Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

Can’t Recall One Like This Before? Honestly, I Just Don’t Remember? Or Have Any Idea . . .

I got a nice win this week I really wasn’t expecting. I always try to keep my client’s expectations low, realistic, but low. I find I 20140607-032051-12051938.jpgcan meet or exceed their expectations that way and keep them happier.  In this business, you cannot over-promise just to get a case signed up and then never deliver what you promised. Well, I can’t. And this was a case that real low expectations were justified.

The Defendant and his construction company had previously been charged with very serious fraud in a licensing context and apparently agreed to a fine and forfeiture of a business license (I think maybe all business licenses for a real long time, like, forever). As usual, no one knew about this before doing business with him. Although it is public knowledge, it is not as if he has to wear a scarlet letter on his forehead. Now that I said that, I’m thinking maybe . . . naw, never never mind.

The guy was a classical narcissistic conman. Not the kind of conman that will build up your trust and confidence and then disappear with your life savings. The life savings you handed him yourself, voluntarily, a few minutes earlier believing he’d be right back with . . .whatever it was it sounded good at the time. Not the kind who can disorient you with charm and charisma and the next thing you know he borrowed your new car . . . a little while ago. Well, a while ago and is coming right back . . .of course he’s coming back .  . How long ago? Three weeks? Maybe founo conr or so . . .. damn it!

Those conmen I always have a touch of respect for as professionals. They are good at what they do. Some are so good they have it down to an art. But no. This guy we dealt with this week, he was the idiot kind of conman. Actually,calling him a “con man” is an insult to conmen everywhere.

The guy I’m talking about is the kind of conman that only fools himself forever. He believes his own BS. He cons some of the people for some of the time. But is caught and found out in the end. Nobody really believes him for very long because his greedy, true self shines through.

He can’t keep it hidden for long–the greed is too strong and stupid.  The greed-need won’t be ignored. Or avoided; or suppressed. For awhile. Never too long. The greedy-needy monster comes out and takes over and it is: All for me none for you. At any cost and without much subterfuge. No creative tricks, no sleight-of-hand or unbelievable story that just might be true because it is just too much to myiodABriEake up.

If a cat-burglar is akin to the professional conman above, then this guy is akin to the smash abroken-glass-1006530-snd grab burglar with an old truck he rams store windows with so he can grab a couple twelve packs while being recorded by surveillance video. The problem is he always rips a few people off before he is figured out. He always gets to drinks five or six beers before the cops show up after seeing his license plate on the surveillance video.

Back to reality, my client sued him for unpaid wages and for a promise he made to split the profits from a commercial construction project with him.The wages were a no brainer and after enough time and relentless accusations–he gave up. He stopped lying. He told the truth and admitted it. But he didn’t stop lying for long. He had a plan. He’ll through another lie that’s kinda true on top of it.  I’m sure he thought that would fool the lawyers and the Court. It didn’t.

At his deposition, it all came back. The game. The con. the lies. But he was stuck. He had already told the truth. The gawd awful truth. So what can he say now?Richard_Nixon_1969_inauguration

I don’t know. I have no idea. I really don’t know. I can’t recall. I don’t remember that.

In a deposition just over two hours long, he said a variation of no recollection a world-record worthy amount of times: Idea= 25 (as in “I have no”); know=73 (as in “I don’t); recall=54 (ditto); remember=23 (thought that would be more).

Anyway, I think the Judge read the deposition transcript or at least the court’s clerk did because what follows is the Order I got. It was a painful depo to conduct. It must have been worse to read how much this guy didn’t know. At one point he claimed he was broke and minutes later claimed he could not remember why or what he did with a withdrawal out of the company bank account in the tens of thousands of dollars–that was only about a year earlier!

More to come on the memorandum supporting the Order . . . I’ll explain paragraph two next time. I am not sure I have ever gotten more than I asked a Court for before? At least in a favorable way. . .

Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment

1. Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to his employment claim is GRANTED. Defendants are liable, jointly and severally, for Plaintiff’s unpaid wages in the amount of $12,950.00 plus a penalty of $5,250.00 under Minnesota Statute § 181.13.

2.Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to his contract claim for half of the profits is GRANTED in part. Only Defendant T J is liable to Plaintiff for half of the profits from the project in the amount of $33,142.00.

3.Plaintiff is entitled to recover his costs, disbursements, witness fees, and attorney’s’ fees. Plaintiff’s counsel must submit information on his reasonable attorneys’ fees within 10 days of the date of this Order.

4.Defendants’ counterclaims for Tortious Interference and Breach of Fiduciary Duty are DISMISSED with prejudice.

5.The attached Memorandum is incorporated herein.

More to come . . . .(Including a real good reason to not mix business and pleasure)

MKT

Standard
Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Discovered on Demand, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation, Publicly Recorded, Technically Lawful

Blog Cheating a/k/a The INTRODUCTION TO LOCATING ASSETS

I’m going to post some stuff I already have written. It is interesting and topical for this blog; maybe even educational. But it will be recycled (at least for me–that’s the cheating part). The first version was written circa 2003, updated every year or two, with the last revision in 2010.

I know this is highly unusual, but tonight I will post the part called INTRODUCTION and then the next section BUSINESS FILING RECORDS. If I don’t lose all my readers, we can progress from there. I’ll watch the analytics.  Without further ado, here comes the title (the INTRODUCTION is right after that part):

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Post Judgment Creditors’ Rights

Uncovering Assets

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

PUBLIC RECORDS

Information is the oxygen of the modern age.

Ronald Reagan (b. 1911), former U.S. President. (London, June 14, 1989).

A.            INTRODUCTION 

Locating, retrieving and analyzing debtors’ assets is one of the most important aspects of successfully collecting a debt. Finding debtors’ assets can be difficult, time-consuming, expensive and not always fruitful.  But finding debtors’ assets is the first step in successfully collecting a debt.  Since many debtors hide assets or deny the existence of assets, it is generally a wise practice to dig up some information from public records prior to contacting a debtor.  Accordingly, this guide is designed to provide a method that may be utilized to provide a creditor or a creditors’ agent/representative an effective and economical way to find debtors’ assets.

Just like anything else, locating debtors’ assets can be done in a variety of ways, including physically going to governmental record depositories and researching and copying any asset information uncovered.  Some agencies even provide a great deal of information with just a phone call.

Computer assisted public record access and research has greatly expanded in recent years. It may be done via private and governmental pay subscription, computer-based systems. A couple of private service providers are Westlaw (www.westlaw.com) and Lexis-Nexis (www.lexis.com). Both of these providers are expensive, but for any firm collecting numerous debts it is an invaluable resource. 

Governmental Internet websites are rapidly expanding what information they provide. Many of these websites still provide information for free, but it appears there is a definite trend to charge (usually minimally) for access to the information via the Internet.  

The following is not an exhaustive discussion on access and research into Minnesota’s public records. It does discuss a few valuable resources for locating debtors’ assets and how to obtain that information via computer, telephone, mail or the good old “going down to the courthouse.” It is written as a primer for finding public record information.   

 

More to come.

MKT

Standard
Appealing Appeals Applied, Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Constitutionally Civil Rights, Contractually Bound, Discovered on Demand, Fraudulently Fooled, Legally Educated, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation, Technically Lawful, Uncategorized

New Name–New Logo–Same Firm

MKT Law-LOGO

Practical Counsel | Aggressive Protection | Creative Solutions

A Blog about Litigation and Business

Standard
Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

BECOME A LAWYER TODAY! PRACTICE & MORE FOR SALE

TURN-KEY BUSINESS 4 SALE/RENT 2 OWN/TERMS

Immediately available,  terms negotiable, includes use of lawyer’s name, address, bar #, license, REAL atty signature stamp///pick your own clients, set your own fees, be your own boss! no experience/qualifications required;  be an ATTY today w/o expense/time of law school and no pesky bar exam to pass, all offers considered, Start your new career practicing law today! Call 1-800 dis-bar-red1

MKT

Lawyer agrees to disbarment for abdicating law firm to nonlawyersLaw_Firm_Image

A San Diego lawyer has agreed to be disbarred for allowing a nonlawyer to open and operate a law firm in his name that offered credit-repair services. Ernest George Georggin, 68, agreed to give up his law license and to pay $90,000 in restitution, plus interest, to 25 former clients of the law firm who filed complaints, according to a California State Bar press release, U-T San Diego and the Metropolitan News-Enterprise. According to a stipulation of facts, Georggin formed Georggin Law with nonlawyer Eric . . .

. . . keep reading here via Lawyer agrees to disbarment for abdicating law firm to nonlawyers.

Standard
Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

Small Businesses Sue AIG Over Workers’ Compensation Insurance Scheme

ALTON, Ill. (Oct. 9) (Press Release): Small businesses in California, New York and New Jersey this week initiated coordinated class action lawsuits in federal courts on both coasts against American International Group (“AIG”), its subsidiary companies and former CEO Maurice Greenberg alleging unfair business practices, fraud and violations of the federal racketeering statutes.

The businesses allege that for approximately four decades beginning in the 1970s, AIG engaged in a sophisticated scheme to misreport the amount of workers’ compensation premiums it collected in each state, thereby causing insured employers to pay more in certain workers’ compensation fees than they otherwise would have paid. By making it appear less money was collected in workers’ compensation premiums in these states, AIG caused  . . .

Small Businesses Sue AIG Over Workers’ Compensation Insurance Scheme.

Standard
Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Contractually Bound, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

I Personally Guarantee It!

1-satisfactionOver the past few months, I have had a few different cases where my client, an incorporated small business, either needed help with drafting (landlords) or negotiating (tenants)  a commercial lease agreement. In each case I try to impose, or conversely prohibit, a personal guarantee being a condition in the lease.   It is so standard to see a personal guarantee included in a lease that I am always amazed when it is absent. The exception, rather than the rule.

Most personal guarantees in commercial leases are the result of the landlord trying to minimize the inherent risks involved in renting property to a small business.  Since most small businesses have few, if any, liquid assets, the personal guarantee creates an extra level of protection for the landlord and helps assure that the lease will be fulfilled. Quite simply, the landlord is trying to make the agreement as secure as possible.

When a personal guarantee is agreed to it makes the individual signing the guarantee personally liable under the lease. This is prudent for a landlord just in case the tenant goes out of business, files for bankruptcy or otherwise can’t meet its financial obligations.  It is also a slick way to sidestep the personal liability shield that would otherwise insulate the owners of an incorporated business from this liability.

A savvy tenant, with something  to offer (even services or labor) can sometimes negotiate its way out of the requisite personal guarantee. But a sophisticated landlord will insist upon something else of value be put at stake instead. You can use UCC filings that cover a tenant’s business equipment, other assets, or even personal  property, and designate the landlord as the secured party. It is also possible to successfully omit personal guarantees under the right conditions. These situations may exist where the rental property is unique, yet fit for a tenant’s particular use, when the tenant has previously honored a lease with the same landlord and, of course, when the landlord has no concerns about the tenant’s solvency.

After all is said and done, a personal guarantee won’t be worth more than the paper it is printed on unless the guarantor is financially viable.  This brings me to the “moral of the story” got from an article I read today. It demonstrated a perfect example of a landlord doing everything possible, albeit somewhat after the fact, to try to make sure he would be able to collect the losses allegedly suffered from a default in a commercial lease. This applicable law in the case is technically distinct from a personal guarantee and is due to the particularities of partnership law (and demonstrates a darn good reason to operate as a corporation or LLC rather than as a partnership).

So, yesterday, the Am Law Daily reported on a case where a landlord is currently suing 450 attorneys, who were formerly partners at a large Manhattan law firm. In the lawsuit, the landlord alleges all of the partners are personally liable for the default in a commercial lease involving six floors of a high-rise office tower.

The lease runs through 2020 and, at one point in time, the landlord believed the default resulted in a loss of more than $45.45 million. Although the landlord only claims about $1.6 million damages now, there is still a lesson to be learned. That lesson is that you can never go overboard when trying to tie people personally to a lease in order to secure it.

You can read more the whole article here:  http://www.americanlawyer.com/PubArticleALD.jsp?id=1202621080749&Deweys_New_York_Landlord_Sues_450_Former_Partners#ixzz2g9PTUBqJ

Related articles

Standard