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In Re: SHARON DIANE HILL | PA BK Court, Fraud Upon Court, “ReCreated” Letters, Sanctions, Countrywide, GMM and Puida

In Re: SHARON DIANE HILL | PA BK Court, Fraud Upon Court, “ReCreated” Letters, Sanctions, Countrywide, GMM and Puida


In Re: SHARON DIANE HILL, Debtor, ROBERTA A. DeANGELIS,
Acting United States Trustee for Region 3, Movant,

v.

COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC., GOLDBECK,
McCAFFERTY AND McKEEVER, and ATTORNEY LESLIE
PUIDA, Respondents.

Case Number 01-22574 JAD, Chapter 13

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT FOR THE WESTERN
DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

2010 Bankr. LEXIS 3313

October 5, 2010, Decided

COUNSEL: [*1] For United States Trustee: Patrick S. Layng, Esq.
for United States Trustee: Lisa D. Tingue, Esq.
For United States Trustee: Norma Hildenbrand, Esq.
For Countrywide Home Loans, Inc: Thomas A. Connop. Esq.
For Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.: Dorothy A. Davis, Esq.
For Goldbeck, McCafferty and McKeever/Atty Leslie Puida: Francis Manning, Esq.

JUDGES: Thomas P. Agresti, Chief Judge.

OPINION BY: Thomas P. Agresti

OPINION
Related to Doc. No. 465

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Excerpt:

DISCUSSION

(A) The Court’s Rule to Show Cause
The Rule is directed against Countrywide, GMM, and Puida and was very deliberately limited to
seven well-defined Items of potentially sanctionable conduct related to this whole matter, four
directed to Countrywide and three to GMM and Puida. The Court’s approach to resolving the
specified matters before it is to set forth each of the Items as stated in the Rule, followed by a
discussion of whether the evidence supports the imposition of any kind of sanction against the
respective party involved. The seven Items of inquiry identified by the Court in the Rule involve the
following, allegedly inappropriate instances of conduct:

(1) Countrywide [*43] failing to properly account for chapter 13 payments made by
the Debtor during the pendency of her case.

(2) Countrywide knowingly and willfully violating the discharge injunction granted
to the Debtor through numerous and sustained attempts to collect on questionable debt
which, by appropriate review of applicable records, was current as of the time of entry
of the discharge order.

(3) Countrywide intentionally, or with reckless disregard and/or indifference to the
applicable facts, misleading the debtor’s attorneys into believing change notices had
been timely sent via the use of three “created” Payment Change Letters, when in fact
they had not, and during such time attempting to resolve a dispute pending before this
Court.

(4) Countrywide intentionally, or with reckless disregard and/or indifference to the
applicable facts, making misrepresentations to this Court in a pleading regarding the
cause of its claimed escrow arrearages account regarding the Debtor.

(5) Goldbeck McCafferty and McKeever and Leslie Puida knowingly and willfully,
or with reckless disregard and/or indifference to the applicable facts, violating the
discharge injunction granted to the debtor by making numerous and [*44] sustained
attempts to collect on debt they knew to be discharged or should have known was
discharged.

(6) Goldbeck McCafferty and McKeever and Leslie Puida intentionally, or with
reckless disregard and/or indifference to the applicable facts, failed to disclose to the
debtor’s attorney that three Payment Change Letters had never actually been sent, all
in an improper attempt to collect on questionable debt while attempting to resolve a
matter that was pending before this Court.

(7) Goldbeck McCafferty and McKeever and Leslie Puida intentionally, or with
reckless disregard and/or indifference to the applicable facts, made inaccurate oral
statements in response to the Court’s inquiry regarding when Leslie Puida told the
Debtor’s attorney that the three Payment Change Letters were not what they purported
to be, but instead were memoranda created years after the event.

3_COUNTRYWIDE RECREATED LETTERS

<SNIP>

ORDER AND RULE TO SHOW CAUSE

AND NOW, this 5th day of October, 2010, for the reasons set forth in the accompanying
Memorandum Opinion, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that,

(1) Items 1, 2 and 3 of the Rule to Show Cause (“Rule”), Document No. 435, as directed against
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc (“Countrywide”), and Item 5 of the Rule, as directed against
Goldbeck, McCafferty and McKeever (“GMM”) and Attorney Leslie Puida (“Puida”) are
VACATED.

(2) With respect to Item 4 of the Rule, as directed against Countrywide, the Court finds
sufficient cause exists to sanction Countrywide pursuant to Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9011, and that a
sufficient sanction so as to deter repetition of such conduct in the future or comparable conduct by
others similarly situated, is a “public censure” of Countrywide and a reminder of its obligations
under Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9011(b)(3) to make reasonable investigation before making factual
allegations in documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court, or any other court for that matter. The
Court’s comments in the Memorandum Opinion and in this Order constitute that censure and
[*126] reminder. Therefore, no further hearing or action is required in regard to Paragraph (4) of the
Rule.

(3) With respect to Items 6 and 7 of the Rule as directed against GMM and Puida, the Court
finds that sufficient cause exists to impose sanctions pursuant to the Court’s inherent power its
power pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §105(a) and Fed.R.Bankr.P. 7037, incorporating Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(c)(1)(C). Therefore, a hearing is scheduled for November 22, 2010 at 2:00 P.M., in the Erie
Bankruptcy Courtroom, U.S. Courthouse, 17 South Park Row, Erie, PA, for the purpose of
considering and determining appropriate sanctions, at which time Leslie M. Puida and Michael T.
McKeever, in his capacity as a representative of GMM, with authority to speak for the firm, are
directed to personally appear.

(4) With respect to the apparent misconduct of Attorney Charles Townsend (“Townsend”) as
described in the Memorandum Opinion, a Rule to Show Cause is hereby issued directing him to
personally appear on the November 22, 2010 at 2:00 P.M., in the Erie Bankruptcy Courtroom, U.S.
Courthouse, 17 South Park Row, Erie, PA, to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed
against him for providing false or misleading testimony [*127] under oath during his deposition in
this matter, which testimony was then used at the time of trial due to Townsend’s unavailability. The
Court further understands that Townsend may no longer be affiliated with Countrywide. If that is
correct, Countrywide and its Counsel of Record, Thomas P Connop, are directed to effect personal
service of a copy of this Order and Rule to Show Cause, together with the Memorandum Opinion,
on Townsend immediately after receipt of this Order and file a Certificate of Service to that effect
on or before October 12, 2010.

/s/ Thomas P. Agresti
Thomas P. Agresti, Chief Judge
United States Bankruptcy Court

Case Below:

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