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Bankruptcy lawyer urged clients to spread COVID-19, judge says

(Reuters) – A Colorado bankruptcy judge has sanctioned an Edgewater, Colorado lawyer for “blatant misconduct,” including advice he gave former clients to try to infect the trustee overseeing their case with COVID-19 or another illness.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas McNamara on Tuesday suspended attorney Devon Barclay from practicing in Colorado bankruptcy court for three years over his conduct while representing Matthew and Nicole Mennona, a Littleton, Colorado couple who sought Chapter 7 relief during the pandemic.

Barclay forged his clients’ signatures on their Chapter 7 petition, tried to get the bankruptcy case dismissed multiple times under “false assertions of fact,” and ignored a trustee’s discovery efforts, leading to his clients getting hit with a $2,783.50 sanction, McNamara found.

McNamara also cited a Sept. 9, 2021, email from Barclay to his clients about a letter that was intended to be sent to another lawyer. “If either of you have COVID or some other highly infectious, nasty disease — or if you know someone who does — please make sure they lick the envelope and handle it as much as possible,” Barclay said in the email.

It is unclear from the court record whether the comment was meant as a joke. Barclay

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Lawyer for Chris Pettit raises concerns about ‘authenticity’ of $270 million in bankruptcy claims

A lawyer for Chris Pettit, in a letter to the judge presiding over the ex-attorney’s bankruptcies, has raised questions about the “authenticity” of the $270 million in claims submitted by creditors in the cases.

The “obvious concern is that some creditors may take substantially more dividend than they are entitled to the detriment of honest creditors,” San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer Ron Smeberg wrote.

Pettit is in jail awaiting trial in connection with the alleged theft of millions of dollars from his former legal clients. He pleaded not guilty after his indictment on
five counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering
last week.


Judge denies Chris Pettit’s release on bond, will remain jailed until his criminal trial

Pettit filed for bankruptcy protection
for himself and his law firm June 1 amid
mounting lawsuits that alleged he had defrauded clients. He subsequently
surrendered his law license
and shuttered his offices.

Smeberg said questions about the creditors’ claims “developed” during a detention hearing Tuesday in federal court in which prosecutors argued Pettit should remain incarcerated pending trial.

FBI agent Thomas Sweatt testified the “current claims” against Pettit were in the range of $30 (million) to $70 million,

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Tesla hires new lawyer in compliance role amid legal battles

The logo of car manufacturer Tesla is seen at a branch office in Bern, Switzerland. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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(Reuters) – Tesla Inc has hired Michael Munro to handle compliance issues, according to a post from Munro on his LinkedIn account Tuesday, as the electric-car maker and its CEO Elon Musk face mounting legal challenges.

Munro will serve as associate general counsel for global compliance. Tesla did not confirm the hire nor did it immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Munro jumps to Tesla from a part-time position as general counsel at logistics platform company e2Log and a role at compliance consulting firm GCMR, which his LinkedIn profile said he co-founded.

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Tesla and Musk, who is the world’s richest person, are fighting on several legal fronts, including with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a 2018 agreement to have Musk’s Twitter posts vetted.

Tesla also faces several labor lawsuits, the latest of which alleges the company failed to provide legally-required advance notice to employees ahead of a

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