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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Debt Collectors And The Lying Lawyers Who Defend Them

E-mails filed in federal court show that an Alabama attorney made false statements in motions designed to exclude evidence of wrongdoing by debt collectors.

Wayne Morse, of the Birmingham firm Waldrep Stewart & Kendrick, stated that my wife and I had failed to disclose or produce an audiotape of a conversation I had with a representative for Ingram & Associates about a debt I allegedly owed to American Express. Because of that, Morse claims, the audiotape must be excluded as evidence.

But Morse's own exhibits showed that we had disclosed the audiotape during the discovery process. And e-mails filed with court documents by our attorneys, Darrell Cartwright and Allan Armstrong, show that the audiotape in question actually was produced--sent directly to Morse. And there is no evidence that he failed to receive it.

We recently were deposed by Morse and saw no sign that he is mentally impaired. Waldrep Stewart & Kendrick is a fairly prominent Birmingham firm, and Morse probably charges in the neighborhood of $300 to $400 an hour for his services--so we see no sign that he is incompetent. We can only conclude that he intentionally tried to deceive the court--and cheat us.

That's the kind of act that can, and should, bring serious sanctions from a court. And the Alabama State Bar, if it has any teeth at all, should take a serious look at whether Wayne Morse deserves to have a bar card.

One of Morse's first deceitful acts was to state in his motion that we could not blame the failure to disclose on our attorneys because we brought the lawsuit while acting pro se. But Morse conveniently failed to mention that we retained the services of an attorney, Robert Kreitlein, who handled the early portion of the discovery process for us. And records show that Morse clearly knew this.

We since have parted ways with Kreitlein, with Cartwright and Armstrong taking over the case. But the record clearly shows that Kreitlein handled discovery matters for us in the early stages of the lawsuit, and contrary to what Morse hints, neither my wife nor I were involved in the exchange of information among attorneys.

The record now shows that Kreitlein, in fact, sent the auditotape in question (along with two other audiotapes) directly to Wayne Morse. This was done via e-mail on May 18, 2009. (See full e-mail below.) And yet, Morse waited until February 22, 2010 to proclaim that he had not received the audiotape--after having repeatedly questioned me about it in a deposition and never indicating that he didn't have it.

Consider this passage from an e-mail Kreitlein sent to Morse last May 18:


Attached are the first two audio files, the third will come separately. I thought they had already been sent to Ingram because I sent them at the same time to both Dayle for NCO and Angie Ingram but we did have lots of problems getting them to go through on email.

Let me know if you have trouble opening them. I can always burn them to a CD and just drop it by your office if this doesn't work.

The first audio file is the one Morse claims not to have. But the e-mail shows clearly that it is attached. (See below.) And there is no indication that Morse had trouble receiving or opening them.

Interestingly, Kreitlein states that he thought he had already sent the audiotapes to Morse's client, Angie Ingram, an attorney who indeed was representing herself in the early stages of discovery. The record indicates that both Ingram and Morse received the audiotapes--and some nine months later they claimed not to have them.

Are Morse and Ingram intentionally trying to deceive the court? Sure looks that way.

How's that for legal strategy? Receive a key piece of evidence, wait nine months, claim you don't have it, and argue that it therefore must be excluded. We can't wait to see what creative explanations Morse will come up with now that it's been proven that he's had the tape all along.

Why are Morse and his client, Angie Ingram, so desperate to keep the audiotape out of evidence? For one thing, it proves without question that Ingram & Associates, acting on behalf of Pennsylvania-based debt collector NCO, repeatedly violated the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA).

But we suspect something else might be at work here. It's interesting that Morse and Ingram only want to exclude the first tape, the one of my conversation with Ingram representative Tracy Mize. The other two tapes, of my conversations with Mize's supervisor Jann Blalock, don't seem to be of much concern to them.

Both Mize and Blalock committed mutliple violations of the FDCPA, along with various state-law torts. So why are the debt collectors so concerned about the Mize conversation, but not the one with Blalock?

We have some guesses about the reasons for that, and we'll be getting to those. For now, let's check out the Robert Kreitlein/Wayne Morse e-mail exchange, showing that Morse has had the audiotape in question all along.

Because of all the lawyer jokes floating around out there, we suspect that many Americans consider lawyers, in general, to be dishonest and untrustworthy individuals. These e-mails involving Wayne Morse, along with the subsequent fraudulent motions he filed, show there is good reason many citizens hold lawyers in low regard.

We like to think that Legal Schnauzer, with the help of the wondrous World Wide Web, is providing readers with a rare opportunity to witness lawyer dishonesty in pretty much real time. Wayne Morse's efforts to cheat us are not from a case that took place years ago and are just now coming to light. They are part of a case that is going on right now.

This is a classic illustration of how modern technology can help inform citizens on matters of major public concern. It shows that at least one prominent lawyer in Alabama, apparently as a matter of routine, files fraudulent documents in order to deceive a federal court and help his client get away with unlawful activity.

An article such as this would not have been possible 10 to 15 years ago. But it's possible now. And it shows the doo-doo that powerful elites can step in when they try to cheat regular folks nowadays:

Kreitlein e-mail1

1 comment:

Robby Scott Hill said...

Wayne Morse should ask Robert Entrekin Lusk for a job at The Alabama State Bar, they seem to have the same style when it comes to creative explanations, misleading & cheating people during depositions and hearings.