I can’t recall if I mentioned this story at the time or not, but it’s a good cautionary tale about taking extreme measures in the name of justice. From the February 17, 2011, Ventura County Star:
Ventura County Superior Court Judge Barbara Lane has found
controversial lawyer Michael T. Pines in contempt of court
for advising clients Jim and Danielle Earl to reclaim their foreclosed
home in Simi Valley.
His sentence is to pay $2,000 in fines and more than $34,000 in
legal fees and costs incurred by Thousand Oaks-based Conejo
Capital Partners, investors who purchased the home after Earls
lost it at auction.
The Earls lost legal title to their former residence in the 5800
block of Mustang Drive after they stopped paying their mortgage
because of financial problems. It was sold in January 2010 to
Conejo Capital Partners, but the Earls remained in the property,
delaying an eviction by filing for bankruptcy and taking advantage
of the bankruptcy code’s automatic stay provisions.
In June, Conejo Capital Partners won the right to possession at an
unlawful detainer trial in Ventura County and the Earls were
evicted in July. The investment group spent thousands of dollars
renovating the home and were in the process of selling it when the
Earls broke into the home in October. The Earls were again evicted
but continued interfering with Conejo Capital Partners by threatening
to break back in.
[Judge Lane] also itemized the unprofessional manner in which
Pines has conducted himself on behalf of the Earls: failing to pay
fees to properly appeal their unlawful detainer judgment;
misapplying the law; and filing numerous state and federal
lawsuits over the Earls’ property and then abandoning them
at an early stage.
In addition to the state lawsuits, Lane counted six federal
suits that have been filed since the late fall of 2009. His “modus
operandi” is to file a new lawsuit in a different court every time
his legal arguments are rejected by a court, the judge wrote.
This story has more than a few good examples of “don’ts” in it:
♦ Don’t break into a house you used to own after someone else has purchased it at a foreclosure sale;
♦ Don’t believe your lawyer when he advises you that you should break into a house you no longerown;
♦ If you are the lawyer, don’t file six lawsuits in federal court after the lawsuits you filed in state court have been unsuccessful.After the first two or three, the judge is likely to conclude that you’re just playing for time.
What should you do if you get behind on mortgage payments?
♦ Communicate with the lender.are generally going to be more willing to work with you if you communicate with them;
♦ Save all communications you receive from the lender;
♦ If you receive a notice of trustee sale (that’s what the document that usually starts a foreclosure in Arizona is called), or any other legal notices, contact an attorney who knows how the process works immediately.
DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy
to Receive Outstanding Firm Award
from Volunteer Lawyers Program
The law firm of DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy is pleased and honored to announce that it has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Firm of the Year Award by Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP). The award will be presented to the firm at the VLP’s Annual Awards Celebration scheduled for November 8, 2012. This will be the 15th time the firm has been selected to receive the Outstanding Firm award.
The Volunteer Lawyers Program was established by Southern Arizona Legal Aid in 1981 to provide low-income Arizonans access to the justice system by matching them with volunteer lawyers who provide legal services on their behalf. Based in Tucson, it serves clients in Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties. Funding for the program is provided by various sources, including the Pima County Bar Association, Pima County Superior Court and the Pima Council on Aging, among others.
DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C., founded in 1968 and one of southern Arizona’s largest law firms with offices in Tucson, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Flagstaff, conducts a full service, multidisciplinary practice. Our members possess the knowledge and experience to solve a wide spectrum of complex legal issues for our individual, business and governmental clients. Additional information about the firm may be found at www.dmyl.com.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice.
~ Magna Carta, 1215