Monday, November 21, 2011

Hopkins & Carley v. Gens (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 21, 2011)

This is why you have to be very, very careful about the clients you elect to represent.  Because sometimes you're judged, among other things, by the company you keep.  And when you represent someone who the lower court describes as a sleazeball, often, your attempts to represent that client and advance his interests will transfer that appellation onto you as well.

Here, for example, the trial court described the client as (essentially) a monstrously manipulative liar, saying that his claims that he "sold" his home any hence didn't receive notice of the underlying arbitration -- when the "sale" was to his wife for nothing -- were representatively bogus.  The trial court said that it could not recall "ever seeing more evidence indicating an attempt to avoid service of process by an individual than what I have seen in reviewing this file," and the Court of Appeal expressly agreed with this statement.  In short, the client was not sympathetic.  At all.

Which led, understandably, to the client being sanctioned.  And when the trial court extended those sanctions to the attorneys, the Court of Appeal was happy to affirm.  Stating, among other things, that "nothing short of a book could describe all the ways in which Gens and his attorneys have sought to distract and mislead the courts in this matter."  Ouch.

The attorneys for Gens are J. Michael Matthews and Andrea Kendrick, both from Chapman, Popik & White.  Both of whom undoubtedly regret having taken him on as a client at this point.  Because no matter how much Gens paid them, it's probably not worth getting the huge rebuke they received today by the Court of Appeal.

So be careful the company you keep.