Issue 6 . April - June 2019 . Q3
CVLAP-Elder attorneys (Erika Damstetter, Kristina Martin, Laura Kubit, Alison Hirschel and Dave Ballard) at the May 2019 Annual Michigan Poverty Law Program's Joint Taskforce Meeting at Higgins Lake.
Not seeing your picture in the newsletter? We would love to see more of you!  Please take a moment at hearings, trainings, outreach events or just in your office to snap a photo to share. Email pics to Emily Miller ( or Kathleen Allen ( 
Administrative Updates
The Michigan Supreme Court has announced the adoption of "extensive amendments to the rules of civil discovery."  Revisions are aimed at insuring that the scope of discovery be "proportional to the needs of the case, adopt initial disclosure requirements, and clarify issues concerning electronically stored information." The changes take effect on January 1, 2020 and can be found HERE.  The State Bar is developing educational tools and webinars to prepare practitioners for the upcoming changes.
The Supreme Court adopted MCR 3.224, which sets out the rules for FOC ADR processes, including mediation, joint meetings and "facilitative and information-gathering conference (FIG)," which may be known to some of you as conciliation or early intervention.  The rule is effective January 1, 2020 and can be found HERE.  The rule, in part, provides that parties subject to a PPO may not be referred to FOC ADR without a hearing and DV screening.  It also permits a recommended order from a FIG conference to be entered immediately by the Court subject to timely objections.
Staff Updates
New Staff
Kathleen Allen, CVLAP-DV & Elder
We are happy to have Kathleen join the CVLAP team as Supervising Attorney.  She will be working out of the Michigan Advocacy Program's Ypsilanti office and comes to us after practicing as a legal aid attorney with both Legal Aid of Western Michigan and, most recently, Lakeshore Legal Aid where she did family, housing, tax, consumer and public benefits work.
New Staff
Jessica Topor, CVLAP-DV
We are delighted to have Jessica join the CVLAP-DV grant.  She will be working out of Legal Services of South Central Michigan's Monroe office and comes to us after working from Law Clerk to Supervising Attorney at Center for Victim and Human Rights in Indianapolis where she did family law, civil protective orders and immigration law.
Transitioning Staff
Amanda Eicher, CVLAP-Elder
We are excited to have Amanda move from the CVLAP-DV grant to CVLAP-Elder.  Amanda will continue working out of Legal Services of South Central Michigan's Monroe office.  She has extensive litigation experience, particularly in family law, and will be a great addition to our elder team. 
Job Postings
CVLAP currently has open staff positions in the following offices Battle Creek (Elder), Jackson (DV), Ypsilanti (Elder + DV), Grand Rapids (MIRC), Kalamazoo (DV), Saginaw (DV), Upper Peninsula (DV + Elder), Gaylord (DV).  For more info see MAP's application here
Quarter In Review 
In the 3rd quarter of 2019 (April - June) CVLAP attorneys assisted 859 individuals who were victims of domestic violence and/or elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.  During this quarter we closed a total of 287 cases.  Of the closed cases, we provided extended services to 134 clients.  We are incredibly proud of our amazing staff attorneys across the state and want to share some of the good stories (see below) that exemplify the amazing and much needed advocacy that makes this project so vital.
Dave Ballard, our CVLAP-Elder attorney at Legal Aid of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids, assisted an elderly whose daughter had been murdered by her spouse (who then took his own life).  In the aftermath of these tragedies, client discovered that her deceased daughter had used her name and social security number to open three credit cards in her name and fraudulently use her existing credit accounts resulting in over $30,000 in charges. Dave undertook representation and began to contact banks to initiate or re-open fraud investigations.  Initially $20,000 of the debt was discharged but, after much persistence, Bank of America finally agreed to re-open their fraud investigation on the remaining debt, which was ultimately forgiven.
Cat Villanueva, our CVLAP-DV attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center in Grand Rapids, assisted client who had been brought to the United States on a fiancé visa and then married a man who isolated her, subjected her to extreme sexual abuse and cut her off from any source of income.  Client was finally able to escape from her home with just a few clothes and her cell phone.  Client’s husband filed for a divorce and withdrew his immigration petition, which prevented Client from accessing resources and prevented her from working.  Cat undertook representation of Client and assisted with a VAWA Self-Petition.  Client’s petition was granted enabling her to obtain a green card and in three years she can apply for citizenship.  This enabled to her move, to work, to gain access to resources (including therapy) and focus on healing and rebuilding her life.
Training Updates
CORT Trainings
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana
The remaining CORT trainings for 2019 include: TAST on August 5th (OH), Health and Public Benefits on August 15th (IN) and Discovery on Oct 1st (MI). To register please go to CORT's website here and email Emily or Kathleen to request approval of any trainings you want to attend.
MPLP Task Force Meetings
The MPLP Task Force meeting schedule for housing, consumer, elder, family and public benefits is here.  The remaining in-person meetings include: Housing & Consumer on August 1st (Lansing), Family on August 20th (Lansing) and the Roadshow from Oct 21 - 25th (Okemos).
Elder Law & Disability Rights
October 2 - 4, 2019
Crystal Mountain Resort
For elder law practitioners, the registration information for the ELDRS Annual Conference is here.  The agenda is packed with great topics, including: working with clients who have dementia, resolving nursing home issues, administrative hearing guidance, guardian/conservatorship tips and an update on the AG Task Force.
ICLE 18th Family Law Institute
November 14 - 15, 2019
Novi, MI
For family law practitioners, the registration information for this years Family Law Institute is here.  The line up includes sessions on the new discovery rules, parenting line and addiction, the intersection of legalized marijuana and custody, child support deviations and PPOs.  Please remember to request approval if you want to attend!
Elder Justice Updates
On March 25, 2019 Michigan's AG's Office and Supreme Court announced the formation of an Elder Abuse Task Force aimed at accomplishing a range of issues related to the exploitation, abuse and neglect of older adults.  Please keep an eye out for the Listening Tour as it makes its way across the state.
On May 18, 2019 NBC THINK ran a phenomenal piece by Alison Hirchel (MEJI, CVLAP & MLTCO) entitled "Brittany Spears Conservatorship Conspiracy: Theories Shine a Light on Complicated System."  It was a wonderful (and creative) way to raise awareness about a legal issue that affects so many of our clients daily lives.
Domestic Violence Update
The July 2019 issue of the Michigan Bar Journal is dedicated to domestic violence awareness.  It contains a multitude of excellent articles including one by our Consulting Attorney, Rebecca Shiemke.  
Domestic Violence Initiative
Rebecca Shiemke - Consulting Attorney
Emily Miller - Managing Attorney
Kathleen Allen - Supervising Attorney
Stephanie Saad - Staff Attorney
Brooke Wilsner - Staff Attorney
Amanda Eicher - Staff Attorney
Nickie Perera - Staff Attorney
Brittany Tucker - Staff Attorney
Linda Kellum - Staff Attorney
Cat Villanueva - Staff Attorney
Sharron Sanders - Staff Attorney
Marla LaMae - Staff Attorney
Jessica Topor - Staff Attorney
Elder Justice Initiative
Alison  Hirschel - Consulting Attorney
Emily Miller - Managing Attorney
Kathleen Allen - Supervising Attorney
Nicole Shannon - Systemic Advocacy
Erika Damstetter - Staff Attorney
Roger West - Staff Attorney
David Ballard - Staff Attorney
Mireille Phillips - Staff Attorney
Natalie Cherry - Staff Attorney
Brittany  Paulk - Staff Attorney
Laura Kubit - Staff Attorney
Kristina Martin - Staff Attorney
Amanda Eicher - Staff Attorney
The Crime Victims Legal Assistance Project is funded by a Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (“VOCA”) grant from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to the Michigan Advocacy Program.
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Michigan Advocacy Program / CVLAP Elder + DV · P.O. Box 8294 · Ann Arbor, MI 48107 · USA

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