March 2012

28 Mar Bank Of America Sanctioned For Discharge Violation

Bankruptcy Judge Arthur B. Briskman recently smacked Bank of America to the tune of $12,500.00 for violating a debtor's discharge. The award included $2,500.00 in attorney's fees. Shockingly, Bank of America did not attend the evidentiary hearing set by the Court. However, even if they did attend, I doubt there was much they could have done to prevent Judge Briskman from imposing the same sanction. Doinga little research, this is obviouslynot the first time getting smacked for the bank. Based upon the pleadings in the record and the evidence presented at the hearing, it was obvious that Bank of America was well aware that the debtors not only filed for bankruptcy protection, but that they had received a copy of the discharge as well. Post-Discharge, the debtors received approximately thirty-eight (38) phone calls. The testimony at trial was that agents of Bank of America stated that they didn't really care about the bankruptcy and that they would keep calling until the computer system was updated.
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27 Mar Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is Like Chapter 13 on Steroids!

I have been filing Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases in the upstate New York for over 20 years. Due to the many financial difficulties dairy farmers have been having over the past few years, I started filing more Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies. There are very few farm bankruptcy filings compared to Chapter 7’s and 13’s, but in many ways they are so much more effective for the farmers who are forced into seeking the relief of a Chapter 12. For one thing, the other players in the bankruptcy system seem to respect the farmers more than they sometimes do with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 debtors. The judges are well aware of the daily hard work they must do to keep their farms going, and the financial risk they take due to unpredictable weather. For example, we had a 15 degree hard frost last night after an extended period of 75 degree heat opened up the buds of the fruit trees. In my experience, even most creditors, especially FSA/USDA, try to accomodate reasonable plans and requests of farm debtors. The trustee also loves Chapter 12’s. We are especially fortunate here because our trustee is both Chapter 12 and 13 trustee, and is the current president of the Chapter 12 Trustee association. Most Chapter 13 trustees earn a set salary, but those that are also Chapter 12 trustees earn additional personal income on top of their Chapter 13 income. In fact, when the last Chapter 12 & 13 trustee in our district became a Bankruptcy Court Judge, he actually took a decrease in pay! Many struggling farmers learn about farm bankruptcy
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