Category Archives: Bankruptcy

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Pre-Bankruptcy Automatic Stay Waivers – More Valuable Than Ever These Days?

In the very unusual period in which we find ourselves today, it seems to be common wisdom that an avalanche of commercial loan defaults is coming. As such, it is a good time to take a fresh look at the terms and provisions used in commercial workout documents, whether in a simple agreement that extends … Continue Reading

Individual Employs New Small Business Bankruptcy Law to Modify Mortgage

Small businesses often struggle to reorganize in bankruptcy. To address this issue, Congress passed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the SBRA). The SBRA took effect in February 2020 and makes small business bankruptcies faster and less expensive. The recent case of In re Ventura, 2020 WL 1867898 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 2020) addresses many … Continue Reading

Southern District of Texas Enters Temporary Restraining Order Extending PPP Loan Benefits to Debtor in Bankruptcy

In a potentially ground-breaking decision, Judge David R. Jones of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas temporarily enjoined the Small Business Administration (SBA) from denying a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to Hidalgo County Emergency Service Foundation due solely to its status as a Chapter 11 debtor in bankruptcy. While … 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

Congress’ Third Major Coronavirus Legislation Makes Bankruptcy Relief for Potential and Current Individual Debtors Easier

On Friday March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the third major piece of coronavirus-related legislation in the last several weeks – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The new law contains several amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. One of these amendments increases the maximum indebtedness for a “small business debtor” … Continue Reading

Federal Regulatory Agencies Offer Interagency Statement Regarding COVID-19-Related Loan Modifications and Status Reporting

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued an Interagency Statement on March 22 urging regulated financial institutions to work with borrowers affected … Continue Reading

Bankruptcy, Coronavirus (COVID-19), and How Retailers Can Brace for the Impact

The brick-and-mortar retail industry has been in a state of flux since online retailers such as Amazon started business in the mid-‘90s. Recent years have been particularly difficult for retailers: in 2018, retailers represented 5 of the 10 largest Chapter 11 bankruptcies. The pace of retail bankruptcies showed no signs of slowing in 2019, with … Continue Reading

HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac Suspend Foreclosures and Evictions for 60 Days

During a COVID-19 press briefing at the White House on March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will temporarily suspend “all foreclosures and evictions.” The president made this announcement to provide “immediate relief” to homeowners and renters struggling to make rent and mortgage payments. The president’s … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Ripple Effects Are Coming – Lenders Must Get Ready

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting businesses large and small. Now is the time for lenders to prepare for its effect on business borrowers. Industries Already in Distress In February, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report identified five industry sectors likely to see the greatest restructuring activity in 2020: Energy Retail Dining and food service Auto suppliers Specialty … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds That an Order on a Motion for Relief from Stay Is a Final, Appealable Order

In a unanimous opinion released last week, the Supreme Court provided guidance as to how to determine the finality of an order in a bankruptcy case for purposes of an appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 158(a). The Court held that the adjudication of a creditor’s motion for relief from stay is properly considered a discrete … 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

First Circuit Holds that Parents’ Tuition Payments for Adult Children Are Fraudulent Transfers

Recently, the First Circuit held that a parent’s tuition payments on behalf of an adult child do not benefit the parent’s bankruptcy estate, and a Chapter 7 trustee may therefore claw the payments back as fraudulent transfers. The concept underlying fraudulent transfer law is that, if a person cannot pay his debts in due course, … 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

The Small Business Reorganization Act – A New Subchapter for Small Businesses

Since the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, small business debtors have continued to struggle to reorganize effectively under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. On Friday, August 23, 2019, President Trump signed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 into law in an effort to address some of these issues. The act aims to … Continue Reading

The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019: Will the Increased Debt Limit Lead to an Uptick in Chapter 12 Filings?

The United States Senate passed the “Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019” (H.R. 2336), which substantially increases the debt limit for agricultural producers seeking to file for relief under Chapter 12 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The bipartisan legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June and is expected to be signed … 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

Where a “Fair Ground of Doubt” Can Create Comfort: Taggart v. Lorenzen

In a unanimous, and perhaps unsurprising, decision, the Supreme Court determined that a creditor may be held in civil contempt for violating the discharge injunction if there is “no fair ground of doubt” as to whether the creditor’s conduct was barred by the order placing that injunction.  The Supreme Court declined to adopt the standard … Continue Reading

Escrow Accounts and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Inherent Problems with Form B410A

The intersection of Chapter 13 bankruptcy and escrow accounts is complicated and confusing.  Since 2011, various bankruptcy rule and form changes have occurred in an effort to eliminate perceived problems with Chapter 13 escrow issues. This article explains how one of these changes – a revised version of a proof of claim attachment form – … Continue Reading

The Conundrum of Credit Reporting In and After Bankruptcy: Help May Be on the Way

Creditors and credit furnishers often find properly reporting a payment status to Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) during, and after, bankruptcy a challenge. The recent Report of the American Bankruptcy Institute on Consumer Bankruptcy recognizes those challenges, and looks to convene a forum to provide better guidance and clarity as to proper credit reporting once a … 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

Part IV: Navigating the Maze of Servicing Discharged Debt

Part IV: Modifications Post-Discharge Welcome to Part IV of our series on servicing discharged mortgage debt. This part will discuss modifying a borrower’s loan post-discharge. (If you missed Part I, Part II or Part III, go ahead and catch up.) Part III discussed the legal ambiguity surrounding loan modifications when the borrower discharges personal liability in … Continue Reading
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