In re Dean

401 B.R. 917 (2008)

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In re Dean

United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho
401 B.R. 917 (2008)

  • Written by Jody Stuart, JD

Facts

Michael and Peni Dean (debtors) retained bankruptcy attorney Kelly Beeman to analyze their financial situation. One of the Deans’ principal assets was a motorhome they purchased from Peni’s mother, Diane Gladman. Gladman had been given a security interest in the motorhome, but the Deans did not have documentation of the lien. Beeman advised the Deans to seek independent counsel to assist them with perfecting Gladman’s lien on the motorhome before filing for bankruptcy. The Deans tried to perfect Gladman’s lien without retaining another attorney. The Deans then told Beeman the lien was perfected. Beeman filed the Deans’ bankruptcy petition, listing Gladman as a secured creditor. Beeman had asked the Deans to initial each page of the petition and schedules to verify the pages’ accuracy. Beeman did not conduct an investigation to verify that Gladman was listed as a lienholder on the motorhome title. Beeman did not obtain or review documents from the Deans evidencing the lien and did not access the Idaho Transportation Department’s website to review the motorhome’s title. In reality, there were no liens on the motorhome. Ultimately, Gladman’s lien was unenforceable in the bankruptcy. The Deans had to surrender the motorhome to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee argued that the Deans did not receive adequate representation from Beeman and asked the bankruptcy court to order Beeman to disgorge the fees received from the Deans.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pappas, J.)

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