Monday, May 23, 2011

Richard Schwartz: But, but, but, it's not my fault.

Attorney Richard Schwartz filed an answer in the Shirley Douglas bankruptcy estate on April 29. Ms. Douglas suffered injuries in an automobile collision. Mr. Schwartz negotiated a $500,000 settlement with the insurance company on her behalf. However, Ms. Douglas filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy before the settlement took place. Mr. Schwartz hired attorney Vann Leonard to apply to the bankruptcy court for his contract fee of $172,414 and deposit the remainder of the settlement with the bankruptcy court.

The court awarded Mr. Schwartz his fee. Ms. Douglas and the bankruptcy trustee filed suit against Mr. Schwartz after attorney Vann Leonard embezzled the remaining $327,000 from the estate. Mr. Leonard pleaded guilty in federal court on February 24 to one count of embezzlement. He currently awaits sentencing and is incarcerated in the Rankin County jail on contempt of court charges in an unrelated case.

The court ordered Mr. Schwartz to return his fee to the bankruptcy estate in January. Mr. Schwartz takes issue with this and a few other things in his answer. Mr. Schwartz blames everyone else for the loss of Ms. Douglas' money: "If Plaintiff has suffered injuries or damages, those mJunes and/or damages were proximately caused or contributed to solely by the negligent and/or intentional acts, wrongs, or omissions of other persons, entities, forces or things over which these defendants had no control and/or for which they are not responsible."

Mr. Schwartz then argues that imposition of punitive damages would violate his constitutional rights. Mr. Schwartz then points out the court took back his fee and claims he "is entitled to the full sum" even though he "admits that $33,477 of the proceeds... were not used to pay Ms. Douglas' medical bills because Vann Leonard misappropriated the proceeds." Mr. Schwartz even admits he hired Mr. Leonard in the past to obtain approval for his fees in bankruptcy cases." Attorneys formerly employed by Mr. Schwartz have informed this correspondent Mr. Schwartz hired Mr. Leonard on a regular basis whenever approval was needed from a bankruptcy judge to obtain his fees from a settlement. What is troubling for Mr. Schwartz is he admits there was no provision in the contract with Ms. Douglas "that authorized Schwartz and Associates to tender the $500,000 in settlement proceeds to Vann F. Leonard."

So to recap: Mr. Schwartz gives back his $172,000 to the court after the judge tells him to do so but still says its his money, says it's everyone's fault but his, but then admits Vann was his boy but it's still not his fault.

The plot thickens.


Anonymous said...

Schwartz is a schmuck, granted, but how it is his fault if the BR attorney steals from the client?

Kingfish said...

The theory used is the money was entrusted to Schwartz. He picked vann leonard, not the client so therefor he is responsible. Mr. Thomas argues they had an agency relationship and thus RS is responsible for what happened to her money.

Anonymous said...

I guess there is not much of a chance of seeing a Schwartz advertisment on Jambalya any time soon.

Anonymous said...

scum sucker, and not bright at all. he needs to look at the dugan decision again.

Anonymous said...

I don't see Schwartz having liability here. Even if he referred the plaintiff to Vann Leonard, is there any indication that Schwartz had any idea of the crime going on? After the settlement is obtained, it usually is handed over to the Br attorney and the BR trustee to work out creditor issue. The injury attorney's fee is usually approved by the BR trustee as a matter of course. The case proceeds are the property of the BR trustee until the BR is worked out/discharged.

Anonymous said...

If an attorney is "of counsel" I do believe they are "associated" and liability extends to all involved.

Could be wrong, if I am, the legal profession is full of loop holes and you should be ashamed for trying to rationalize thieving.

Mustang1972 said...

He should have checked with someone, one call, thats all

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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