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Handeen v. Lemaire

112 F.3d 1339 (8th Cir. 1997)

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Handeen v. Lemaire

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

112 F.3d 1339 (8th Cir. 1997)

Facts

The Orlins & Brainerd Law Firm (the firm) (defendant) represented Gregory Lemaire (defendant) in a civil action against Lemaire by Paul Handeen (plaintiff). Lemaire attempted to kill Handeen with a rifle. Lemaire pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Handeen filed a civil suit against Lemaire and obtained a judgment of $50,000. When Handeen attempted to collect the judgment through wage-garnishment proceedings, Lemaire filed for bankruptcy. Lemaire, the firm, and Lemaire’s parents contrived a scheme to minimize Handeen’s recovery from Lemaire. The firm advised Lemaire and his parents to falsify a promissory note regarding an agreement for Lemaire to pay rent to his parents for living in their house. Lemaire had never before paid rent for his living arrangements with his parents. The note was executed one day prior to Lemaire’s filing for bankruptcy. As the holders of debt owed by Lemaire, Lemaire’s parents received money under Lemaire’s bankruptcy repayment plan. Lemaire’s parents transferred most of the money that they received back to Lemaire. During the bankruptcy process, Lemaire found a new job, which greatly increased his income. Lemaire’s job required him to relocate from his parents’ home in Minneapolis to Houston. Lemaire concealed this new job from the bankruptcy trustee. Lemaire mailed an envelope addressed to the trustee with his monthly payment enclosed to his father each month. Lemaire’s father then mailed the envelope to the trustee so that it was postmarked in Minneapolis. Handeen filed an action against the firm and the Lemaires, alleging Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the firm and dismissed Handeen’s RICO action against it. Handeen appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, J.)

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