Category: Law Reviews & Studies

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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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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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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Law Review: Eraslan, Hulya et al.- The Anatomy of U.S. Personal Bankruptcy Under Chapter 13

Abstract:

By compiling a novel data set from bankruptcy court dockets recorded in Delaware between 2001 and 2002, the authors build and estimate a structural model of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This allows them to quantify how key debtor characteristics, including whether they are experiencing bankruptcy for the first time, their past-due secured debt at the time of filing, and income in excess of that required for basic maintenance, affect the distribution of creditor recovery rates. The analysis further reveals that changes in debtors’ conditions during bankruptcy play a nontrivial role in governing Chapter 13 outcomes, including their ability to obtain a financial fresh start.… Read More

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Mann, Ronald: Bankruptcy and the U.S. Supreme Court (Cambridge University Press 2017)Mann, Ronald: Bankruptcy and the U.S. Supreme Court (Cambridge University Press 2017)

Summary:

Through the lense of cases,  Prof.  Mann examines how the Supreme Court has interpreted Bankruptcy Code in recent decades, positing that while bankruptcy cases are not among the “big questions” that attract the attention of law clerks and the media, they are not quite the “dogs” of the  Supreme Court docket that tax cases might be.  P.  2.  Using the briefs, news archives and the available papers of the Justices themselves, Prof.  Mann concludes that the Supreme Court decisions are “replete with back-and-forth negotiations about the precise wording of opinions, changes of position after the initial decision and substantial changes in doctrinal approach over time.”

From this Prof. … Read More

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Law Review: Twomey, Tara & Maynes, Todd- Protecting Nest Eggs and Other Retirement Benefits in Bankruptcy

Abstract:
For debtors facing financial distress in the twilight of their working years or beyond, bankruptcy’s promised fresh start may depend more on preserving retirement assets and benefits than returning to economic productivity. Even for those in the prime of their working years, losing retirement assets can represent a major lifelong setback. As a result, the question of whether consumer debtors can keep all or part of their retirement assets and benefits is a critical consideration. This paper surveys the intersection between the Bankruptcy Code and the preservation of retirement assets and benefits before and after the 2005 amendments to the Code.… Read More

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Law Review: Jiménez, Dalié- Dirty Debts Sold Dirt Cheap

Debt Buyer keeps naggin’ at you night and day
Enough to drive you nuts
Pick up the phone, leave me alone
It’s time you made a stand.

Paraphrase of AC/DC- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Abstract:

More than 77 million Americans have a debt in collections. Many of these debts will be sold to debt buyers for pennies, or fractions of pennies, on the dollar. This Article details the perilous path that debts travel as they move through the collection ecosystem. Using a unique dataset of 84 consumer debt purchase and sale agreement, it examines the manner in which debts are sold, oftentimes as simple data on a spreadsheet, devoid of any documentary evidence.… Read More

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Urban Institute Studies: Debt in America and Delinquent Debt in America

Debt in America Abstract:

Debt can be constructive, allowing people to build equity in homes or finance education, but it can also burden families into the future. Total debt is driven by mortgage debt; both are highly concentrated in high-cost housing markets, mostly along the coasts. Among Americans with a credit file, average total debt was $53,850 in 2013, but was substantially higher for people with a mortgage ($209,768) than people without a mortgage ($11,592). Non-mortgage debt, in contrast, is more spatially dispersed. It ranges from a high of $14,532 in the East South Central division to a low of $17,883 in New England.… Read More

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Law Review: Gotberg, Brook- Conflicting Preferences: Avoidance Proceedings in Bankruptcy Liquidation and Reorganization

Abstract:

The law of preferential transfers permits the trustee of a bankruptcy estate to avoid transfers made by the debtor to a creditor on account of a prior debt in the 90 days leading up to the bankruptcy proceeding. The standard for avoiding these preferential transfers is one of strict liability, on the rationale that preference actions exist to ensure that all general creditors of the bankruptcy estate recover the same proportional amount, regardless of the debtor’s intent to favor any one creditor or the creditor’s intent to be so favored. However, preference law also permits certain exceptions to strict preference liability and gives the estate trustee discretion in pursuing preference actions.… Read More

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