NACBA Weighs in on Chapter 7 Lien Stripping

Posted by NCBRC - February 27, 2015

NACBA has filed an amicus brief seeking affirmance of the Eleventh Circuit decisions in the consolidated cases of Bank of Amer. v. Toledo-Cardona, No. 14-163 and Bank of Amer. v. Caulkett, No. 13-1421 (filed Feb. 23, 2015), adding its voice to the discussion of lien stripping in chapter 7 cases. The brief, authored by David R. Kuney, argues that section 506(a) values liens according to the worth of the collateral, and section 506(d) renders liens void to the extent that they have no value. The Supreme Court ruling in Dewsnup v. Timm, 502 U.S. 410 (1992), prohibiting strip-down of partially secured liens has been improperly extended to find that wholly unsecured liens cannot be stripped off in chapter 7. In Dewsnup the Court took pains to make clear that its decision was limited to the facts before it. The brief asks the Court to reconsider, or at least limit, its holding in Dewsnup to the extent that it turns on whether the underlying claim has been disallowed rather than on whether the lien is supported by value. The brief urges the Court to adhere to the reasoning in Nobelman v. American Sav. Bank, 508 U.S. 324 (1993) and United States v. Ron Pair Enter., Inc. 489 U.S. 235 (1989) ,which confirm that the starting point for treatment of secured claims is section 506(a). The “statutory and constitutional authority to modify, extinguish or avoid secured debts, even without full payment of the face amount of the debt, is in harmony with the economic reality that a lien is only as valuable as the collateral that underlies it.”

CaulkettToledoCardona SCt NACBA brief


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