Asset protection versus bankruptcy

A well-to-do friend called me for some planning.  He invited me to his beautiful, five-bedroom home in the hills above Westlake Village.  We sat at poolside as he described his predicament. While he was quite wealthy, he could see losing almost all of that wealth in a snap.  He owned an insurance brokerage; one of […]

Posted in Asset Protection, Litigation, Pre-Bankruptcy Planning | Comments Off on Asset protection versus bankruptcy

Mediating a bankruptcy dispute over nondischargeability

My client (“Wolfgang”) ran a small construction business in the summer of 2007. He hired an attorney (“Attorney David”) to help him foreclose on mechanics’ liens he had recorded, because one of his customers didn’t pay him $50,000 for a construction job. The attorney helped him, but the litigation turned very ugly: the customer countersued […]

Posted in Litigation, Mediation, Nondischargeable, Procedure | Comments Off on Mediating a bankruptcy dispute over nondischargeability

Disclosing information

Attorneys often try to hide a client’s information, and disclose as little as possible about the client. This strategy sometimes has comical effects, as in this exchange I heard in a deposition: “Q:       Do you remember where the main office for Gas del Lagarto  was located? A:         Even though I was the officer and president […]

Posted in Lawyering, Litigation, Rule of Law, Trials, Trustee | Comments Off on Disclosing information

What to do if you get a summons and complaint in a collection case

You are a person who can’t pay your bills.  One day, a disheveled guy comes to your door, asks whether you answer to your name, and when you say “yes,” he hands you a summons in a state-court lawsuit seeking a money judgment for an unpaid debt. Once you get the summons, you have 30 […]

Posted in Collection Law, Credit Cards, Litigation, Trials | Comments Off on What to do if you get a summons and complaint in a collection case

The tenant who wanted her rent back

My client was a landlady who rented her three-unit house not far from the beach in Ventura. The county came by one day and put yellow tags on two of the units, calling them “substandard” and evicting the tenants that day. Why “substandard?” Mostly because the area was zoned for one unit only: there was […]

Posted in Lawyering, Life Lessons, Litigation, Nondischargeable, Seen in the Courtroom, Trials | Comments Off on The tenant who wanted her rent back