Showing 43 posts by Laura J. Genovich.
The Bankruptcy Code grants a trustee (or a debtor in possession) certain “avoidance” powers to recover payments to creditors made shortly before a bankruptcy filing where the payment gave the creditor more than other, similarly situated, creditors would receive through the bankruptcy process.
In a recent case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan (the “Court”), the Court considered whether a payment made by a Chapter 7 debtor to her son in advance of the debtor’s bankruptcy filing was “preferential” and thus subject to recovery by the Chapter 7 trustee. Read More ›
Bankruptcy Court Sanctions Lawyer, But Appeals Court Reverses and Rules that Lawyer’s Aggressive Advocacy Did Not Cross the Line
In a recent case, a lawyer was sanctioned by an Ohio bankruptcy judge for his conduct in connection with an adversary proceeding he brought on behalf of a client against a Chapter 7 debtor. The lawyer was vindicated, though, after the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Sixth Circuit (the “BAP”) reversed the bankruptcy court on appeal. Read More ›
Bankruptcy is a process that permits people to discharge debts, but not all debts are dischargeable. In a recent opinion, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (the “District Court”) reversed a U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (the “Bankruptcy Court”) ruling that a state court criminal restitution claim is dischargeable. Read More ›
Students have taken on more than $1 trillion in debt to pay for the relentlessly rising costs of higher education. With that much debt outstanding, it’s no surprise that there are increasing numbers of borrowers defaulting on student loan debt, and seeking to discharge that debt by filing for bankruptcy protection. But, as a Wisconsin man recently learned, discharging student loan debt in bankruptcy is no easy feat. Read More ›
On June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Bank of America v. Caulkett, No. 13-1421, together with Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona, No. 14-163, holding unanimously that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor cannot “strip off” a junior lien.
Lien stripping takes place when there are two or more liens on a property, and the senior lien is “underwater” in that the amount owed on the senior lien is greater than the value of the property. In a Chapter 13 case a property owner can strip off the junior lien, resulting in it being treated as unsecured debt in the bankruptcy.
In these cases, the Court held that a Chapter 7 debtor may not void a junior lien under 11 U.S.C. § 506(d) when the debt owed on a senior lien exceeds the current value of the collateral if the junior creditor’s claim is both secured by a lien and allowed under § 502 of the Bankruptcy Code. Read More ›
Check out this webinar on our YouTube channel to identify common mistakes that lenders make before and during consumer bankruptcy cases – and how to avoid those mistakes to better protect the lender's rights and collateral.
The Right Way to Execute a Writ: Bankruptcy Court Decision Explains the Mechanics of Collecting a Judgment in the Western District of Michigan
In litigation, obtaining a judgment is step one. Step two – often as, if not more, difficult than winning a lawsuit – is collection. In a short, interesting Memorandum of Decision and Order (the “Decision”), Judge Dales of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan (the “Bankruptcy Court”), writes about some of the practical and legal considerations involved with pursuing collection of a bankruptcy court judgment. Read More ›
Sixth Circuit Reverses Bankruptcy Court Decision to Disallow Chapter 7 Debtor's Amendment to Exemptions
While Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers individuals a fresh start and discharge from many debts, it doesn't come without a price. Property of the debtor becomes property of the estate and is used to pay creditors.
But not all of it. Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code lists exemptions that debtors can use to exempt property - up to a certain dollar amount in value - from the estate. The purpose of exemptions is to ensure that the individual debtor is able to maintain a basic standard of living post-bankruptcy. But because there are very few assets available for creditor recovery beyond exempt property in many bankruptcy cases, the propriety of a debtor's claimed exemptions is an issue that is oft-litigated.
Such was the case in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the "Sixth Circuit") arising from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case that was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Read More ›
It has often been said that you should never do business with friends or family. A bankruptcy court decision that was recently affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is further evidence of this proposition. Read More ›
Two of the most difficult and stressful legal processes that individuals participate in are divorce and bankruptcy proceedings. Unfortunately, as lives are upturned and finances stretched, one often closely follows the other.
Such was the case in a recent case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan.
A husband and wife (both Michigan residents) used equity from property owned by the wife - prior to and during the marriage - to finance a roofing repair business started by the husband in Florida. To accomplish this, the wife quit-claimed her interest in the property to herself and the husband. They then refinanced the property and borrowed $200,000 from the lender. The loan funds were used to pay off the wife's original mortgage on the property ($120,000), pay down the husband's credit card debt and fund the new business.
They then agreed that the husband would make monthly mortgage payments on the new loan until the payments equaled the amount of the original mortgage - $120,000. They subsequently refinanced the loan with two new lenders. Shortly thereafter the husband's business failed, and the husband and wife started divorce proceedings in 2011. Read More ›