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Disbarred and in debt

J. Douglass Jennings must pay back fraudulently obtained funds

Douglass and Peggy Jennings
Douglass and Peggy Jennings

Former tax law attorney J. Douglass Jennings — now officially disbarred, according to State Bar records — cannot discharge a debt that he incurred in bankruptcy, the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth District, ruled this month (December 2nd).

The bankruptcy court had said he couldn't ditch a debt because it was incurred "in fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity." Jennings appealed and the Ninth District slapped him down.

The bankruptcy court had also refused to discharge a debt by Jennings's wife, his partner in business, because it had involved "embezzlement or larceny" and "willful and malicious injury" to another party. Although she has been a longtime real estate professional, she claimed she "did not know what she was signing and signed forms merely because Mr. Jennings told her to," according to the appellate panel.

The appellate court affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision on Mr. Jennings, but reversed the non-dischargeability of Mrs. Jennings's debt, saying her plea of being an ingenue "created a genuine issue of material fact."

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Douglass and Peggy Jennings
Douglass and Peggy Jennings

Former tax law attorney J. Douglass Jennings — now officially disbarred, according to State Bar records — cannot discharge a debt that he incurred in bankruptcy, the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth District, ruled this month (December 2nd).

The bankruptcy court had said he couldn't ditch a debt because it was incurred "in fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity." Jennings appealed and the Ninth District slapped him down.

The bankruptcy court had also refused to discharge a debt by Jennings's wife, his partner in business, because it had involved "embezzlement or larceny" and "willful and malicious injury" to another party. Although she has been a longtime real estate professional, she claimed she "did not know what she was signing and signed forms merely because Mr. Jennings told her to," according to the appellate panel.

The appellate court affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision on Mr. Jennings, but reversed the non-dischargeability of Mrs. Jennings's debt, saying her plea of being an ingenue "created a genuine issue of material fact."

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Comments
10

Don. Very Good Reporting. Do you have the legal citations for this case before the 9th District State Court of Appeals?!

Dec. 27, 2016

SportsFan0000: Here is link requested.

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1756369.html

Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 27, 2016

NOTE: I have followed Jennings and his spouse for some time. Here are some previous Reader articles under my name: Dec. 3, 2014; May 20, 2016; Oct. 8, 2015; May 15, 2015; Oct. 18, 2014. They can be found on our search engine' put in my name plus J. Douglass Jennings. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 27, 2016

Thanks Don! I cannot believe that a prominent attorney would who spent so much time and money getting schooled, getting a professional license, and appeared to have no prior record prior to this client would throw his entire life and professional career out the window and do something like this that he must have known was illegal/unethical and could cost him his career and livelihood.

Jan. 1, 2017

SportsFan0000: A very high percentage of lawyers spend their careers doing quasi-legal -- or illegal -- things for rich clients who pay those attorneys very well. In fact, I think there is a high percentage of sociopaths, compared with other professions, who take up the law as a career. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 1, 2017

What does that mean "a very high percentage of lawyers"? Are you seriously contending that more than a few lawyers do illegal things on behalf of their clients? Let's see the evidence on that one. . . how about some names and facts Don. There are millions of lawyers in this country and several hundred thousand licensed to practice in this state. Your suggestion that a very high percentage of them are doing quasi legal (whatever that means) or illegal things for their clients is ridiculous.

Jan. 3, 2017

DanKaplan: Ridiculous? The Reader regularly prints blog items about lawyers who have been disciplined or disbarred. And the bar is quite lax. You should read those items.

I have followed how organized crime money flows through the business community, thanks to lawyers. (Organized crime money was behind much of the development of San Diego. "Mr. San Diego, C. Arnholt Smith, was deeply involved in such activity. Ditto Irvin Kahn.) I have also followed how money gets stashed in offshore tax and secrecy havens -- again, with lawyers calling the signals.

You have no idea the lengths that mob lawyers will go to smear anybody trying to get at the facts.

Sorry. Your defense of the legal community is misplaced. Or you are misinformed. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2017

Don, Remember "the Panama Papers" fiasco?! Major internationally law firm documents leaked documenting some of the biggest, richest tax cheats in the world. It even caused one Scandinavian government to fall/leader to resign. By the way, Trump was named over 3,500 times in the" Panama Papers" release of corrupt law firms money laundering for wealthy clients. You would think that the main stream media would have some interest in vetting a US presidential candidate by following his corrupt money trail?! NO....They were too busy sifting over old, insignificant and irrelevant emails about Hillary's daughter's wedding, hair and nail appointments, water cooler office gossip etc. It was not important to them that we could be electing a much bigger crook than Nixon President of the United States (Trump). The Media has let us down, big time, by not properly vetting Trump.. I guess there may be a presidential Impeachment in our future..

Jan. 6, 2017

SportsFan0000: You have just put your finger on one of the worst problems of democracy, and of journalism, too. Only a small percentage of voters can penetrate recondite financial fraud. Trump skated because most of his backers were (and still are) low-information voters, often white nationalists. Can you imagine a redneck combing through the Panama Papers?

Journalists specializing in complex fields (science, finance, e.g.) face the same situation. How many people can figure out that a crook, specializing in complex fraud, is really stealing from the people, even though he or she may be running for high office, or occupying high office. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 7, 2017

I was utterly shocked to see this happen. I used to work in his office many years before all of this came to light, although not directly with him or his wife, Peggy. I knew nothing about them, their operation of the business, or their personal lives. I worked for another attorney within the firm and reported directly to him. My heart is sad that such seemingly nice folks were pulling a fast one on those who trusted them. I am glad I left when I did. Greed creates its own Karma... and as we all know, Karma can be a bitch.

Aug. 13, 2018

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