Dismissed with Prejudice

It’s time for a quick update on the ongoing SSG/SPCK saga and J Mark Brewer’s efforts to obtain a bankruptcy order in the US court on behalf of a UK charity and if you’ve been following any of this you should be delighted to know that Brewer’s bankruptcy application was heard yesterday and dismissed with prejudice.

“Courtroom Minutes. Time Hearing Held: 11:00 am. Appearances: Mark Brewer for debtor; Randy Williams for Trustee. (Related document(s): 24 Chapter 7 Trustee’s Motion to Dismiss Case). Ellen Hickman present. Mr. Williams addressed the Court regarding the motion to dismiss. Arguments were heard by opposing parties. The Court announced its findings and dismissed the case with prejudice. (rsmi) (Entered: 08/28/2008)”

If your uncertain what dismissal with prejudice means it means simply that that he is barred from making any attempt to re-file for bankruptcy on behalf of SSG.

So what does this means for Brewer and his creditors.

First and foremost, if I’m correct in my understanding of the legal end of things in this country then SSG’s outstanding liabilities rest with the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust, which was and still is an unincorporated body.

Although Brewer did set up a charitable company in the UK in 2007 and then successfully persuaded the Charity Commission to allow him to ‘move’ the trust into the position of its being a subsidiary of the company in what, with hindsight, looks very much like a purely arse-covering measure, my feeling is that this doesn’t cover him for the Trust’s liabilities…

…and if that is the case, then Brewer and his family are personally liable for the Trust’s debts.

Second, and this will depend very much on what the full written judgement states, Brewer’s application for bankrupcy includes what, on the face of it, appears to be manifestly false information. The company name he gave on the paperwork, SSG LLC, does not exist…

…and the judge was minded to take a particularly dim view of the application being made using false information then Brewer could be staring down the barrel of a charge of perjury.

Finally, for now, let’s not forget that Brewer is a lawyer and that he did his own paperwork, even to the extent of trying to score a retainer out of the whole gig. In my experience, the kind of professional associations that regulate the legal profession tend to take something of a dim view of lawyers who file false information in casess in which they have a direct personal interest. It’s unethical and just the kind of thing that can easily result, if you are a lawyer, in your licence to practice being suspended, if not removed entirely.

Much depends here on precisely what the judge had to say but if the grounds given for the dismissal with prejudice assert that the application was dismissed as ‘frivolous’ then Brewer could be looking at disciplinary action for breaching rules 3.01 and 3.03 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (PDF) (see pages 52-55) and rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Brewer, to put it mildly, may well be right up shit creek and rapidly running out of paddles – and that’s before the Charity Commision and/or the UK’s Companies Investigation Bureau get started on him.