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Showing 6 posts in Bankruptcy.

Creditors Beware: Collection of Debt Based on Unreasonable Belief/Understanding That the Debt Was Not Discharged in Bankruptcy Might Lead to a Finding of Civil Contempt

In Taggart v. Lorenzen, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' Order, which affirmed the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's Order vacating civil contempt sanctions against Bradley Taggart's ("Bradley") creditors for violation of a Bankruptcy Court discharge Order. On certiorari to the Court, the central issue was to determine "what the appropriate criteria should be for a Court to hold a creditor in civil contempt for attempting to collect a debt that a discharge order has immunized from collection." And, SCOTUS adopted an objective standard, which creditors should be mindful of going forward. More ›

A Reminder for Borrowers: Post-Discharge Communications by Creditor Must Coerce or Harass in Order to Violate Bankruptcy Law

In Kirby v. 21 Mortg. Corp., the First Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel examined the Kirbys' claim that the 19 written communications they received from their mortgage holder following their Chapter 7 discharge violated the Bankruptcy Code 524(a)(2)'s injunction. The Kirbys further claimed bankruptcy discharge violations arising from their mortgage holder's delivery of an escrow account disclosure, short sale letter, cash-for-keys letter, and right to cure notice for a total of 26 post-discharge bankruptcy communications. Below, we take a closer look at the decision and its comprehensive review of bankruptcy discharge law along with the process for determining whether a post-discharge correspondence violates the bankruptcy code's injunction. More ›

Despite Acceleration of Debt Through Prior Dismissed Foreclosure Action, Bankruptcy Petition Tolls Statute of Limitations on Subsequent Action

In Lubonty v. U.S. Bank National Association, a mortgagor sought to void a mortgage loan claiming that the six-year statute of limitations to foreclose had expired. The mortgagor had commenced multiple bankruptcy proceedings that trigged automatic stays and prevented foreclosure from proceeding for approximately four and a half years. New York law, CPLR § 204, extends the statute of limitations "[w]here the commencement of an action has been stayed by a court or by statutory prohibition," and the trial court held that the six-year statute of limitations was extended by the time period during which the foreclosure was stalled through successive bankruptcy petitions. More ›

No Surrender: Massachusetts Appeals Court Preserves Foreclosure Challenges for Bankruptcy Petitioner

Like Bruce Springsteen, a Massachusetts bankruptcy debtor said "no surrender" when it came to his home. In EverBank v. Chacon, a panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a non-binding decision that a debtor's "surrender" of real property in a bankruptcy petition does not waive defenses to an eventual foreclosure. EverBank had foreclosed on Mr. Chacon's home mortgage, acquired the property at the sale, and then sought to evict him through summary process action filed in Massachusetts state court. Mr. Chacon claimed that that EverBank did not comply with a HUD regulation that requires a face to face meeting prior to foreclosure rendering the foreclosure void. More ›

Supreme Court Watch: Debt Collector Filing Bankruptcy Proof of Claim for Time-Barred Debt Avoids FDCPA Liability

What does the United States Supreme Court's decision issued earlier this week in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson mean for debt collectors? It means that debt collectors may file proofs of claim in a debtor's bankruptcy on time-barred debt without risk of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In Johnson, a debt collector filed a proof of claim in bankruptcy court for a debt that was outside the six year statute of limitations, the bankruptcy court dismissed the claim as time-barred, and the debtor filed a separate, subsequent lawsuit arguing that the claim was misleading in violation of the FDCPA. The Eleventh Circuit agreed concluding that filing proofs of claim on time-barred debt amounted to false and misleading conduct. More ›

Franz Kafka, Sisyphus, and Foreclosures: Bank of America Fined $45 Million by Bankruptcy Court For Violation of Automatic Stay

"Franz Kafka lives. This automatic stay violation case reveals that he works at Bank of America." Thus begins an opinion stretching over 100 pages in length in which United States Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein fined Bank of America over $45 million for what he found to be an egregious violation of the automatic bankruptcy stay.

According to the order, the Sundquists, at the behest of advice given them by Bank of America, defaulted on their real property loan in 2009 so that they could be considered for a loan modification. The court found that this was followed by a "'multi-year 'dual tracking" game of cat-and-mouse" by Bank of America, which included repeated requests for information which had grown stale and incomprehensible denials of applications. Most central to the court's holding was that, although the Sundquists filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in June 2010, Bank of America proceeded with a foreclosure sale even though it had notice of the Sundquists' bankruptcy case. Clearly meaning to send a signal which would be heard in the bank's highest offices (in addition to Kafka, the opinion also references the myth of Sisyphus and the Watergate scandal), the court was clearly moved by the emotional distress documented by the plaintiffs (which included discussions of suicide attempts). More ›

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