Bethenny Frankel's Lawsuit with Notary

People who rely on the expertise of notary publics' expect that they will adhere to the laws that guide their profession. When a notary steps out of line, it is a breach of public trust. A messy lawsuit brought by a TV actress against a New York lawyer shows what can happen when a notary does not toe the line.

The suit was brought by Bethenny Frankel, one of the stars of TV's "Real Housewives," against Jamie Andrew Schreck, who was hired to sort out legal issues between Frankel and her ex, Jason Hoppy. The issue: Hoppy's mother, Carol A. Hoppy, a notary in Pennsylvania, was allowed to notarize documents related to property Frankel and Jason Hoppy owned together in New York. When the couple decided to part company, the deluxe Tribeca Apartment they had shared became one of a number of disputed issues. Carol Hoppy performed notary duties, illegally, on the trust instrument. Bethenny claims that Schreck should have known that the notarization was not legal and was responsible for preventing the situation. The illegal notary actions could invalidate the trust, causing all kinds of trouble, she claims.

Notarizing the documents in New York was a clear breach of Pennsylvania law surrounding notaries. The state law allows authorities to take several actions against notaries who do not conform, including filing criminal charges. No charges had been filed when a news article published in November 2016 outlined the problems.

The fact that the Bethenny/Jason standoff has been so high-profile in the news is an indication of the rarity of a notary breaching the trust that goes along with the job. It's rare, but it happens.