Legal Ethics

‘Tough Hombre’ Bankruptcy Judge Sanctions Lawyers in Three Cases

A federal bankruptcy judge in Las Vegas has written three “take-no-prisoners” opinions reprimanding lawyers who appeared before him for what he perceived to be ethical missteps, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist.

Judge Bruce Markell is a “tough hombre” with a reputation for being brilliant, as well as arrogant and rigid, according to the column by Jane Ann Morrison. He is a former Los Angeles bankruptcy practitioner with Sidley & Austin and a part-time professor at the law school at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

The column says Markell’s three reprimands named:

• Lawyer Neil Beller for dual representation of two clients. Beller has appealed the reprimand.

• The Cooper Castle law firm and its client Wells Fargo Bank for refusing to correct a wrongly worded stipulation that had a couple surrendering a home they intended to keep as a residence.

• The Harris Merritt Chapman law firm and partner Scott Chapman for taking on a bankruptcy case even though the client “had no business being in bankruptcy” and the firm had no background in Chapter 11, according to Markell.

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