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Conduct in bankruptcy case lands lawyers on the wrong side of the law

Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?”


When a United States Bankruptcy Judge enters an order, the order must be honored unless and until it is stayed pending appeal, or reversed or set aside by an appellate court. Two Missouri lawyers and their law firm are finding that out the hard way, according to Joe Patrice, writing at AboveTheLaw.com.

Metal Cage Mecklenburg Bankruptcy Lawyer North Carolina Chapter 7 AttorneyOn June 10, 2014—nearly a year ago—United States Bankruptcy Judge Charles E. Rendlen, III entered a judgment imposing $49,720 in sanctions upon James Robinson, his firm—Critique Services, L.L.C.—and Robinson’s lawyer Elbert Walton, Jr. Critique bills itself as a law firm featuring “experienced attorneys and associates [who] have worked in the trenches of bankruptcy law for over a decade and have intimate knowledge of the bankruptcy system.”

According Judge Rendlen, Robinson—doing business alternately as himself and as Critique Services—conducts a “low cost, high volume” business model representing individuals in the bankruptcy system. A client of Robinson’s and Critique Services named LaToya L. Steward brought an action against Robinson and Critique seeking, among other items, return of $495 she paid to Robinson and the firm for services she alleged they never rendered.

In that case, Judge Rendlen found, Robinson and Critique Services refused “to comply with their discovery obligations, but [chose] instead to employ contempt, abuse of process, and vexatious litigation to avoid discovery.” These actions caused Judge Rendlen to sanction Robinson, Critique and the attorney representing them.

After the sanctions were imposed, Robinson, Critique and Walton appealed Judge Rendlen’s judgment to United States District Court. While the appeal was pending, they failed to pay the sanctions, failed to obtain a bond for the sanctions, and did not seek a stay of Judge Rendlen’s judgment while the appeal was pending.

As AboveTheLaw points out, “Judge Rendlen pointed out this oversight, but otherwise waited patiently as the district court affirmed his order last month.” Robinson, Critique and Walton appealed the district court’s order affirming Judge Rendlen’s judgment to the 8th Circuit United States Court of Appeals. In doing so, however, they failed to address Judge Rendlen’s original sanctions order, which has been in effect since it was issued.

That prompted Judge Rendlen to issue a “show-cause order” demanding that the attorneys pay the sanctions, post a bond or show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt for failing to follow the court’s directives. According to Judge Rendlen, Robinson, Critique and Walton exhibited “their usual unmitigated arrogance and complete lack of respect for the Court or themselves as attorneys” in response to the show-cause order.

Give the failure of monetary and other sanctions to address the original sanctions order, Judge Rendlen issued a bench warrant for Robinson’s and Walton’s arrest. He ordered them imprisoned for thirty days or until they pay $52,206 or post a bond for the same.

If you find yourself needing the services of an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.



About the Author

Bryan 1Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.

Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.

In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.










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