Author Archives: Ronnie Richter

Once high-profile Mexican restaurateur to plead not guilty in Valentine’s Day killing

The State 

July 17, 2107 

By: John Monk

Until several years ago, Greg Leon was known for running a chain of seven Mexican restaurants in Richland, Newberry, Lexington and Orangeburg counties. He was an avid University of South Carolina sports fan. Born in Mexico, he had become a naturalized citizen. But in 2016, he admitted to the Valentine’s Day slaying of his wife’s lover while the pair was embracing in the back seat of a Toyota Tundra pickup in a deserted Lexington County parking lot.Leon turned himself in to authorities after calling 911 and telling the operator, “I shot my wife’s lover.” Now, however, he is asking for a jury trial and plans to plead not guilty to the murder charge, according to his lawyers.

Attorney Eric Bland, who with attorney Dick Harpootlian is representing Leon, said Leon is working and obeying the court’s rules.

Read the entire article from The State here

Suit: Doctor’s flawed report of child abuse shattered family

South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

July 5, 2106

By: Phillip Bantz 

X-rays revealing fractured bones in 5-week-old twins spurred a hospital pediatrician to report the babies’ parents to the South Carolina Department of Social Services and Richland County Sheriff’s Department for suspected child abuse.

The doctor’s report set in motion a bureaucratic thresher that ripped apart Michael and Heather Livingston’s family: The couple’s twins and 9-year-old daughter were placed in foster care after Michael Livingston, a military veteran and medical worker, was coerced into confessing to child abuse and barred from seeing his family for nearly three years, during which time he slept on a friend’s couch.

But if Dr. Susan Luberoff, who evaluated the twins at the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia in 2013, had investigated further, rather than relying solely on the X-ray images, she could have discovered that the twins and Heather Livingston had a congenital form of brittle bone syndrome known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, according to an attorney for the Livingston’s, Eric Bland of Bland Richter in Columbia.

Both twins had fractured ribs and one had a skull fracture — injuries that Bland argues occurred during birth. He said the boys had no bruising or other external evidence of trauma, and their sister, who was not diagnosed with EDS, also showed no signs of abuse.

Read the entire article from South Carolina Lawyers Weekly here.

Army officer gave a false confession to protect his family

Michael and Heather Livingston are the parents of three beautiful children; a daughter, Hannah, and two twin boys, Jacson and Joseph. This family of five had their world turned upside down when their son, Jacson, and later their son Joseph, were wrongfully assumed to be suffering from child abuse. It all started when concerned mother, Heather, took the then 5-week old Jacson to the Doctor after noticing a bump on the back of his head.  A CT scan result showed the infant had a mild scull fracture. How did this lead to discovering fractures on his brother Joseph’s ribs, Social Services taking all three of the children away from their parents, and Michael Livingston giving a false confession in hopes of keeping his family together?

Read the full story here to learn how our team at Bland Richter is helping the Livingston’s put this terribly misconstrued past behind them as they try and move forward with their lives as a happy, healthy family unit.

Bland Richter releases statement on anniversary of Zach Hammond’s death

Almost one year ago today, without sufficient probable cause Zachary Hammond was gunned down in a Hardee’s parking lot by Officer Mark Tiller of the Seneca, South Carolina Police Department.  He was an unarmed 19 year old in the company of a young lady who was suspected of carrying $60.00 of marijuana. As one would suspect, the last year has been difficult for the Hammond Family. Many questions remain unanswered by Chief Covington and the Seneca City Council that should have been answered long ago. Since Zachary’s death, our Country has seen a series of senseless officer-related shootings. The Hammonds had hoped that Zachary’s death would be a teachable moment for citizens and law enforcement officers alike. Unprovoked police to unarmed citizen shootings must stop.  The tension between citizens and police has escalated to the point where many have chosen private justice through the assasination of the very men and women who are charged to protect our families and communities.  While the Hammond family knows full well the pain and anguish of losing a child at the hands of a rogue police officer, they are also appreciative of the thankless and difficult job that our men and women in blue perform each and every day.  The Hammonds placed their trust in the legal system in seeking justice for Zachary.  Although no sum of money can ever heal the loss of a child, and although the doors of justice do not always swing open as effortlessly as one may wish, through the system, the Hammonds ultimately received some sense of justice and there has been some closure for the enormous pain they suffered and will continue to suffer.  All lives matter and it is an injustice to each and every American when an officer-related shooting is not handled with sensitivity and absolute transparency.  Anarchy is not the answer.  We must resolve as a community that these matters will be handled swiftly and openly and that the police will be policed. Body and Dash cameras are a must for every police officer in every community.  

In the next legislative session, the Hammonds look forward to the reintroduction of the bill and passage of Zach’s Law which will require the immediate release of dash cam videos to the families of those whose loved ones are killed by the police. The Hammonds also wholeheartedly support South Carolina State Representative Todd Rutherford’s new bill that would prohibit officer’s from being able to discharge their weapons into a moving vehicle. The Hammonds remain hopeful that the ongoing Federal Civil Rights investigation and impaneled grand jury into Zachary’s senseless death will result in appropriate criminal charges being brought against Lt. Tiller, Chief Covington and others. Right now as has been the case for the last year, the taxpayers of Seneca have paid and continue to pay Lt. Tiller’s salary while he is on administrative leave. This defies logic. The citizens of Seneca and the Hammonds deserve answers to the many questions that persist from the shooting and why Lt. Tiller continues to draw his salary. Why are tax dollars continued to be wasted on supporting an officer that, whether guilty or not of a state or federal crime involving Zachary’s death, most certainly is not the type of police officer who should be retained based upon his past history of treating city property with such irresponsibility (cars, guns, police dogs, etc.)? One  would think based upon these past acts alone which were revealed during the investigation into Zachary’s death and the ensuing civil lawsuit, the city would have reason to terminate his employment and done so long before today.

The Hammonds dream of the Zachary they would like to have known today – the Zachary who had grown and matured as a young man – the Zachary who would be planning a life and a family of his own. He was denied that chance.  Finally, the Hammond family prays for our great Country today and that we may find the strength, patience and compassion to heal ourselves.  We wish our heartfelt prayers to the Hammonds and to all others who have lost a family member at the hands of those who serve and protect.  We also offer our thanks and prayers to the brave men and women in blue. The Hammonds are grateful for the enormous support of many South Carolinians and those throughout the United States who have sent meaningful letters and postings on the internet to them over the last year. Many of these people have tried to open up some closed minds on this very important subject.  God Bless. 

 – Eric Bland / Ronnie Richter, attorneys for Zachary Hammond, deceased and his parents Angie and Paul Hammond 

Read more:

WSPA

Greenville News 

SC lawyer, NC doctor collide on ski slope | South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

Robert Ransom is a Columbia personal injury lawyer. Paul Jaszewski is a Charlotte anesthesiologist. The two were strangers until they collided on a ski slope in Vail and became entangled in a federal lawsuit that involved footage from a GoPro camera and the opinion of a biomechanics expert.

The suit hinged on a single question: Did Jaszewski crash into the back of Ransom during the 2014 encounter? Both sides will always disagree on the answer, but Ransom agreed to settle the dispute in February when he accepted an offer of judgment from Jaszewski for $250,000.

SETTLEMENT REPORT

PERSONAL INJURY – SKI ACCIDENT

Amount: $250,000

Case name: Robert Ransom v. Paul Jaszewski

Court: U.S. District Court, Charlotte

Case No. 3:14-cv-00662-GCM

Judge: Senior Judge Graham Mullen

Date of judgment: Feb. 19

Attorneys for plaintiff: Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter of Bland Richter in Columbia and Charles Rabon of Charlotte

Attorney for defendant: James McAlister of McAngus, Goudelock & Courie in Charlotte

Read more: http://sclawyersweekly.com/news/2016/03/08/sc-lawyer-nc-doctor-collide-on-ski-slope/#ixzz42ydkCjG6

Confidentiality of PR Firm documents in Zachary Hammond case questioned

Eric Bland, an attorney for the family of Zachary Hammond who was shot by police in Seneca, attends a hearing at the federal courthouse in Greenville on Wednesday. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered attorneys for the city of Seneca to provide more details as to why they believe certain emails between the city’s attorney and a public relations firm the city hired to handle the Zachary Hammond police shooting case should be kept confidential as attorney-client communications.  To read more about this topic see below.

Greenville Online

Anderson Independent Mail

The State

Live 5 News