Jeffrey N. Schatzman
Schatzman & Schatzman, P.A.
If you represent individual debtors and take credit cards for payment of your fees, you might want to re-think that policy. On March 30, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Cadwell v. Kaufman, Englett & Lynd, PLLC, Case No. 17-10810, reinstated a suit against Kaufman, Englett & Lynd (“KEL”) for violation of 11 U.S.C. Sec. 526(a)(4). You can find the opinion here.
Requiring Credit Cards Concerns Client
Loyd Cadwell had sought the services of KEL to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Following the initial meeting, Cadwell entered into a retainer agreement with KEL that provided for KEL to be paid a fee of $1,700.00 to represent Cadwell in the chapter 7 case. The agreement provided for payments to be made in installments over several months. Cadwell alleged in his complaint that he was instructed by KEL to make the installment payments by credit card. Cadwell made the initial payment and three additional installments with two different credit cards. Thereafter, Cadwell terminated the engagement with KEL and sought the services of another firm to assist him with his bankruptcy.
Cadwell’s new attorneys noticed the credit card payments and filed suit on behalf of Cadwell for violation of 11 U.S.C. § 526(a)(4), seeking return of fees paid to KEL and punitive damages of $1 million. The lawsuit is also proposed as a class action.