Want to avoid being found in contempt? Don't advise your clients to reclaim their property after it has been foreclosed on.
But that's just what Michael T. Pines of Ventura County did, and then some. Pines has now been ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and over $34,000 in legal fees. He was fortunate enough to avoid incarceration. The matter began after an investment company bought the home at auction and had to fight Pines clients who retook possession of the foreclosed home in Simi Valley.
While Judge Barbara Lane of Ventura County did not punish Pines' clients, Jim and Danielle Earl, she warned them that if they broke into the house again, they would face consequences, calling their behavior "misguided actions," the Ventura County Star reports. The judge could have jailed Pines and the Earl's for up to five days.
It goes to show you the risk you take when you defy a judge. It is always important to advocate vigorously for your clients. However, when you step over the line, you do both them and yourself a disservice. In Pines cases, he skipped a contempt hearing, filed multiple lawsuits only to later abandon them and used other tactics to stall and defy the judicial process, the Ventura County Star reports.
Judge Lane went on to say that she found Pines in contempt because he also misused the bankruptcy courts, intentionally caused Conejo Capital Partners' to run up their legal bills, ignored court orders, and knowingly advised his clients to break the law.
All in all, it serves as an excellent lesson in what not to do.