Case Conclusion Date: 02.16.2005
Practice Area: Litigation
Outcome: Plaintiff's pleadings stricken for fraud on court
Description: I was the appellate lawyer on a case in which the appeals court found no abuse of discrtion in the trial court's having stricken the pleadings of Diane Taylor, a realtor who had filed a multi-count, multi-defendant action involving several real estate transctions and who my wife/law partner, Karen Coolman Amlong, had shown the trial court that (in the language of the opinion): "1) She forged a warranty deed purporting to transfer a condominium unit that was the subject of the litigation from appellee Ronald N. Dubner, Trustee, to herself. She cut and pasted Dubner's signature on the deed. She falsified the signatures of the "witnesses" to Dubner's signature. She cut and pasted an Illinois notary seal and signature on the document. She falsified the notary's statement that Dubner had presented his Florida driver's license to the notary, was sworn, and signed the document. She falsified grantee information, the sale price, and the grantee phone number on the deed. She recorded the deed in the public records. "2) Taylor executed a fraudulent form DR-219 from the Florida Department of Revenue indicating that Dubner had transferred the property to her for a price of $100.00. "3) Taylor fabricated and recorded a fraudulent Form UCC-1 financing statement which purported to give 51% ownership of appellee Sera Martell Realty, Inc. to a company owned by Taylor. The financing statement secured a claimed debt of $510,000, which the trial court found was close to the amount Taylor sought in a conversion count of her lawsuit. Taylor conceded that her intent in filing the document 'was to cloud the title of Sera Martell Realty, Inc., so that somehow [she] could either secure or get paid $510,000.' "4) Taylor did not 'know how [her] signature got affixed' to documents relating to a condominium unit that she denied purchasing. However, when confronted with the originals, she was forced to concede that she had signed the documents. "5) Taylor claimed that a quitclaim deed purporting to transfer a condominium unit from her to Sera Martell had been fabricated and that she was the rightful owner of the unit. The trial judge found that Taylor had signed the original of the deed that Taylor claimed was a fabrication." The appeal was a breeze, the real heavy lifting having been done in the trial court.