Pillet v. Kendrick

On December 18, Mr. Knudsen prevailed in the Court of Appeal for Commins & Knudsen clients the Kendricks, who had endured months of costly and meritless collection litigation before retaining the firm.

In 2005 Andrew Pillet obtained a judgement for nearly $1 million against Steve Kendrick, and recorded an abstract against Kendrick family property near Lake Tahoe, a property already subject to two senior liens totaling over $1.8 million. In 2009 Mr. Pillet recorded an amended abstract against the property, which, with fees, costs and interest was now over $2 million, but still in third place.

In 2012, the property title was transferred to Mr. Kendrick’s three daughters, and in 2014 to an LLC.  Each transfer was made “subject to” Mr. Pillet’s substantial lien.  By then, according to Mr. Pillet, the property was worth almost $4 million, but at that time Mr. Pillet did nothing more to protect his interests in the property.

In 2017, unable to repay the liens, and with no equity in the property, the LLC defaulted and the holder of the senior liens foreclosed, wiping out Mr. Pillet’s substantial interest in the property.

In early 2018 – 13 years after obtaining his original judgment – Mr. Pillet enlisted notorious collection attorney David Cook (www.squeezebloodfromturnip.com), to again sue the Kendricks in San Francisco Superior Court for fraudulent conveyance of the property, seeking to set the 2012 and 2014 transfers. After enduring costly scorched-earth collection litigation for several months with no end in sight, Mr. Kendrick retained Commins & Knudsen.

Mr. Knudsen immediately recognized that Mr. Pillet could not have been harmed by the purportedly fraudulent transfers and on behalf of the Kendricks moved for summary judgment, which was granted.

Mr. Pillet appealed. Oral argument was on the morning of December 18, 2020. Mr. Pillet’s attorney used every minute of time for argument, even invoking legal precedent from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. But only a few hours after the argument, the Court of Appeal issued its opinion upholding the Superior Court’s ruling granting summary judgment.

Appellate Court Opinion [PDF]