Alexandra Dugan

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Alex Dugan focuses her practice on representation of debtors and secured creditors in Chapter 11 cases, out-of-court workouts, reorganizations, restructurings and liquidations. Her practice spans a wide range of industries including bank and non-bank lenders, investors in distressed assets, legal, automotive and commercial real estate. She also practices in the firm’s Financial Services group, with an emphasis on consumer bankruptcy issues regarding residential mortgages. View articles by Alex

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Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: COVID-19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act Extends Various CARES Act Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code

Last March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) made several changes to the Bankruptcy Code, including those changes discussed in more detail here. As it became clear that we would be dealing with COVID-19 for much longer than previously anticipated, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: Secured vs. Unsecured Claims

Bankruptcy is primarily about “claims.” The debtor seeks to discharge personal liability on claims, while creditors seek payment on their claims. In basic terms, a bankruptcy “claim” is a right to payment. The claim does not need to be fixed, settled, undisputed, or due at the time the debtor files his bankruptcy petition. The official … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: How to File a Proof of Claim 101

You just heard that a customer has filed for bankruptcy — what do you do now? One of the first steps is to determine whether you should file a proof of claim. How will I be alerted about the bankruptcy? When a bankruptcy case is filed, the debtor is required to list all of his … Continue Reading

5 Key Takeaways from Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics, Part 1

We hope that you’re enjoying Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics. Are there topics you’d like to read more about? Please email Elizabeth or Alex; we’re always interested to hear what content you’d like to see in future months. Below are five key takeaways from our first month of Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: 1. The early bird gets the … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: 5 Significant (if Temporary) Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we cross the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, we reflect on the multiple amendments to the Bankruptcy Code that have been implemented to help curb the effects of various economic shutdowns and financial hardships caused by the coronavirus. These Bankruptcy Code amendments are only temporary, but Congress is considering extending them to facilitate … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy — Consumer Bankruptcy with a Payment Plan

Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides relief only to individuals with regular income. This Chapter is most frequently used by debtors who have sufficient disposable monthly income to make some payments over time to their creditors. Chapter 13 debtors frequently have enough equity in their residence that, if they were to file for Chapter 7, the residence … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: Chapter 11 Bankruptcy — Reorganization

Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases are most frequently filed by businesses. However, certain high-earning individuals whose debts are above the statutory debt limits to qualify for Chapter 13 can also file for Chapter 11 relief. In Chapter 11 cases, the debtor retains control of its operations as a debtor in possession (DIP) and has the benefits … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy — Liquidation

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are straight liquidations sought by debtors who wish to have most or all of their debts discharged. In Chapter 7 cases, the Chapter 7 trustee obtains control over the debtor’s assets and evaluates whether any equity exists that would offset the costs of selling those assets. If the bankruptcy estate will … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: The 6 Key “Players” in Bankruptcy Cases

Bankruptcy cases differ from typical lawsuits in a variety of ways, including the parties involved. Whereas standard lawsuits generally involve a plaintiff and a defendant, bankruptcy cases have a different cast of “players,” including the debtor or debtor in possession, creditors, the bankruptcy trustee (i.e., Chapter 7 trustee, Chapter 13 trustee, etc.), committees, and the … Continue Reading

Bradley’s Bankruptcy Basics: A Multimedia Series

Bankruptcy. The arrival of that notice stating a customer has filed for bankruptcy can evoke less-than-ideal responses: forwarding the notice to someone else who might know what to do with it (resulting in the notice ending up in a forever loop of being forwarded along); immediately writing off the account and cutting your losses; or, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds Mere Retention of Bankruptcy Debtor’s Property Is Not a Violation of the Automatic Stay but More Questions Remain

For the past few years, the federal circuit courts have struggled with the issue of whether a creditor retaining possession of bankruptcy estate property violates the automatic stay. For example, is a creditor required to automatically turn over a vehicle as soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed, or can the creditor retain possession of … Continue Reading

Four Significant Changes to Consumer Bankruptcy Included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA 2021). Similar to the March 2020 CARES Act, several temporary changes to the Bankruptcy Code are included in Title X of the CAA 2021. Below, we examine four of the CAA 2021’s most significant changes to consumer bankruptcy laws. These changes are temporary … Continue Reading

Top 10 Changes to Consumer Bankruptcy Proposed in the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020

On December 9, 2020, Congressional Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), proposed sweeping legislation that would overhaul consumer bankruptcy law. The proposed changes generally make it easier for consumers to access the bankruptcy system and discharge their debts. Below is a discussion of 10 critical changes proposed in the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform … Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit Agrees with the Fifth Circuit – Private Student Loans May be Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

The 10th Circuit has joined several circuit courts holding that private student loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy. In McDaniel v. Navient Solutions, a case of first impression in the 10th Circuit, the court concluded that an educational loan does not constitute “an obligation to repay funds received as an educational benefit” under Section 523(a)(8)(A)(ii) of … Continue Reading

Having Trouble with CARES Act Forbearances in Ch. 13 Bankruptcy? You’re Not Alone!

Guest Author: Karlene A. Archer of Karlene A. Archer Law P.L.L.C. Consumers that have pending Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases undoubtedly suffered from financial hardship prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of those consumers, the pandemic may have exacerbated that hardship. The CARES Act’s mortgage forbearance provisions allow some breathing room for consumers that anticipate … Continue Reading

Bankruptcy Court Rejects Brunner “Myth” and Discharges $220K in Student Loan Debt

Chief Bankruptcy Judge Cecelia Morris in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District recently reinterpreted Brunner’s “undue hardship” test and discharged over $220,000 in student loan debt. This opinion reflects a marked departure from a series of cases interpreting Brunner, a case that has guided the analysis of student loan dischargeability for over 30 years. … Continue Reading

5th Circuit Joins the Growing Crowd Holding that Private Student Loans May be Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

The Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Crocker v. Navient Solutions is a stark reminder to for-profit student lenders and servicers that bankruptcy caselaw continues to evolve relating to discharge. In Crocker, the Fifth Circuit joined the trend of cases holding that private student loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy. More specifically, the court affirmed a bankruptcy … Continue Reading

The Split Widens: Third Circuit Joins Minority View Regarding Whether Secured Creditor Has Affirmative Obligation to Return Collateral to Debtor Upon Bankruptcy Filing

The circuit courts continue to wrestle over the duties imposed by the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay on creditors concerning turnover of a debtor’s impounded vehicle. Is a creditor required to automatically turn over the vehicle as soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed, or can it retain possession while awaiting an order of the bankruptcy … Continue Reading

Navigating ADA Compliance Issues in an Online World

The landscape remains murky as to whether and how Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites. As the financial services industry moves increasingly and inexorably from a “bricks and mortar” presence to a virtual environment, these issues are likely to only become more prominent. With differing authority from courts across … Continue Reading

Student Loans in Bankruptcy: What’s on the Horizon?

Federal law has long excepted student loans from discharge in bankruptcy in all but the rarest instances, recognizing the problems (and costs) associated with allowing borrowers to wipe out defaulted debts through a bankruptcy filing. However, as the issues of access to college and affordability become frequent topics in political discourse, new ideas for radical … Continue Reading

The ABI Commission’s Final Report on Consumer Bankruptcy Issues: What Mortgage Creditors Need to Know

We previously provided you with some of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy’s recommendations to improve the consumer bankruptcy system. As the commission noted, changes in bankruptcy law occur slowly. The last major amendments to the Bankruptcy Code were in 2005, and the last major amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules were in 2011. … Continue Reading

The City Has My Vehicle. What Now?

Chicagoans have found a new avenue through which to regain possession of their vehicle after it has been impounded by the City:  file a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. In 2018, 17,603 new chapter 13 bankruptcy cases were filed in the Northern District of Illinois. By comparison, in 2018, the Middle District of Florida, one of … Continue Reading

ABI Commission’s Final Report on Consumer Bankruptcy Issues, What Creditors Need to Know

The American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy  released its Final Report and recommendations on April 12, 2019. The commission was created in 2016 to research and develop recommendations to improve the consumer bankruptcy system. During its review, the commission focused on new trends regarding how Americans are incurring debt. At the conclusion of its … Continue Reading

The New Prepaid Rule is Here. What Now? Bradley to Hold April 23 Webinar

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) new Prepaid Rule went into effect on April 1, 2019. At a high level, the Prepaid Rule amends portions of the Truth in Lending Act and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act by extending a number of credit card-like protections to “prepaid accounts”: pre-acquisition and initial disclosures, change in terms … Continue Reading
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