Chip Parker is the managing partner of Parker & DuFresne, P.A., where he represents Northeast Florida businesses and consumers facing bankruptcy, and homeowners facing foreclosure. His firm files more homeowners in the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program than any other law firm in Northeast Florida.

Parker is the recipient of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid's prestigious Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service. Mr. Parker is an active member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.

 

Author: Chip Parker, Esq.

15 Dec The Jacksonville bankruptcy bar loses a good man

The Jacksonville bankruptcy bar has lost an honorable advocate for creditor rights. Sadly, Raymond Magley, Esquire of Smith, Hulsey & Busey passed away on Friday, December 10th after fighting brain cancer since being diagnosed this past January. He was 50 years old.

When things heat up in Jacksonville bankruptcy court, trustees here often turned to Ray Magley to represent them. More than any other creditor lawyer over the last two decades, I have argued (and sometimes heatedly) with Ray about bankruptcy law and the rights of creditors and debtors.

Dealing with Ray was a double-edged sword. He was extremely clever but kind. Ray’s knowledge of creditor rights was tremendous, and I knew that if he got involved in one of my bankruptcy cases, my client was going to have to pay some money. Though squarely a creditor's lawyer, he was popular with the debtor bar as well, even serving as President of the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association.

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15 Nov You can surrender your underwater house in full satisfaction of the first and second mortgages in Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Recently, Jonathan Ginsberg explained that second mortgage holders often pursue their unsecured claim after the first mortgage takes the house in foreclosure. In the wake of the largest meltdown of real estate in history, many homeowners are sitting on second mortgage time bombs. Once the first mortgage company takes the property, the potential exposure to the second is tremendous – especially if it is securing investment property. If the second mortgage lender chooses, it can sell the debt to a company that will harass or even sue the debtor, or it can choose to file a Form 1099(c) with the IRS which will create dollar-for-dollar income if the property is not the debtor’s home. Many times, the best strategy for an underwater homeowner with assets to protect is to surrender the collateral (the house) in full and final satisfaction of the debt owed on the first and second mortgages in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy BEFORE the house is sold at foreclosure.
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15 Oct Foreclosure Court taints the legacy of Florida’s Senior Judges

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="188"] Senior Judges need a nap[/caption] Judges are put in a position to shape their communities for decades, and Florida’s Circuit Civil Judges are no different. They decide extremely critical issues facing Floridians ranging from real estate development to the death penalty. They create new families through adoption and end broken families through divorce. At some point in a judge’s career, he (or she) begins to think about the legacy he leaves behind, and when a judge retires, he reflects upon his body of work and hopes that his unbiased rulings helped shape his community for the best.
Don’t count on it.
Yes, there are those judges who truly believe that they must uphold the rule of law, and they are easy to spot. They are deliberate and struggle with each issue. They scrutinize sworn witnesses in an attempt to ascertain the truthfulness of their testimony, and they patiently listen to and absorb the finely tuned arguments of lawyers. They are human, but they sincerely try to put aside their preconceived opinions in an honest attempt to rule on the merits of the case.
I have had the distinct pleasure of being beaten by better lawyers before judges who just flat disagreed with my legal arguments. I walk away from those cases dejected but satisfied that society is better off for having resolved a question of law, even if I lost. However, nothing rips the idealistic heart out of a lawyer like a judge who KNOWS he is ignoring the law, and nothing angers an idealistic lawyer more than a rigged system of justice, especially when the result is destroying faith in democratic justice and the community at large.
Now, just imagine how I feel about an entire band of retired Florida judges who have sold their integrity and legacy to the American Bankers Association. These rocket docket judges follow a pre-stated agenda, not the law, in ramming foreclosure cases through the newly created “Foreclosure Division.”
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15 Sep Debt collectors using auto-dialers face BIG fines

The average consumer debt collector employee places 200 collection calls per day or 50,000 calls per year! How do they make so many calls? Most use a technology known as autodialing, even though the use of an autodialer by a collector often violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The penalty for violating the TCPA is HUGE – Every illegal phone call carries with it a $500 penalty, and if the collector knows he is violating the Act, the penalty is tripled! As the name implies, an auto-dialer is a sophisticated computer system that constantly and continuously dials numbers on collection accounts. When someone answers the phone, the computer immediately delivers the call to a collector, and the account pops up on the collector’s monitor. So, if you are behind in your bills, you (and your family and your employer) are getting calls from your debt collectors – a lot of calls! Not every call using an autodialer is illegal. Most notably, a consumer debt collector can call a debtor at home using an autodialer. However, the following two acts violate the TCPA if an autodialer is used:
  • Making a collection call to a cell phone belonging to the debtor or any third party
  • Making a collection call to any telephone number not belonging to the debtor
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07 Feb Chip Parker discusses walking away from your home on First Coast Connect

As the managing partner of the largest foreclosure defense firm in Northeast Florida and the only practicing attorney on Jacksonville’s Foreclosure Task Force, members of the media often contact me for my opinion foreclosure issues. Last week, I appeared on local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, WJCT, to discuss “homeowner walk-away” with the host of First Coast Connect, Melissa Ross. Joining me were two Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Lawyers, Allison Albert and James Millard. Recently, There has been much talk about homeowners making the strategic decision to walk away from houses that are now way “underwater,” meaning that the home value is far lower than the principal balance owed. This is especially relevant in the hardest hit foreclosure states – Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada. I have consistently advised my clients that the best way to deal with their foreclosure is as a purely dispassionate business decision, realizing how difficult it is to look at a home with cold eyes and think of it only as an investment. Many homes represent more than just a place to park the car - homes symbolize marriage, childbirth, coming of age, retirement and death.
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31 Jan Parker & DuFresne contributes $5,000 to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid

North Florida’s most needy citizens turn to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid for free legal assistance in all consumer matters. JALA operates on a shoestring budget and relies directly upon the government funding, volunteer services and private financial contributions. For years, Parker & DuFresne has taken cases pro bono through JALA’s attorney referral program, and we currently represent dozens of homeowners in bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases free of charge. Our firm is proud of our partnership with JALA, and as further commitment to “providing a wealth of justice for those who have neither,” Parker & DuFresne has recently contributed $5,000 to JALA’s considerable task.
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