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Just plain awful …

Bankruptcy Lawyer Loses Clients their Home

Judge John R. Hawkinson of District Court in Grand Rapids has ruled in favor of Thomas and Sandra May in a civil suit they brought against a Park Rapids attorney.

The judge has ordered Bill Jones to pay the couple $49,721.50 in damages plus interest and attorney”s fees on finding Jones “was the direct cause of the loss of Mays” homestead.”

According to the findings of fact in the case, the Mays” homestead consisted of a home and 80 acres of land sold at a mortgage foreclosure sale April 3, 2001. The couple had a 12-month period within which to redeem the property and retained Jones to represent them in filing a bankruptcy for the purpose of extending the redemption period.

At the time the bankruptcy was filed, Jones advised May he had 60 days from the April 2 filing date, or until June 1, 2002 to redeem the property.
On other visits to Jones” office, however, testimony indicates Jones led May to believe he had until July 12, 2002 to redeem the property.

An attorney, who specializes in handling bankruptcy proceedings, testified that a Chapter 7 filing does not extend the period of redemption. Any extension is up to the lender and if the lender agrees to an extension, the agreement should be put in writing.

Hawkinson further cited the testimony of two local attorneys (Jim Wallace and Greg Larson), “who are aware of Mr. Jones” reputation in the community.” Their testimony “indicated that his reputation was not good for truthfulness.”

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