BAP10 Accepts Electronic Filings

The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Tenth Circuit will accept electronic filing of pleadings starting today.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is expected to follow suit soon.

To participate in electronic filing, attorneys must register for an Appellate ECF login and password with the PACER Service Center and wait for the Court to respond.  This is login is different from the one used in bankruptcy court electronic case filing.  You may sign up for all participating circuit courts and bankruptcy appellate panels with one login, however.

For more information, you may contact the PACER Service Center or call (800) 676-6856.

Kansas Bankruptcies Climb 8% in 2008

Bankruptcy filings increased eight percent in Kansas during 2008, a smaller increase than the 33% national increase seen in most of the country.  A total of 8712 cases were filed here, about 69% as chapter 7 cases for individuals or married couples.  Nationally, 1,064,927 consumer bankruptcy cases were filed in 2008.

Topeka saw slightly more chapter 13 cases than chapter 7 cases in 2008.  Chapter 13 is a reorganization plan for individuals. [Read more…]

Check Out Bankruptcy Law Network and Sister Sites on Mortgages, Debt and Credit

I invite you to read about consumer bankruptcy law at Bankruptcy Law Network. It has been my pleasure to join 24 bankruptcy lawyers and consumer advocates from around the country in writing blog posts for BLN, which has become, in less than two years, the premier Internet site for consumer bankruptcy law information.

The American Bar Association Journal has nominated BLN as a Top 100 Blawg in the niche category.  BLN regularly tops the list of most popular bankruptcy blogs compiled by the ABA Journal.

We also collaborate on the sister blog sites:  Mortgage Law Network, Credit Law Network and Debt Law Network.

Pets Abandoned in Hard Times

People struggling financially are making tough choices and are being forced to give up their pets.  Almost daily people are bringing dogs and cats they can no longer care for to the Topeka animal shelter.

Recently a man brought in two skinny dogs, saying he couldn’t afford to feed them. “He had to feed his kids first,” an intake worker at the Helping Hands Human Society told the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The shelter is filling up with dogs and cats [Read more…]

Conversion Moots Negative Equity Case

Court watchers will have to wait for another case to find out how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit will rule on the so-called negative equity issue.   The Court dismissed the appeal in In re: Hunt, No. 07-3297, as moot after the debtor converted his case from chapter 13 to chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The ruling disappointed the creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A, which urged the Court to proceed with the appeal despite the conversion.  The Court ruled against the creditor saying the existence of other cases on the same legal issue and the desire for binding appellate authority was not sufficient reason to make an exception to the mootness doctrine. Courts are required dismiss a case when a controversy no longer exists. [Read more…]

Mortgage Creditor Denied Bankruptcy Attorneys Fees

A mortgage creditor may not include attorneys fees in its chapter 13 bankruptcy proof of claim unless the loan documents expressly allow creditor attorneys fees for bankruptcy proceedings, Judge Janice Miller Karlin ruled this week.

U.S. Bank Home Mortgage relied on the “do and pay whatever is necessary to protect the value of the Property and Lender’s rights in the Property,” language, typical of promissory notes and mortgages, to add $350 in attorneys fees to its proof of claim in the debtor’s chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.

If [Debtors] fails to make these payments or the payments required by paragraph 2, or fails to perform any other covenants and agreements contained in this Security Instrument, or there is a legal proceeding that may significantly affect [U.S. Bank’s] rights in the Property (such as a proceeding in bankruptcy,for condemnation or to enforce laws or regulations), then [U.S. Bank] may do and pay whatever is necessary to protect the value of the Property and Lender’s rights in the Property, including payment of taxes, hazard insurance and other items mentioned in paragraph 2. [Read more…]

One Million Bankruptcies and Climbing

Bankruptcy filings topped the one million mark for the first time since most of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act  BAPCPA) went into effect October 17, 2005.  That is a whopping 30% increase across the nation!  Kansas filings increased almost 12% during the same time period.

The Administrative Office for the U.S. Courts statistics show 1,042,993 bankruptcy cases were filed for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008. Kansas cases totaled 8,642. About 3% of the Kansas filings had predominantly business debts. [Read more…]

Attorneys Attend Kansas City Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Mortgage Seminar

In our never ending quest to stay current on developments in bankruptcy law, Mark Neis and Jill Michaux attended an all-day seminar in Kansas City on a new court rule for paying delinquent mortgages through a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan Friday.

Nationally recognized  speakers were O. Max Gardner III of Shelby, NC; Debra L. Miller, Chapter 13 Northern District of Indiana; and Lance E. Olsen, managing partner of Routh Crabtree Olsen, PS, of  Bellevue, WA.

Renown bankruptcy attorney Gardner is an expert predatory home mortgage servicing and a trainer teaching an army of lawyers to fight mortgage abuses at the Max Gardner Bankruptcy Boot Camps.  He has been recognized as a Champion of Consumer Rights by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.  [Read more…]

Bankruptcy Law Network Top 100 Blawg

American Bar Association Journal editors voted the Bankruptcy Law Network Top 100 Blawg for 2008.  Our own Jill A. Michaux is one of 25 lawyers who blog on consumer bankruptcy topics for Bankruptcy Law Network, the most comprehensive online source for consumer bankruptcy information.

BLN authors also write for its sister sites:  Mortgage Law Network, Credit Law Network and Debt Law Network.

GAP Insurance Not In Car Lender's PMSI

GAP insurance, service contracts, administrative fees and the traded-in car payoff are not part of a car lender’s purchase-money secured claim in chapter 13 bankruptcy and can be crammed-down if the car is worth less than the loan balance, Judge Janice Miller Karlin ruled this week in In Re Miller, Case No. 08-40935, (Bankr. D.Kan. December 2, 2008).

Judge Karlin suggested the ruling may be different for service contracts in a future case if the creditor convinces her the contract enhances the value of the vehicle.  Creditors have the burden of proof to establish their purchase money security interest (PMSI) claim, she said.

Non-PMSI charges are still part of the creditor’s secured claim and must be paid in chapter 13 bankruptcy up to the value of the car. A debtor must pay the entire PMSI to retain a car even if the amount is greater than the car’s value if the loan was incurred within 910 days of bankruptcy. [Read more…]

New Kansas Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharge Procedure Proposed

A new procedure for issuing chapter 13 bankruptcy discharges and administratively closing the cases is being considered in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas.  Here is a summary of the procedure from the minutes of the September 17, 2008, Bench and Bar Committee:

  • About six months before anticipated plan completion the Chapter 13 Trustees will file a Notice of Plan Approaching Completion.
  • If no Financial Management Certificate has been filed by Debtors, the Court’s case management computer software (CM/ECF) will send a notice to Debtor and Debtor(s)’ counsel reminding them that the Financial Management Certificate must be filed prior to making the last payment in a Chapter 13 plan. [Read more…]

Kansas Bankruptcy Court Proposes Local Rules Changes

Amendments to the local rules of practice and procedure are proposed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas about post-confirmation recovery of assets by the chapter 13 trustee, proof of insurance on motor vehicles, required information for attorney signatures on pleadings, and cases commenced by foreign representatives.

The Court is soliciting written comments on the proposed local rules until December 1, 2008.  Comments may be sent to the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 444 SE Quincy, Topeka, KS 66683, or at the clerk’s office in the Wichita and Kansas City, KS, divisions.

Click here to download a redlined copy of the proposed revisions.  Minutes of the Bench and Bar Committee, which recommends the proposed changes, can be found here on the court’s website.

Bailout No Help for Kansas Home Borrowers

Legislation that would have allowed for bankruptcy court-supervised loan modifications in some limited circumstances, sometimes called lien stripping, was stripped from the Wall Street bailout bill in Congress this weekend after protests from the mortgage bankers.  The Center for Responsible Lending had predicted that the proposed legislation would have resulted in 3,587 fewer Kansas homes lost in foreclosure and $96 million in home values and tax base saved. [Read more…]

New Mortgage Payment Rule Clarified

New Standing Rule 08-01 for ongoing mortgage payments through the 13 trustee in Kansas applies to all chapter 13 banrkuptcy cases filed on or after October 1, 2008.  Debtors in cases filed earlier will not be subjected to the new rule even if they subsequently become delinquent on their home mortgage payments.

The Hon. Janice Miller Karlin, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Kansas, Topeka Division, issued the following statement last week after polling all the Kansas bankruptcy judges: [Read more…]

New Address for KCK Chapter 13 Payments

Effective October 1, 2008, all chapter 13 payments to William H. Griffin Trustee must be mailed to PO Box 613106, Memphis TN 38101.

Payments to Griffin, the standing chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee for cases filed in Kansas City, Kansas, will no longer be accepted in person at Griffin’s office in Fairway, at meetings of creditors or at court hearings.  All payments must be mailed to the Memphis lock box.

Griffin is not moving his office.  He is changing banks to Suntrust Bank.

New Rule: Chapter 13 Mortgage Payments Through Trustee

The Kansas Bankruptcy Court adopted a new rule requiring chapter 13 debtors behind on mortgage debts when the bankruptcy case is filed to be paid through the trustee.  The rule goes into effect for cases filed on or after October 1, 2008.

Proponents of the new rule say the chapter 13 trustee records will aid the court in protecting debtors from charges for inappropriate fees and from false allegations of nonpayments.  Opponents of the new rule object to the chapter 13 fee (up to 10%) added to the to the mortgage payments, creating additional financial hardship for debtors.