Thursday, December 20, 2018

Amendments to Bankruptcy Laws Effective December 1, 2018

All In Favor?

It seems like the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are amended every year at the recommendation of an advisory committee since 2006 after the last major change in bankruptcy laws in 2005.  For 2018, there were some meaningful amendments, however, unlike previous years, the changes will not effect my clients much, in that the amendments dealt with, for the most part, appeal and electronic filing laws. 

So, how does all this happen?  The amendments address issues identified by a committee, called an Advisory Committee.  The committee is made up of federal judges, bankruptcy attorneys, and others. The rule amendments are approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Key Rule Amendments Have A Certain Appeal. This year almost all of the rule amendments are fairly technical.  If you are a bankruptcy rules geek, like myself, then you will want to read the following:
  • Rule 3002 has been amended to address procedures for handling payment changes in home equity lines of credit in consumer cases.
  • Rule 5005 has been amended to require electronic filing absent good cause and to make that a national rule. As the Advisory Committee commented, “Electronic filing has matured” and “The time has come to seize the advantages of electronic filing by making it mandatory in all districts, except for filings made by an individual not represented by an attorney.” Almost all filings are electronic now anyway so this is more of the rule reflecting current practice than requiring actual changes.
  • Rule 7004(a) has been tweaked to pick up the accurate cross-references to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.
  • Rule 7062 applies Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62 to adversary proceedings but clarifies that the stay of proceedings to enforce a judgment is only for 14 days in an adversary proceeding and not the 30 days in a district court case.
  • Rule 8002 has been amended to clarify, among other items, time requirements for filing a notice of appeal.
  • Rule 8006 now allows the bankruptcy court to file a statement on the merits of direct certification to the court of appeals when the parties make a joint certification.
  • Rules 8007 and 8010 discard the term “supersedeas bond” and instead use “security provided to obtain a stay of judgment” to account for changes to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.
  • Several rules, including Rules 8011, 8013, 8015, 8016, and 8022 have been amended to reflect electronic filing and to limit the size of briefs using word counts rather than page limits.
  • Rule 8017 has been revised to address amicus briefs and their potential impact on the disqualification of a judge.
  • Rule 8018.1 has been added to allow a district court to treat an appeal from a bankruptcy court judgment — if the district court concludes the bankruptcy court lacked constitutional authority to enter the judgment — as proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.
  • Rule 9025 has been revised to reflect the different types of security for appeals and their providers.
 I know, for most people this is not very exciting stuff.  If you would like to know more about the amendments or have any specific questions, I suggest you contact your local bankruptcy attorney.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Public Service Announcement from FBI: Foreign Cyber Actors Target Home and Office Routers and Networked Devices Worldwid


The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers power cycle (reboot) the devices. Foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide. The actors used VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers. The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.

Please see for the complete bulletin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Debts Incurred By Trickery or Deception; In re: Jonathan M. Morris (Judge Glenn)

As you know, all debts are not necessarily dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Here is one that you may not have thought of that involves "deception or trickery" where an employee had a conflict with between his employer, and his personal company that was in the same business.

In re: Jonathan M. Morris, a chapter 7 case with Judge Glenn dated May 8, 2018:

[T]he Court finds that the Debtor incurred a debt to Rimrock by deception or trickery, and by misappropriating a business opportunity that had been entrusted to him by Rimrock. Consequently, the debt is nondischargeable in the Debtor's Chapter 7 case pursuant to § 523(a)(2)(A) and § 523(a)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code.

The case can be found at

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Are Debt Relief Agencies SCAMS?

I am often asked if debt relief companies are legit.  I just tell them to be careful, as while some are legitimate, other may not be.  All you have to do is check the FTC web site which is full of scam companies.

A recent post listed the following companies as defendants in a FTC investigation:

The corporate defendants are Financial Freedom National Inc., formerly known as (f/k/a) Institute for Financial Freedom Inc. and Marine Career Institute Sea Frontiers Inc., also doing business as (d/b/a) 321 Loans, Instahelp America Inc., Helping America Group, United Financial Support, Breeze Financial Solutions, 321Financial Education, Credit Health Plan, Credit Specialists of America, American Advocacy Alliance and Associated Administrative Services; 321Loans Inc., f/k/a 321 Loans Inc., also d/b/a 321Financial Inc.; Instahelp America Inc, f/k/a Helping America Team Inc., also d/b/a Helping America Group; Helping America Group LLC, f/k/a Helping America Group Inc.; Breeze Financial Solutions Inc., also d/b/a Credit Health Plan and Credit Maximizing Program; US Legal Club LLC; Active Debt Solutions LLC, f/k/a Active Debt Solutions Inc., also d/b/a Guardian Legal Center; Guardian LG LLC, also d/b/a Guardian Legal Group; American Credit Security LLC, f/k/a American Credit Shield LLC; Paralegal Support Group LLC, f/k/a Paralegal Staff Support LLC; and Associated Administrative Services LLC, also d/b/a Jobfax.

Relief defendants that profited from the scheme are JLMJP Pompano LLC; 1609 Belmont Place LLC; 16 S H Street Lake Worth LLC; 17866 Lake Azure Way Boca LLC; 114 Southwest 2nd Street DBF LLC; 110 Glouchester St. LLC; 72 SE 6th Ave. LLC; Fast Pace 69 LLC; Strategic Acquisitions TWO LLC; Halfway International LLC, also d/b/a 16 H.S. Street 12Plex LLC, 311 SE 3rd St. LLC, 412 Bayfront Drive LLC, 110 Glouchester St. LLC, 72 SE 6th Ave. LLC, 114 SW 2nd Street JM LLC, 8209 Desmond Drive LLC, and HLFP LLC; Halfway NV LLC, also d/b/a Halfpay International LLC; and Nantucket Cove of Illinois LLC.

Keep in mind, this is just one posting.  Are there others?  Absolutely.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

National Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Decline

Ever since 2010, when bankruptcies peaked, filings have been declining.  If you enjoy seeing statistics on bankruptcy filings, you can click on the link below to see an overview from 2006 through 2017 highlighting the trends in non-business bankruptcy filings.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

In re: O'Steen: Debtor not denied 727 Discharge

Lafayette State Bank, Plaintiff,
John Riley O'Steen, d/b/a Riley O'Steen Dairy, Ashley Koon O'Steen, Defendants.

Case No. 3:14-bk-4766-PMG, Adv. No. 3:15-ap-393-PMG. United States Bankruptcy Court, MD Florida, Jacksonville Division.

Bank seeked a judgment denying the Debtors' discharge pursuant to § 727(a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4), (a)(5), and (a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code, and determining that the debt owed by the Debtors to the Bank was not dischargeable in the Chapter 7 case pursuant to § 523(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code.

A fundamental goal of the Bankruptcy Code is to provide a debtor with a fresh start. Consequently, denial of a debtor's discharge is an extraordinary remedy, and exceptions to discharge should be construed in favor of the debtor and against the objecting party. The burden is on the objecting party to prove the objection by a preponderance of the evidence. In re White, 568 B.R. 894, 909-10 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2017).,10,253,254,255,262,263,264,265,266,267,325&as_vis=1&oi=scholaralrt

OBJECTION to Discharge: Who Has The Burden

A fundamental goal of the Bankruptcy Code is to provide a debtor with a fresh start. Consequently, denial of a debtor's discharge is an extraordinary remedy, and exceptions to discharge should be construed in favor of the debtor and against the objecting party. The burden is on the objecting party to prove the objection by a preponderance of the evidence. In re White, 568 B.R. 894, 909-10 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2017).