\ Click to Call Click to Text
Categories
STS&G News Virginian-Pilot Archive 2021

Interview with Elizabeth Kalocay Ufkes, personal injury attorney at STS&G, P.C. | Women in Business

At work: Whether I’m negotiating a fair settlement or arguing a case to a jury, facilitating positive outcomes for my clients is what motivates me. I have been recognized in the field of Personal Injury by Super Lawyers magazine, as a “Top Lawyer” by Coastal Virginia magazine, as a “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business and as a “Top 40 Under 40” by Inside Business. Active with the Virginia Beach Bar Association, I co-chair the General District Court Bench-Bar committee.

Volunteer activities: As board president of the nonprofit The Bureau of Books and Big Ideas, formerly REACH, we work to improve literacy among children in Hampton Roads through access to and ownership of books.

Home and family: My husband, Gordie, and I have two children, Maggie and Luke, who attend Star of the Sea Catholic School, where I serve as School Board president and fifth grade room parent. We recently adopted a loveable Belgian Malinois puppy that understands French, despite failing out of the K-9 academy.

Advice for women in business: Waterproof mascara is key to appearing calm and composed. You can never predict what each day will bring beyond a sweaty commute to the courthouse, a lengthy argument in trial, an emotional moment with a client, an evening meeting (or two) and rushing home to take care of your family.

How the coronavirus pandemic has affected my work: My firm embraced technology and changed how we meet with clients, transmit documents and conduct depositions.

Professional growth in five years: As I continue to practice law with my mentor and friend, Michael Goodove, I am excited for the opportunities and challenges that come with each new case — from making dangerous site inspections and meeting fascinating people to adapting to developments in both law and technology.

Downtime: I enjoy going to the beach with my kids, cooking, playing piano and binge watching Netflix.

What really gets under my skin: Being addressed by male colleagues who use old-fashioned pet names like “Babydoll” or “Sweetie.”

View full article from PilotOnline.com

Categories
Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 2014

Goodove and Swartz named as Superlawyers 2014

For another year, Michael Goodove and Franklin Swartz have been selected as 2014 Super Lawyers. Michael Goodove was selected as a Super Lawyer in the field of Plaintiff’s Personal Injury. Franklin Swartz was selected as a Super Lawyer in the field of White Collar Criminal Defense.  Franklin Swartz also received the distinction of Virginia:  The Top 100 Superlawyers 2014.   Only 5% of Virginia attorneys are chosen every year and Goodove and Swartz were selected based upon evaluation by other top lawyers and independant research of the candidates.  Goodove and Swartz will be contained in the 2014 Super Lawyers Magazine as well as in the 2014 November/December issue of Hampton Roads magazine.

Categories
Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Beach shells out $1.2M in claims settlements

The claims read like an insurance commercial.

Potholes blowing out tires.

Trash trucks backing over mailboxes.

Smelly sewage flooding from toilets.

They’re just a sample of the dozens of complaints filed with the city each year seeking repayment for damages.

Some are sobering, others slightly silly.

Either way, they add up, with 205 auto and general liability claims resulting in roughly $1.2 million in settlements during the last fiscal year, according to the city’s most recent Annual Risk Management Financial Report.

A year’s worth of petitions obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows fender-benders and everyday mishaps as well as more serious incidents that sometimes result in lawsuits.

“It’s a wild gamut,” City Attorney Mark Stiles said. “A lot of them were interesting to read.”

When an incident occurs involving a private resident and a city entity, such as the police or a construction crew, the person must file a “notice of claim” within six months to seek reimbursement. Risk Management investigates and decides whether to cut a check.

If the person disagrees with the department’s decision, he or she can appeal or file a lawsuit.

Many of the incidents occur on the road. Some stem from run-ins with the law, such as one in which a man said police sullied his carpet while using black fingerprint-dusting powder during a robbery investigation. In another case, two people said their cellphones were broken while they were being arrested.

Over six months ending on Feb. 28, the city paid out $45,623. That included $95 to a homeowner whose sprinkler system was damaged by a city fire truck, more than $10,000 for a sewage backup into a woman’s home, and nearly $500 to a driver whose tire rim was damaged by a pothole on Davis Street.

But sometimes the city says no way.

One man wanted payment for a car wash – and for the mileage to get there – after he said construction workers at the Oceanfront left dusty hand prints on his vehicle. Another woman wanted her car repaired after she drove over an orange traffic barrel.

The city declined both claims, Risk Management Administrator John Grook said.

Michael Goodove, a personal injury attorney who has represented clients in petitions against the city, said Virginia Beach typically responds quickly and fairly.

“I think the city always tries to do right by its citizens,” city attorney Stiles said. “I think we also have an obligation to the taxpayer not to pay claims for which there is no legal responsibility, and I think Risk Management does a good job of finding the appropriate balance of those two.”

Categories
Archive 2012 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

U.S. marshals on trail of Virginia Beach fugitive

For more than two months, police and bail bondsmen have searched for 23-year-old Cameron Paul Crockett, who didn’t show up for sentencing after a jury convicted him of manslaughter in the drunken-driving death of a friend.

Paul
Fugitive Paul Crockett

Now, federal authorities say they’ve joined the hunt.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which works to find fugitives believed to have crossed state lines or fled the country, is investigating Crockett’s case, spokeswoman Carolyn Gwathmey said Wednesday in an email. The marshals’ Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and its International Investigations Branch are involved, she said.

Mike Rowland of Lucky Seven Bail Bonds, who posted Crockett’s $20,000 bail, on Wednesday in Circuit Court received another 150 days per state law to find the fugitive before possibly forfeiting the money.

“We’re steadily working on it,” Rowland said. He declined to comment on where he believed Crockett might be.

Meanwhile, Crockett’s friends and family have launched a campaign professing his innocence on YouTube and Facebook. A Facebook profile that appears to belong to Crockett has changed several times since his disappearance, including the profile photo changing once before being deleted.

Crockett has maintained he was not driving the night of Dec. 28, 2008, when 20-year-old John “Jack” Korte Jr. died in a crash on Wolfsnare Road.

In October, Crockett’s insurance company settled a wrongful-death suit with Korte’s family for $150,000. They initially had sought $10 million.

“I can assure you that the family was never motivated at all by any of the monetary aspects of it,” said Michael Goodove, the Kortes’ attorney. “This allowed them to force somebody to accept accountability and to give them some closure, which has been long overdue.”

Then, on March 1, a jury found Crockett guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Korte’s death. Although he did not show up for sentencing four days later, the jury recommended he serve five years in prison, half the maximum.

The conviction was Crockett’s third on charges connected to Korte’s death.

A judge threw out an earlier manslaughter conviction when the jury couldn’t agree on a sentencing recommendation.

Crockett still is awaiting trial on additional charges in the case, including drunken driving and intimidating a witness.

Now he’s also charged with misdemeanor and felony failures to appear. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail; the felony, five years in prison.

If Crockett fled the state, he also could face federal prosecution.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried several times to convince a judge to revoke Crockett’s bond, arguing he had violated his release conditions, said Macie Pridgen, a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Although Crockett had to surrender his passport, he still could have hopped a flight to another state or country, said Steve Sterling, director of airport operations at Norfolk International Airport. He said airlines are required to check only that a passenger is not on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list.

“I’m certain that people who have warrants against them fly all over the country all the time,” Sterling said. “There’s not a system in place to check a wanted status on someone when they fly.”

Crockett’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, said Crockett has not contacted him since he didn’t show up for court.

“We’re extremely disappointed that Mr. Crockett has still not presented himself,” Sacks said. “We strongly urge him to do the responsible thing, so that his case can be appropriately concluded.”

Kathy Adams, 757-222-5155, kathy.adams@pilotonline.com

Categories
STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 2010

Bookie avoids prison with plea deal in Norfolk

A longtime local sports bookie will avoid prison time and forfeit more than $1 million in cash and property under a plea agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.

Howard “Moose” Amdusky, 82, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of operating an illegal gambling business. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 24.

The plea bargain is contingent on approval by U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. The judge said he will decide at sentencing whether to accept the agreement.

In court Tuesday, Amdusky admitted running a sports betting operation for the past five years and that he’d been involved in bookmaking since the 1960s. The Virginian-Pilot reported in a story earlier this month that the Amdusky family’s betting operations date back to the Great Depression.

His attorney had said that Amdusky had gotten out of bookmaking but grew bored in retirement and returned to his illegal operation. In court Tuesday, Amdusky admitted he had as many as 25 bettors waging on average $300 per sports event four to five times a week over the past five years.

In exchange for his quick guilty plea in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed to a sentence of probation or a combination of probation and house arrest.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Muhr cited Amdusky’s age, ill health, cooperation in the investigation and agreement to give up his savings, a Miami condo and other property.

An investigation that began with Virginia Beach police has linked Amdusky to a widespread sports betting ring, according to court records. A Virginia Beach grand jury this month indicted an associate, Ronald B. Freedman, on a similar charge that will be handled in state court. Federal authorities, however, have seized about $500,000 in suspected gambling assets from Freedman.

The authorities also seized more than $1 million in cash from Amdusky, as well as a car, the condo and five pieces of artwork. Muhr told the court Tuesday that other assets belonging to family members will remain untouched.

Morgan questioned Amdusky at length about whether he understood the consequences of pleading guilty.

Amdusky, leaning heavily on a podium, said, “I completely understand, sir.” At one point, he asked to sit down.

Morgan said he must wait to see a pre-sentence investigation report before agreeing to the terms of the plea agreement.

Amdusky’s lawyer said his client and his family agreed to a heavy financial loss in exchange for avoiding prison.

“They really have nothing left,” said the attorney, Franklin Swartz.

Categories
Virginian-Pilot Archive 2010 Quick STS&G News Goodove in the News

Norfolk man pleads guilty to killing, avoids death penalty

NORFOLK

Kentrell L. Sanderson pleaded guilty Wednesday to capital murder in the slaying of his 12-year-old stepdaughter, and the judge who sentenced him to life said the prosecution had been compromised because the state medical examiner involved had drug convictions.

Prosecutors previously said they would seek the death penalty for Sanderson at his trial, which had been set to begin in March.

The girl, Shatierra Sigler, died in September 2008 in the Pleasant Avenue apartment she shared with Sanderson, her mother, Robin, and her little sister.

Sanderson slit her throat and then raped her. He told police Shatierra’s fate was decided by a coin toss.

Revelations about the doctor’s history of drug and alcohol abuse led the case to end with Sanderson’s plea Wednesday to charges of capital murder, rape, sexual assault and unlawful wounding. Sanderson was sentenced to four life terms without parole plus five years.

Last month, prosecutor Philip G. Evans II alerted the court and defense lawyers that Dr. Gary Zientek, who performed Shatierra’s examination, was charged with three felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud in Henrico County.

Court records show the charges were reduced to misdemeanors, and Zientek was convicted and received a suspended sentence. Zientek’s medical license had been revoked in 2003, but it was reinstated in December 2007.

Circuit Judge Junius P. Fulton III said Zientek’s history of substance abuse, including while he was working as a doctor, “has compromised the Commonwealth’s ability to prosecute this case.”

In accepting Sanderson’s plea, Fulton said that “life without parole is a sentence I can live with.”

Shatierra’s uncle, Marc Hinson, said he could not.

“I have not made peace with it,” Hinson said outside the courtroom. “I can no longer get that guy the death sentence. I want to know why the state hired someone who prevented that from happening.”

The state’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Leah Bush, said the Tidewater office was aware of Zientek’s history when he joined the staff in July 2008 for a year long fellowship.

Zientek had alcohol and drug abuse problems, Bush said, but he had been sober for years. He submitted to and passed random screens for drugs and alcohol, she said. He was always supervised by another doctor because of his fellowship status.

Doctors in the office discussed whether Zientek’s history would cause problems on the witness stand, she said, but because of his unrestricted medical license, his clean recent history and his stellar work record, it did not appear to pose an insurmountable hurdle.

If prosecutors didn’t try to present him as an expert witness, she said, “how would they know?”

Zientek, who now works for the state medical examiner’s office in Alaska, said he did not believe his convictions were relevant to his work on autopsies. Other prosecutors told him his past would not pose a problem for his testimony, he said. He had just completed his fellowship in forensic pathology, he said, and had not yet testified in any cases.

Commonwealth’s Attorney’s spokeswoman Amanda Howie said prosecutors understood the family’s frustration.

“While we had sought the death penalty in this case, several factors – of which Dr. Zientek is a significant one – resulted in the guilty plea,” Howie said in an e-mailed statement.

Defense lawyer B. Thomas Reed, who was not involved in Sanderson’s case but has defended several clients against capital murder charges, said Zientek’s history may have compromised his testimony but not trashed it.

Still, Reed said, capital murder trials require so much time and money to prosecute that “it’s an enormous amount of effort to put into a case that has a question mark.”

Zientek completed his fellowship with the Tidewater medical examiner’s office in June. His medical license in Alaska is probationary because of his convictions, and he must abide by conditions such as attending therapy and substance abuse meetings. Bush said he left the Tidewater office on good terms.

Howie said her office would review other cases in which Zientek conducted examinations as they come to light.

In court, Hinson testified that he had been like a father to the girl he called Shay since the day she was born. They shopped together, he said. When she was 5, he taught her sign language that she still remembered at 12.

“I always considered myself her guardian,” Hinson said.

Evans displayed a series of pictures of Shatierra: with her cousins at Christmas, on her grandmother’s lap at a Fourth of July picnic, mugging for the camera in front of the apartment on Pleasant Avenue. Teachers wrote letters about Shatierra’s quiet nature, but also her diligence, politeness and the hard work she gave to her classes.

In the week after Shay’s death, Hinson said, he collected the contributions to the makeshift memorial that grew in front of her apartment. Those items remain at his house, minus 17 teddy bears – each month since her death, he has taken a stuffed animal to Shatierra’s grave.

“You go ahead and enjoy your life in prison,” Hinson said, looking at Sanderson. “Hell will wait for you to arrive and begin to serve your true punishment.”

Sanderson spoke briefly, reading from a paper he unfolded.

“I want to say how sorry I am for what I did to Shay,” he said. “I’m sorry for the pain and grief and betrayal to her family. I accept full responsibility for what I did. I hope one day her family will forgive me for what I have done.”

Categories
Archive 2010 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Waterside Garage Shooter Acquitted of Murder Charge

By Michelle Washington
The Virginian-Pilot
© January 23, 2010

NORFOLK

A jury found the man accused of murder in a March shooting at the Waterside parking garage guilty of unlawful wounding Friday, and sentenced him to serve 90 days in jail and pay a $2,500 fine.

Reginald Royals Jr., 25, was acquitted of all other charges, including the second-degree murder charge in the death of Juan Carlos Ovalle, 26.

Ovalle died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Ovalle’s friend, Marcus McGee, was shot five times. It was for that shooting that Royals was convicted.

The sentence means that Royals, in custody since the shooting, was released Friday night, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“All I want to say is, God is good,” said Royals’ mother, Jacquelyn Royals, after hearing the sentence.

The verdict and sentence concluded an emotional three-day trial during which dozens of friends and family members for both sides crowded the courtroom.

Prosecutor Megan Zwisohn told jurors from the beginning that the case was not about good versus evil.

Both Royals and Ovalle were hard-working men who had never been in trouble. Both had legally purchased handguns for which they had concealed-weapons permits.

Both men had their guns in the parking garage at Waterside. Their cars bumped as bar patrons left the area around closing time March 22.

The incident escalated to a fistfight.

Royals testified Thursday that he had not been the aggressor in the confrontation and that Ovalle had brandished his gun.

Royals said Ovalle and McGee attacked him and that he only pulled his own gun because he believed Ovalle reached for his.

During his sentencing hearing, Royals thanked jurors for listening to him.

“You had my life in your hands,” Royals said. “I never imagined in my whole life that anything like this would happen. I would never wish this on anyone. I wish things could have turned out totally different.”

McGee testified that he had lost his job and his apartment in the months following the shooting, because he was mentally unable to work. All five bullets remain in his body.

Many in Ovalle’s family cried after the verdict acquitting Royals of murder.

Outside the courtroom, his sister-in-law, Karen Ovalle, said the family would not stay for the sentencing.

“We can’t keep our composure in court,” Karen Ovalle said. She stood with her husband, Juan Carlos’ brother, Manuel.

“We’re going to be crying,” said Juan Carlos Ovalle’s sister, Belkis Ovalle. “We can’t believe that it’s happening.”

Royals’ friends and family held hands as they awaited the verdict. There were gasps and tears when it was announced. Royals’ mother hugged his lawyer, Jeffrey Swartz.

Swartz gathered Royals’ clothes to take to his mother. Royals would return to the jail to complete the paperwork that would set him free.

“Although there’s relief, there’s no joy here,” Swartz said. “Reggie’s family understands that a man is dead and another shot. Reggie will have to live with the decision he was forced to make in the blink of an eye.”

Categories
Archive 2007 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Drunken Driving Fatalities Up In Virginia

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

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 .

The resort city’s DUI statistics don’t reflect the work of the Virginia Beach Police Department, which Goodove described as a model for the nation when it comes to impaired driving enforcement.

Virginia Beach police make about 10 percent of all DUI arrests in the state , said Sen. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who used to work for the department.

In 2005 and 2006 , the department, which has two units dedicated to DUI enforcement, averaged about 2,000 arrests , spokesman Adam Bernstein said.

“The Virginia Beach Police Department does a great job of enforcement, but they can’t be everywhere,” Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant said.

He estimated that for every driver who is arrested on charges of driving under the influence, another 25 to 35 are on the street driving drunk.

McDonnell said he doesn’t believe that the state’s recent uptick in the percentage of fatalities statewide will become a long-term trend.

Over the past five years, the number of injuries related to people driving under the influence has decreased, he said.

Stolle, who notified next-of-kin about DUI-related deaths when he worked for the Virginia Beach Police Department’s fatality team, said it’s too soon to tell whether the numbers in South Hampton Roads reflect the impact of the new legislation.

“I would hope what you’re seeing is the beginning of a downward trend,” he said.

Jen McCaffery, (757) 446-2627,

jen.mccaffery@pilotonline.com

Memo:
lives lost in 2006

Copyright (c) 2007 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 17792698

Categories
Archive 2006 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in fatal crash

Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)

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 he had come from the HOV ramp.

The ramp was 200 yards away from the wreck, which happened near Newtown Road. Witnesses and State Police said the gates were down.

Batliner did not present evidence of Williams’ blood-alcohol concentration.

But Michael Goodove, an attorney representing Wilson’s family, said it was more than twice the legal limit considered evidence of intoxication.

Wilson was an only child, and the father of a 5-year-old boy, Goodove said.

nReach Michelle Washington at (757) 446-2287 or michelle. washington@pilotonline.com.

Memo:
next

Shane Williams faces a maximum of 20 years in the traffic death of Anthony Dominic Wilson. Williams’ sentencing is scheduled for January. He remains free on bond until then.

Copyright (c) 2006 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 13616275

Categories
Archive 2006 STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Charge withdrawn in homeless man’s death

THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT VIRGINIA BEACH — Prosecutors on Tuesday withdrew a murder charge against a Norfolk man who was accused of shooting a homeless man at the Oceanfront last year.

Lamar A. Sinclair, 22, of the 900 block of Lexington St. in Norfolk, had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ronald Wood Jr., 34.

Wood was shot May 26 near the intersection of Baltic Avenue and 24½ Street, police said.

Prosecutors did not explain either in court or after the hearing why they decided to withdraw the charge.
They said they could refile the charge against Sinclair sometime in the future.
He is expected to be released from jail this afternoon.
Another man also was charged in Wood’s murder.
Derrick D. Harrison of the 5200 block of Novella St. in Norfolk is scheduled to stand trial starting March 28.