Craig W. Andresen is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 22 years’ experience in consumer and small business bankruptcy cases. He is the Minnesota chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Mr. Andresen lectures often on the topic of consumer bankruptcy at local and national legal seminars.

 

Author: Craig Andresen, Minneapolis, MN, Bankruptcy Attorney

13 Jan Texas Bankruptcy Court Upholds Attorney-Client Privilege for Bankuptcy Debtors

485424742_aa3739630b_mIn re McDowell, No. 12-31231 (Bky.S.D.Tex. Nov. 16, 202), involved a married couple who filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. After the U.S. Trustee filed a motion seeking dismissal of the case under section 707(b), the debtors filed an amended Schedule I, listing different figures for some of their living expenses. The U.S. Trustee then filed a motion requesting that the debtors turn over copies of all documents and notes used in the preparation of their bankruptcy case filing. The debtors opposed this motion, responding that attorney-client privilege, and the doctrine of attorney work product, protected the documents from being disclosed to the U.S. Trustee. Three documents were at issue: first, the Client Information Worksheet used by the law firm representing the debtors; second, the Schedule F listing the debtors' creditors and filled out mostly by hand by the debtors; and third, the Schedule F with the lawyer's handwritten notes for each creditor. The court noted that for the attorney-client privilege to apply, the communicationmust have (1) been made to a lawyer, (2) for the purpose of obtaining legal services or advice, and (3) with the intent that the communication be confidential.
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30 Dec Retirement Account Contributions Allowed for Under-Median Income Chapter 13 Debtors: More on In re Parks

A state of Washington bankruptcy court decided that chapter 13 debtors with household incomes that are below their state's median income levels can continue making contributions to 401(k) and other retirement accounts. In re Bruce, No. 11-40939-BDL (Bky.W.D.Wash. Dec. 11, 2012), held that the Ninth...

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09 Nov Student Loans: “When You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging,” Appeals Court Agrees

The Eighth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel upheld a lower court's ruling discharging $204,525.00 in student loans, despite the lender's argument that the debtor could have continued her education and sought higher-paying employment as a chiropractor. Shaffer v. U.S Department of Education, No. 12-601o (8th Cir.BAP Oct. 30, 2012), involved an unmarrieddebtor in her mid thirties who filed chapter 7. She started her undergraduate education at the University of Northern Iowa in 1994, and later enrolled at Iowa University, obtaining a degree in psychology in 2002. Afterward, sheattended Kirkwood Community Collegeoff and on, in order to qualify under her parents' health insurance. In 2007, the debtor enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine, but she left after thirteen months after concluding that her student loan debt was insurmountable. The debtor also suffered from depression, eating disorders, self harm in the form of cutting, and anxiety. In 2008 she commenced employment at a women's health clinic, but left one year later. She next worked as an accounts receivable specialist at a different employer, but left after depression caused her to take two leaves of absence, believing she was about to be fired.
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29 Oct Chapter 13 Debtor Not Required to Include Monthly Social Security Benefits in Chapter 13 Plan as Projected Disposable Income

The U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, recently held that a bankruptcy debtor's chapter 13 plan is not required to take Social Security benefits into account in calculating monthly"projected disposable income" under section 1325(b)(1). The court also held that it was not bad faith to...

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05 Sep Appeals Court Decision Against Chapter 13 Lien Stripping Not What It Seems

The U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, recently issued its ruling in Woolsey v. Citibank, No. 11-4014 (10th Cir. Sept. 4, 2012), holding that under bankruptcy code section 506(d), a chapter 13 debtor may not "strip off" a completely unsecured junior mortgage against homestead real...

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