Bankruptcy Judge Stephen D. Gerling Retires Today in the Northern District of New York

28 Feb Bankruptcy Judge Stephen D. Gerling Retires Today in the Northern District of New York

Today, after 23 years as Bankruptcy Court Judge in the Northern District of New York, Utica Division, Judge Stephen D. Gerling retires from the bench.

Judge Gerling graduated from Niagara University in 1964 and received his law degree from St. John’s University in 1967. He served as a military police officer in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. Before being appointed as bankruptcy judge in 1985, Gerling worked as an assistant Oneida County Attorney, special town attorney for his hometown of Whitestown, and served as assistant counsel to the New York State Assembly speaker. He was appointed Chief Judge for the Northern District of New York Bankruptcy Court in 1994.

Judge Gerling is well known for his intricate knowledge of each case that comes before him. Often, he was more knowledgeable about the case and the legal issues it presented than were the attorneys arguing before him.

The Judge treated attorneys who appeared in his court with respect, although he was not shy about expressing his opinions.  After the changes to the bankruptcy law went into effect in 2005, Gerling often wondered aloud from the bench why Congress tinkered with the way Chapter 13’s worked.

Although the Judge presided over many Chapter 11 cases, he never lost touch with the unique circumstances of the typical Chapter 7, 13 and especially Chapter 12 Debtors.

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
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