Posts Tagged ‘casey anthony civil suit update’

A bankruptcy judge has ruled that Casey Anthony won’t have to pay most of her debts.  It is not clear exactly how much of the debt has been wiped clean, but Chuck Kilcoyne, a representative of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida, told HLN that the only debt not discharged includes the pending defamation proceedings.  Bankruptcy Judge May signed the order Tuesday.  Anthony’s bankruptcy has taken almost double the length of a normal bankruptcy case.

A date has not been set for the two defamation lawsuits, but the federal judge could hear them early next year.

In recent years bankruptcies have skyrocketed due to economic downturns.  Currently, the bankruptcy filings in the U.S. are more than double that of those in the Great Depression.  An average person carries about $59,000 in debt.  Most bankruptcy filers have recently suffered catastrophic financial issues.  19% of Americans between the ages of 18-24 declared bankruptcy in 2001, according to USA Today.  The fastest growing group of bankruptcy filers are those people who are 25 years of age or younger, according to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  Bankruptcies are often difficult despite their intended purpose of giving a “fresh start”, three-quarters of filers experience depression.

Casey Anthony owed nearly $800,000 in debts mostly as the result of her acquittal of capital charges in 2011.  Jose Baez, her lead defense attorney, was the largest creditor in the case with more than 60% of her debt.  According to a court document signed by May, the discharge does not dismiss the case yet.

“It does not determine how much money, if any, the trustee will pay to creditors,” the order said, “Most, but not all, types of debts are discharged if the debt existed on the date the bankruptcy case was filed.”

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The federal bankruptcy judge ruled today that both Zenaida Gonzalez’s and Roy Kronk’s lawsuits can move forward in federal court.  Casey Anthony most likely now faces a deposition in the Gonzalez case.  Both sides agree that the deposition will not be published and the time and location will not be revealed.  U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May declined to dismiss the two lawsuits though he ordered Kronk to amend his complaint before it moves forward.

Anthony’s lawyers argued that Gonzalez’s claim is based upon one out-of-context remark Anthony made to her mother.  May ruled there was “disputed issues of fact” sufficient for further proceedings.  In the Kronk complaint, Anthony’s lawyers argued that Anthony cannot be held liable for what her attorneys say.  Kronk’s lawyer, Howard Marks, countered saying attorneys act upon their client’s behalf and consent.

Marks said, “The fact that Ms. Anthony didn’t state it doesn’t get her anywhere.”

May ordered Anthony’s lawyers, David Schrader and Debra Ferwerda to pay Gonzalez’s lawyer Scott Shuker $500 for not consulting him on the motion to block the deposition.  Shuker claimed the motion was a waste of time because he would have willingly met with Anthony’s attorneys about security issues.

“…I’m not interested in publicity,” Shuker said.  Following the last hearing, Shuker became irate after the judge adjourned the hearing.  He used expletive language and personal insults to express thoughts about opposing counsel.  Shuker was asked to leave the courtroom following his outburst.  After getting outside, he told reporters, “You were there” when asked why he was so upset.  Ferwerda and Schrader shrugged off the encounter saying, “it was the heat of the moment”, but admitted it was “startling” because there had never been problems before.

Schrader countered Shuker’s publicity argument pointing out that they “learned about the deposition in the newspaper,” after Matt Morgan, another Gonzalez lawyer, talked with the media about it instead of talking with them about concerns and logistics.  It is unclear if Casey Anthony will assert her Fifth Amendment rights during the deposition.  The decisions on whether the cases meet the “willful and malicious” defamation legal requirement will come sometime next year.

Zenaida Gonzalez’s attorneys planned to depose Casey Anthony on Wednesday, but her attorneys have asked the federal judge in the bankruptcy case to prevent her from having to answer questions until at least after he rules on pending dismissal motions in November.

Referring to Gonzalez as a “principal orchestrator of the media circus,” her lawyers write that Gonzalez’s claim lacks merit, and the deposition was scheduled inappropriately without their consultation or notice.

“Gonzalez has used a lawsuit…as a platform for publicity and other purposes ulterior to and detrimental to the judicial process,” the motion states, she is on a “quest for publicity”.

The motion goes on to say that, if the deposition is allowed to proceed, Anthony will decline to answer questions and plead the Fifth Amendment.  Also in the motion, Anthony’s lawyers ask if Judge May is going to allow the deposition to move forward if Casey Anthony can appear via video instead of in person.  They have also asked that the deposition be sealed from the public and the media, and that Anthony shouldn’t have to disclose certain personal information, such as where she is living.

Gonzalez’s attorney, Matt Morgan, claimed when he scheduled the deposition that Casey Anthony couldn’t plead the Fifth Amendment because her criminal appeals were resolved.

David Schrader, Anthony’s attorney, also stated that she was already deposed in the state court,

“Although Gonzalez’ counsel has repeatedly told the press and others that his goal in this case is to ‘break Ms. Anthony’s story,’ he will not do so and should not be allowed to put Ms. Anthony through another argumentative and abusive proceeding…” Schrader said.

Casey Anthony told detectives in 2008 that she had a babysitter for 2 years named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez and she kidnapped her missing daughter.  Gonzalez claims that those statements defamed her and that she should be considered a creditor in the bankruptcy.

In an email to the media, Morgan stated, “We know she doesn’t want to answer, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have to.”

RELATED:  Casey Anthony’s Lawyers Ask Judge to Dismiss Claims Against Her