Posted by NCBRC - June 28th, 2016
The Missouri Department of Social Services did not violate the discharge injunction by collecting on a debt that the bankruptcy court had deemed fully satisfied through the debtors’ successful completion of their chapter 13 plan. Missouri Dept. of Soc’l Serv. v. Spencer, No. 15-6030 (B.A.P. 8th Cir. June 13, 2016).
Michael and Patricia Spencer filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in which they listed a domestic and child support debt owed by Mr. Spencer to his ex-spouse. The Missouri Division of Child Support Enforcement (Division) filed a proof of claim on behalf of Mr. Spencer’s ex-spouse in the amount of approximately $36,000.00. Upon discovering that it had miscalculated the domestic support debt, the Division amended the proof of claim to over $88,000.00. When the Spencers objected to the amended proof of claim the bankruptcy court held a hearing and found that the original proof of claim was the one that should be allowed. The Division did not appeal this decision or object to confirmation of the plan providing for repayment of the original claim, nor did it object to discharge upon the debtors’ successful completion of their plan. After the discharge order was entered, the Division filed a withholding order with Mr. Spencer’s employer to collect past-due domestic support. Mr. Spencer moved the bankruptcy court for an order of contempt and sanctions. The bankruptcy court the Division willfully violated the discharge order and awarded sanctions and attorney’s fees. Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 24th, 2016
Two recent cases discussed the issue of whether wages subject to a pre-petition garnishment order but actually garnished within the 90-day preference period were part of the bankruptcy estate.
In Weinman v. Alternative Revenue Systems, Inc. (In re Stevens), No. 15-11776, Adv. Proc. No. 15-1340 (Bankr. D. Colo. March 23, 2016), the case was before the court on the Chapter 7 trustee’s and Alternative Revenue Systems’s (ARS) cross motions for summary judgment. Prior to the debtors’, Kwanza and Mindy Stevens, bankruptcy, ARS obtained a judgment against Mindy Stevens, and began garnishing her wages. Approximately three months after the Stevens received their chapter 7 discharge, the trustee brought an adversary proceeding against ARS arguing that two garnishments made within 90 days of the debtors’ bankruptcy were avoidable transfers under section 547. ARS countered that the relevant transfer date was the date the writ of garnishment was served on the employer rather than the date of each individual garnishment. Therefore, the transfer took place prior to the 90 day preference period. Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 22nd, 2016
A “cure and maintain” plan permits deceleration of the loan but does not allow a debtor to return to the pre-default interest rate. Anderson v. Hancock (In re Hancock), No. 15-1505 (4th Cir. April 27, 2016).
The Andersons purchased residential property from the Hancocks, financed in the amount of $255,000 by the sellers. The Andersons signed a thirty year note agreeing to pay $1,368.90 per month including interest payments at 5%. In the event of a default, the note provided that the interest rate would increase to 7%. The note also entitled the Hancocks to accelerate the loan. When the Andersons defaulted on the loan, the Hancocks imposed the default interest rate, notified the Andersons of acceleration of the loan, and instituted foreclosure. The debtors filed chapter 13 bankruptcy proposing to cure the arrears and maintain payments at the 5% interest rate through the life of the plan. The Hancocks objected to the plan on two bases. First, they argued that the calculation of arrears was too low because it was based on the pre-default interest rate. Second, they maintained that all future payments on the loan should be at the 7% interest rate. Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 17th, 2016
Where there was sufficient evidence to corroborate the debtor’s credible testimony of medical disability indicating likelihood of her inability to work in the future, the second prong of Brunner is satisfied even though there may be more or better corroborating evidence the debtor could have presented. Nightingale v. North Carolina State Educational Assistance Authority, 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 1667, No. 13-10834, Adv. Proc. No.13-2060 (Bankr. M.D. N.C. April 14, 2016). Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 14th, 2016
Finding no logical relationship between the debtor’s obligation to repay pre-petition overpayments and her entitlement to future social security benefits, a bankruptcy court in the eastern district of California denied the Social Security Administration’s request for recoupment. United States v. Angwin, No. 15-11120, Adv. Proc. No. 15-1080 (Bankr. E.D. Cal. April 5, 2016). Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 9th, 2016
In a sanctimonious opinion divorced from reality, devoid of compassion, and logically flawed, a district court for the Middle District of Alabama found that the debtor failed to establish a “certainty of hopelessness” with respect to future ability to pay off her student loans and directed the bankruptcy court to find the debts nondischargeable. ECMC v. Acosta-Conniff, No. 15-220 (M.D. Ala. May 2, 2016). Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 7th, 2016
Where the debtor’s asset was included in his chapter 7 schedules, the trustee certified in his Final Report that the estate had been fully administered, and the case was closed, the asset was abandoned. In re Robertson, 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 931, No. 14-20984 (Bankr. D. Utah, March 24, 2016).
Michael Lynn Robertson listed his breach of contract claim against Banner Bank (successor to Far West Bank) on his schedules when he filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy. The trustee communicated with counsel for both Mr. Robertson and Banner Bank but neither the trustee nor the Bank took any action with respect to the claim. The trustee filed his Report of No Distribution and the court closed the case, both actions accomplished by text entry. Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 2nd, 2016
The secured creditor violated the discharge injunction when it misapplied plan payments and then claimed default and late charges post-discharge. Scott v. Caliber Home Loans, 2015 WL 9986691, No. 09-11123, Adv. Proc. No. 14-1040 (Bankr. N.D. Okla. July 28, 2015).
When Patricia J. and Michael A. Scott filed their chapter 13 petition, the predecessor to Caliber Home Loans filed a claim for $180,527.66 with an arrearage of $19,073.96 and ongoing monthly payments of $1,414.19. The Scotts’ plan included paying off their mortgage arrears and maintaining their mortgage payments to Caliber. They made all their plan payments and prior to discharge, Caliber filed a Notice of Post-Petition Mortgage Fee, Expenses, and Charges of $2,061.82. The Scotts paid that amount through the plan. One month before discharge Caliber filed its Statement in Response to Notice of Final Cure Payment stating the debtors had cured the mortgage arrears and were current on their mortgage payments. The debtors received their discharge in March, 2014, and the trustee sent his Notice of Final Cure on April 21, 2014. On May 1, 2014, Caliber mailed a statement to the Scotts stating that they were delinquent in the amount of $3,139.97 for past due monthly payments and uncollected “Late Charges.” Caliber sent a notification that the Scotts were in default and that it had the right to undertake collection action including foreclosure. Read More
Posted by NCBRC - June 1st, 2016
A post-discharge settlement based on a medical device implanted in and removed from the debtor pre-petition was not part of the bankruptcy estate. In re Ross, No. 08-04-87445 (Bankr. E.D. N.Y. April 14, 2016)
At the time Barbara Ross filed her bankruptcy petition, there was no reason to believe the medical device was problematic and, in fact, at the time of the settlement, six years post-discharge, the debtor had suffered no injury as a result of the device. The settlement was provided out of surplus funds relating to the settlement of a class action lawsuit concerning a slightly different medical device. The trustee sought to reopen Ms. Ross’s chapter 7 bankruptcy under section 350, to administer the settlement as property of the estate under section 541. Read More
Posted by NCBRC - May 27th, 2016
Five Cuban nationals were arrested in Miami in connection with an ongoing tax scam. See Washington Post. The sophisticated scam involves scammers calling victims on the telephone, often using Voice Over Internet Protocol that makes the caller ID appear to be the IRS, falsely identifying themselves as IRS agents, and demanding money for taxes owed. The callers insist that money be wired immediately, recently demanding that the victims pay using iTunes gift cards, or the victim will be subject to arrest. When they call, they claim to have the victim’s tax return and they seek further personal information.
The suspects are accused of tricking 1,500 victims into paying a total of $2 million. This is the “largest and most pervasive” scam the IRS has faced in 30 years and is thought to have taken in approximately 6,400 victims overall and netted criminals $36.5 million.
The scammers were tracked down following a tip that came into the Senate Aging Committee’s fraud hotline last year. The call led fraud investigators to uncover the identity of some of the suspects through Walmart surveillance tapes. Christian Science Monitor. The suspects have been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The IRS advises victims receiving such calls to hang up immediately. For more information, call the IRS information line at 1.800.829.1040. To report scams contact TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484 or visit the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” form on their website.