Month: November 2017

Bankr. M.D.N.C.: In re Calloway- Domestic Support Obligations and Good Faith in Chapter 13

Summary:

Ms. Calloway divorced Mr. Bowles and shortly before a final judgment was entered in their equitable distribution proceeding, she filed Chapter 13. Just prior to Ms. Calloway’s bankruptcy filing, the state court judge circulated a preliminary ruling to the parties via email, stating that he believed an unequal distribution of the marital assets in favor of Mr. Bowles would be equitable and that Ms. Calloway would be required was to pay a total of $50,514 by means of monthly payments of $300, due to the her liquidation of two retirement accounts, which had a total value of roughly $31,000. Additionally, since their separation, Ms.… Read More

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Bankr.  M.D.N.C.: In re Price- Separate Classification of Student Loans in Chapter 13Bankr.  M.D.N.C.: In re Price- Separate Classification of Student Loans in Chapter 13

Summary:

The Prices, who are above median income debtors, but nonetheless have negative projected disposable monthly and no non-exempt assets, proposed an estimated 15% dividend to the class of dischargeable general unsecured creditors, which totaled $11,728.38.  They also proposed to separately classify the  $10,463.48 claim by Navient for non-dischargeable student loans.  The Chapter 13 Trustee supported confirmation, but the Bankruptcy Administrator filed a limited objection to such treatment.
The bankruptcy court first addressed whether the prohibition in  §1322(b)(1) against “unfair discrimination” in favor of one class of unsecured creditors was applicable as  §1322(b)(5) allows the a plan to cure and maintain payments on “any unsecured claim … on which the last payment is due after the date on which the final payment under the plan is due.”  While recognizing a split in opinions on this question, the court held that since §1322(b)(5) specifically applies despite the limitations in §1322(b)(2), it does not similarly explicitly override the “unfair discrimination” restrictions in §1322(b)(1). … Read More

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Law Review: Cohen, Lawless and Shin- Opposite of Correct: Inverted Insider Perceptions of Race and Bankruptcy

Abstract:

Previous data collected during the 2007 meltdown of the subprime mortgage market showed that African Americans were approximately twice as likely to file chapter 13 bankruptcy than persons of other races, a significant policy issue given the generally less generous rules in chapter 13. We first update and replicate these findings with new data collected during 2013 2014 as the housing market recovered. Results of the original study were not specific to the subprime crisis as the new data showed the same 2:1 racial disparity as the older data, suggesting that this disparity may be a relatively enduring part of the U.S.… Read More

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E.D.N.C.: Myrick v.  Equifax- Duty to Investigate Credit Report Dispute and Bankruptcy Discharge

Summary:
Mr.  Myrick brought suit against Equifax under the FCRA for willfully failing to verify the discharge of a debt in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy.   In light of Daughterty v.  Ocwen Loan Servicing, the district court reconsidered its previous grant of summary judgment and instead found that Equifax had in its possession “records that would have enabled it to confirm the status of the … account through an identified source, i.e., PACER.”   Instead, there was a factual issue of “whether Equifax conducted a reasonable investigation by limiting its efforts to confirming the disputed information” with the creditor and not checking PACER or elsewhere.… Read More

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Law Review: Hermann, Jonathan S.- Restoring Bankruptcy’s Fresh Start

Abstract:

The discharge injunction, which allows former debtors to be free from any efforts to collect former debt, is a primary feature of bankruptcy law in the United States. When creditors have systemically violated debtors’ discharge injunctions, some debtors have attempted to challenge those creditors through a class action lawsuit in bankruptcy court. However, the pervasiveness of class-waiving arbitration clauses likely prevents those debtors from disputing discharge injunction violations outside of binding, individual arbitration. This Note first discusses areas of disagreement regarding how former debtors may enforce their discharge injunctions. Then, it examines the types of disputes that allow debtors to collectivize in bankruptcy court.… Read More

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Law Review: Sousa, Michael D.- The Persistence of Bankruptcy StigmaLaw Review: Sousa, Michael D.- The Persistence of Bankruptcy Stigma

Abstract: 
The debtor-creditor relationship has always been intertwined with notions of morality. Failing to pay one’s financial obligations has traditionally been met with social opprobrium, internal shame, and external stigma. This dynamic did not change with the advent of American bankruptcy law. Indeed, for much of the twentieth-century, scholars have studied and debated whether the stigma associated with filing for bankruptcy has declined over the years, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s when the number of consumer bankruptcy filings increased dramatically. Existing studies suggest that the stigma regarding personal bankruptcy has declined in the latter portion of the twentieth-century.
Using a data set previously untapped by bankruptcy and social science scholars, this study explores the trend of bankruptcy stigma for approximately four decades, from the advent of the Bankruptcy Code in 1978 to the present day.… Read More

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Bankr. E.D.N.C.: In re Hamilton-Conversano- Nonfiling Spouse Income; § 707(b)(3) Smell Test

Summary:

Ms. Hamilton-Conversano filed Chapter 7 without her husband. Other than the couple’s secured debts, Mr. Conversano had no debts of his own and Mrs. Hamilton-Conversano had one American Express card, with a balance of $46,669.52, which they had jointly used to pay for all household expenses.

In completing her Means Test, Ms. Hamilton-Conversant took a “marital adjustment” to her husband’s contribution to her Current Monthly Income including $417.86, for the full monthly cost of their child’s private school. The Bankruptcy Administrator argued in that the private school contribution, even though made by the non-filing spouse, was capped by statute at $160.42.… Read More

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E.D.N.C.: Baum v.  Baum- Date of Separation and New Debts for Nondischargeability under §523(a)(15)

Summary:
On appeal from the bankruptcy court decision in Baum v.  Baum, the district court reviewed whether debts between separated spouse are discharged under 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(15), which  provides, that a debtor shall not be discharged from a debt:

(15) not of the kind described in paragraph (5) [dealing with alimony, maintenance and child support] that is incurred by the debtor in the course of a divorce or separation or in connection with a separation agreement, divorce decree or other order of a court of record, or a determination made in accordance with State or territorial law by a governmental unit;

First, the district court agreed with the bankruptcy court that while the parties were “informally” separated, sleeping in different rooms, at the time the debts were incurred, under North Carolina law separation requires a “cessation of cohabitation.”  Secondly, the district court also held that §523(a)(15) requires the creation of new debts. … Read More

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Bankr. E.D.N.C.: In re Hector- Accounting for Income, Expenses and Household Size under 11 U.S.C. § 707(b) with Domestic Partner

Summary:

Ms. Hector, a realtor with income subject to fluctuation dependent on sales, filed Chapter 7, but did not include her Domestic Partner in her household size nor any income contribution, as their finances and expenses were neither commingled nor shared. Ms. Hector did not assist her Domestic Partner with housing expenses, but did pay all for all groceries and cleaning supplies for both. As such, Ms. Hector claimed deductions for housing and utility expenses on the Means Test. The Bankruptcy Administrator sought to dismiss the case, arguing that those were inapplicable and left sufficient disposable income to pay unsecured creditors.… Read More

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Law Review: Taylor, Aaron & Sheffner, Daniel – Oh, What a Relief It (Sometimes) Is: An Analysis of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petitions to Discharge Student Loans

Law Review: Taylor, Aaron & Sheffner, Daniel – Oh, What a Relief It (Sometimes) Is: An Analysis of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petitions to Discharge Student Loans

Abstract:

Conventional wisdom dictates that it is all-but-impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. This contention, however, misstates the fact that bankruptcy discharge of student loans is possible—and it happens. This Article presents a statistical analysis of what happened when Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitioners in the First and Third federal judicial circuits filed 523(a)(8) adversary proceedings—or proceedings to discharge their student loan debt due to an “undue hardship.” In our analysis, we found undue hardship discharge rates of 54% in the First Circuit and 24% in the Third Circuit.… Read More

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