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Civil Rights

Judge and 2 Court-Appointed Lawyers Sued Over Alleged Conspiracy to Loot Rosa Parks Estate

Posted May 17, 2012 11:06 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In the latest salvo in an onoing dispute over the estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, an attorney for a foundation that was to benefit from her will has sued a Michigan probate judge and two court-appointed attorneys, contending that they conspired to loot her estate.

The unusual filing alleges that Judge Freddie Burton Jr. and attorneys John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr. racked up over $500,000 in largely unnecessary legal fees in the Wayne County case, leaving Parks' estate in debt $88,000, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Attorney Stephen G. Cohen, who represents the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute, is seeking the judge's recusal from the case and restitution. The state supreme court earlier ordered him to replace the two defendant lawyers with two attorneys named in Parks' estate plan, which has occurred. In the meantime, however, Cohen's filing contends, another $120,000 in fees was legal racked up and he says the judge still hasn't give the replacement attorneys full control.

Burton declined to comment; Chase and Jefferson say they did nothing wrong.

The Associated Press also has a story.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Institute Claims Rosa Parks’ Estate Drained by Fees for Lawyers Who Also Got Licensing Rights"

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