Supreme Court to Hear Chapter 7 Lien Stripping Cases

Posted by NCBRC - November 17, 2014

The Supreme Court granted certiorari today in two of the three Chapter 7 lien-strip-off cases challenging the Eleventh Circuit decision in McNeal. Bank of Amer. v. Toledo-Cardona, No. 14-163 and Bank of Amer. v. Caulkett, No. 13-1421 (petition granted Nov. 17, 2014) (consolidated for argument) (Bank of Amer. v. Bello, No. 14-235 is still pending). In McNeal v. GMAC Mortg., 735 F.3d 1263 (11th Cir. 2012) pet. den. (May 20, 2014), the court bucked the trend to find that Dewsnup v. Timm, 502 U.S. 410 (1992), which held that a partially secured lien could not be stripped-down in chapter 7, did not apply to wholly unsecured liens. There are more than a dozen cases currently pending in the Eleventh Circuit challenging this decision, but, after an early abortive attempt to bring the issue before the Supreme Court (Bank of America v. Sinkfield, No. 13-700 (cert. denied, March 31, 2014)) the issue is now on track for final resolution. Briefing should be completed by March and argument is likely to be scheduled for the last week of March, with decision by June. The debtor is being represented by Stephanos Bibas, the Director of the Supreme Court Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.


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