Bankruptcy attorney encourages people to spread COVID-19, judge says

(Reuters) – A Colorado bankruptcy judge has found allowed an Edgewater, Colorado attorney for “egregious malpractice,” including the advice he gave to former clients who tried to infect the trustees who were overseeing their cases with COVID-19 or another illness.

US Bankruptcy Judge Thomas McNamara on Tuesday suspended attorney Devon Barclay from working in Colorado bankruptcy court for three years for his conduct while representing Matthew and Nicole Mennona, a couple from Littleton, Colorado who sought the Division 7 help during the disease.

Barclay made his clients’ signatures on their Chapter 7 petitions, attempting to dismiss the bankruptcy case multiple times under the “misrepresentation of fact” ,” and ignored the trustee’s efforts, causing his clients to be hit with a $2,783.50 penalty, McNamara found.

McNamara also cited a Sept. 9, 2021 email from Barclay to his clients about a letter that was intended to be sent to another attorney. “If any of you have COVID or another highly contagious disease – or you know someone who does – please make sure they lick the envelope and deal with it as much as possible,” the statement said. Barclay said in an email.

It is not clear from the court records whether the statement was meant as a joke. Barclay did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McNamara issued the sentence against Barclay in the lawsuit filed by US Trustee Patrick Layng against him last year because of his conduct. The US Trustee is part of the US Justice Department.

Barclay first answered in Layng’s lawsuit in May by exercising his 5th Amendment right not to incriminate himself while also making “qualified admissions.” But he retracted that answer in October.

As a result of that withdrawal, McNamara retained Barclay and his law firm, Devon Barclay PC, in default in the trustee’s court. Barclay “ultimately decided not to oppose anything. So be it; but the opponents certainly had their day in court,” said McNamara.

In addition to suspending Barclay for three years, McNamara also ordered Barclay to share his order with the disciplinary authorities for the Colorado Supreme Court and the US District Court of Colorado.

The Mennonites get new tips in October 2021, six months after they filed their Chapter 7 petition. One month later, they charge Barclay for abuse, and later settlement for $150,000. Attorneys for Mennonas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case of Layng v. Barclay, US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado, No. 22-01139.

For Patrick Layng: Robert Samuel Boughner of the US Justice Department

For Devon Barclay: Pro se

Our Terms: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm planning, recruitment, mergers and litigation. Based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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