Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization.

Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues.

Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps.

Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others.

Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country.

Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.

 

Author: Brett Weiss, Esq.

17 Apr Involuntary Bankruptcy and the Credit Counseling Conundrum

A recent discussion with another lawyer raised an interesting question: Has BAPCPA eliminated involuntary bankruptcies against individuals? This is because of the interacting requirements of 11 U.S.C. §§ 303(a) and 109(h). Section 303(a) of the Bankruptcy Code (unchanged from pre-BAPCPA) states: "An involuntary case may be commenced only under Chapter 7 or 11 of this title, and only against a person...that may be a debtor under the chapter under which such case is commenced." (Emphasis added.) BAPCPA added new explicit requirements for being an individual debtor in § 109(h): "[A]n individual may not be a debtor under this title unless such individual has, during the 180-day period preceding the date of filing of the petition by such individual, received from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency...credit counseling…" (Emphasis added.) In other words, if the proposed involuntary debtor does not first take a pre-petition credit counseling course, he or she cannot be a debtor...and thereby cannot have an involuntary petition filed against them!
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16 Apr New Maryland Means Test Decision: In re Watson

The Chief Judge of the Maryland Bankruptcy Court, Duncan Keir, has just issued an opinion on several important Means Test issues in In re Watson, BR No. 06-1-1948 DK. A copy may be found on the Court's website at http://207.41.17.84/frmAnswer.aspx?qTarget=Opinion. This Chapter 13 case involved two Means Test questions: (1) Could a debtor with no liens on his cars claim both the ownership and operation expenses on the Form 22 for those cars? (2) Should the Court restrict its confirmation analysis to the final number shown on Form 22, or may it also take into account other evidence regarding the Debtor’s income and expenses at the time of confirmation.
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30 Mar What Can I Keep In a Bankruptcy?

One of the first questions I'm usually asked by a potential client in financial trouble is, "I can't file for bankruptcy—if I do, I'll lose everything!" Not true. Not even close to true. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, people keep everything they own—their home, their cars, their furniture, their retirement, and even the money in their bank account.
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14 Mar Why is the “Subprime” Mortgage Market Collapsing?

Anyone who's read the newspaper, looked at a business magazine or watched the news has heard about the problems in the "subprime" mortgage market. This is the area of the financial product industry (as it's now called) that makes loans to folks who have some credit problems. Defaults on subprime loans are at an all-time high, with over 14% more than 30 days past due. Subprime mortgage lenders such as ResMae Mortgage, New Century Financial and Accredited Home Lenders have filed for or appear to be headed for bankruptcy, and even the big Wall Street lenders such as Citibank and Goldman Sachs, who funded subprime lenders, are feeling the heat. Congress is looking into passing new legislation restricting subprime loans (about five years too late, in my opinion). Many theories are circulating about how matters reached this point. As I see it, the nut of the problem is that in subprime lending--indeed, in nearly all mortgage lending these days--no one in the process has an interest in making a loan that the borrower can actually repay. In fact, there are significant incentives in loaning more money than the borrower can afford. Look at who has a finger in this pie:
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