year-old sailor serving aboard the carrier George Washington, was driving his Ford Mustang the wrong way on Interstate 264 on May 11, 2001, when he slammed into another vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction.

Three women in the other car – including 19-year-old Debra Van Sickle, an expectant mother – were killed. Lopez also died.

The lawsuits seek a total of $36.05 million in damages and attempt to hold Peabody’s responsible for contributing to the accident.

Andrew M. Sacks, the Norfolk lawyer who filed the lawsuits in Virginia Beach Circuit Court, said during a news conference Thursday that Peabody’s employees threw Lopez out of the club because he was extremely drunk and had become disorderly.

The lawsuits maintain that once employees “took control” of Lopez, Sacks said, they should have turned him over to authorities.

“The crux of this is that once they observed him, they took immediate steps,” Sacks said. “But they failed to complete that duty.”

Sacks said the club took the attitude that “as long as he is not a problem to us, we don’t care what he does.”

Virginia is one of the few states without “Dram Shop” legislation, which holds bars and restaurants responsible for serving alcohol to customers who then commit crimes or cause accidents. The absence of such legislation shields many businesses in Virginia’s tourism and restaurant industries from lawsuits.

Michael L. Goodove, a Norfolk lawyer who is president of the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said at Thursday’s news conference that the lobby representing the state’s restaurants and bars […]

By |October 22nd, 2003|STS&G News|0 Comments|