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Showing 67 posts by Patricia J. Scott.

Sixth Circuit Affirms Holding that Contributions to a 401(k) Plan Made More than Six Months Prior to Bankruptcy Cannot be Excluded from Disposable Income

401k File FolderThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled in a case involving a Chapter 13 debtors’ attempt to shield contributions to a 401(k) retirement account from “projected disposable income,” therefore making such amounts inaccessible to the debtors’ creditors.[1] For the reasons explained below, the Sixth Circuit rejected the debtors’ arguments. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 13

Sixth Circuit Upholds Chapter 13 Debtor’s Right to Request and Receive Dismissal of Bankruptcy Case

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Form with GavelA statute must be interpreted and enforced as written, regardless, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, “of whether a court likes the results of that application in a particular case.” That legal maxim guided the Sixth Circuit’s reasoning in a recent decision[1] in a case involving a Chapter 13 debtor’s repeated filings and requests for dismissal of his bankruptcy cases in order to avoid foreclosure of his home. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 13

Supreme Court Holds that “Mere Retention” of Estate Property After Bankruptcy Filing Doesn't Violate the Automatic Stay

Automatic Stay File with GavelOn January 14, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court decided City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton (Case No. 19-357, Jan. 14, 2021), a case which examined whether merely retaining estate property after a bankruptcy filing violates the automatic stay provided for by §362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code. The Court overruled the bankruptcy court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in deciding that mere retention of property does not violate the automatic stay.

Case Background

The City of Chicago (the “City”) impounded respondents’ vehicles for failure to pay fines for motor vehicle infractions. Thereafter, each respondent filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition and requested the return of their vehicle. The City refused to return the vehicles, and the bankruptcy court in each case found the City’s refusal to be a violation of automatic stay. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, concluding that by retaining possession of the debtors’ vehicles after they declared bankruptcy, the City had acted “to exercise control over” the debtors’ property in violation of the automatic stay. Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, Chapter 13, U.S. Supreme Court

Are Funds Received as the Beneficiary of an IRA Property of the Estate in Bankruptcy?

IRA BeneficiaryWhen an individual files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the debtor’s non-exempt assets become property of the estate that is used to pay creditors. “Property of the estate” is a defined term under the Bankruptcy Code, so a disputed question in many cases is: What assets are, in fact, available to creditors? Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan, Estate Planning

Michigan Updates and Expands its Receivership Act

Property KeysA new amendment was recently enacted in Michigan which expands the scope of receivership proceedings, which are a liquidation alternative to bankruptcy. Previously, the receivership statute in Michigan applied only to receiverships over commercial real estate. Now it is applicable to all operating businesses in Michigan, and commercial and industrial loans irrespective of whether real estate collateral is involved. Read More ›

Categories: Alerts and Updates

Sixth Circuit: Creditor did not Violate Chapter 7 Discharge Injunction While Negotiating Release of Lien

FinancesOnce a Chapter 7 debtor receives a discharge of personal debts, creditors are enjoined from taking action to collect, recover, or offset such debts. However, unlike personal debts, liens held by secured creditors “ride through” bankruptcy. The underlying debt secured by the lien may be extinguished, but as long as the lien is valid it survives the bankruptcy. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 7

Sixth Circuit Rules that Monthly 401(k) Contributions can be Excluded from “Projected Disposable Income” Under a Chapter 13 Plan

Saving for RetirementA Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan requires a debtor to satisfy unsecured debts by paying all “projected disposable income” to unsecured creditors over a five-year period. In a recent case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the “Sixth Circuit”), the court grappled with whether a Chapter 13 debtor’s wages that are contributed to an employer-sponsored retirement plan are considered disposable income under the Bankruptcy Code.[1] Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 13

Who is a “Non-Statutory Insider” for Purposes of Determining Whether a Payment Was Preferential in Bankruptcy?

Man at DeskOne of the objectives of the Bankruptcy Code is to ensure that each class of creditors is treated equally. And one of the ways that is accomplished is to allow the debtor’s estate to claw back certain pre-petition payments made to creditors. Accordingly, creditors of a debtor who files for bankruptcy are often unpleasantly surprised to learn that they may be forced to relinquish “preferential” payments they received before the bankruptcy filing. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Order Granting or Denying Request for Relief from Automatic Stay is Final Order that is Immediately Appealable

A party who believes that a bankruptcy court erred in either granting or denying relief from the automatic stay needs to act fast to appeal such a decision. In the recently decided case of Ritzen Group, Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court held that: “[A]djudication of a motion for relief from the automatic stay forms a discrete procedural unit within the embracive bankruptcy case” which “yields a final, appealable order when the bankruptcy court unreservedly grants or denies relief.” Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 11, Collections, U.S. Supreme Court

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds No Breach of Contract or FCRA Violation in Connection with Late Payments Under a Reaffirmation Agreement

In bankruptcy, a debtor must relinquish assets to satisfy debts. But there are exceptions to this general rule. Certain assets may be exempted from a debtor’s bankruptcy under federal and state law. Other assets, which are subject to a contractual loan agreement and the security interest of a lender, may be “reaffirmed” by a debtor pursuant to a reaffirmation agreement. The debtor may keep the asset, such as a house or a car, as long as the debtor enters into a new agreement with the lender that reaffirms the debt according to defined contractual terms, which may or may not track the original loan terms. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Billing/Payment, Chapter 7, Collections