News and Views

Blank Rome Provides Pro Bono Counsel to World War II Veteran

Media Coverage

Blank Rome Partner Daniel Rhynhart and Associate Rosemary McKenna are noted for their pro bono counsel in the December 15, 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer article, “Medical emergency lands defendant in jail.”

Mr. Rhynhart and Ms. McKenna are representing the plaintiff, Ray White, an 89-year-old World War II veteran, with regards to the alleged fraud dealing with the sale of two of Mr. White’s cars, personal property, and his South Philadelphia home by Melvin McIlwaine, a man who Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cooper Nixon called "a veteran con man." Following the fraud, Mr. White was "left with nothing, not even his clothing." Homeless and distraught, Mr. White committed himself to the VA Medical Center in West Philadelphia after a "nervous breakdown." Upon his release from the hospital, Mr. White went to the police, resolving to overcome the shame and fear commonly held among victims and to encourage other victims to do the same.

Veterans groups came to Mr. White's aid, as well as the Senior Law Center in Philadelphia, who took up his cause as an example of the vulnerability of the aged to fraud. Working as pro bono counsel, Ms. McKenna and Mr. Rhynhart sued Mr. McIlwaine and others in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

To date, Mr. White's cars have been recovered and are now in a police impound lot pending completion of the trial. His house is still the subject of litigation with the real estate investment company that bought it from Mr. McIlwaine.

To read the full Philadelphia Inquirer article, please click here.