January 21, 2010
Short Article on Justice GinsburgColumbia Law School Magazine.
January 20, 2010
Mesereau Legal Clinic
Hello Students & Fellow Alums
I am a 2003 UWLA graduate and the Executive Director for the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic. The Mesereau Free Legal Clinic is a subsidary of the Mesereau Community Legal Foundation, a CA corporation.
I am extending to all students and alum the opportunity to come out and share your legal expertise, brush up on client intake or for students to obtain the opportunity to interview clients in all areas of law.
As most may know, Thomas Mesereau was Michael Jackson and Robert Blake's attorney. However, Mr. Mesereau spends most of his time at this clinic or traveling to Alabama to represent capital offense clients "pro-bono".
Tom is very passionate about his work with the disenfranchised, working poor and the like that cannot afford top notch legal representation. He is always eager to share his knowledge with students and attorneys willing to assist in the clinic.
Our clinic offers seminars and discussions on various legal & relevant topics. For instance, this past week we had Brian T. Dunn of the Cochran firm provide a discussion on "Excessive Force Abuse Lawsuits against Police Departments."
Upcoming will be more discussions by our Judge series such as Judge Groman speaking on Dependency & Delinquency, Judge Escobedo speaking on How to present your case in court" then Judge Doyle on criminal actions. These are just a few areas that we will be covering this year in our clinics.
We also provide Criminal Record Cleaning:"Expungement" where we assist those in need of clearing their criminal record in order to get jobs and become a productive citizen. We have and will continue to provide MCLE throughout the year in various substantive areas of law to licensed attorneys.
So why don't you check out our website at www.mesereaufreelegalclinic.com which will have our various clinic dates and feel free to email me through the clinic (email address below).
If you are available come on out this Saturday January 23, 2010 otherwise we will be open again on the 30th.
Again, I invite each of you to take advantage of this great opportunity.
Best to All
Sophia E. Harris, J.D.
Mesereau Free Legal Clinic
8764 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90003|
(323) 751-2LAW (529)*
January 19, 2010
State of the 9th Circuit - State of the Central District of California
STATE OF THE CIRCUIT/DISTRICT
March 11, 2010
Time: 11:30 a.m. Registration 12 noon Lunch
Registration 11:30 a.m.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski
United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
Chief Judge Audrey B. Collins
United States District Court, Central District
Judge Sheri A. Bluebond
United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District
Location: Kyoto Grand Hotel
120 S. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cost: FBA Members $65 • Government Employees/Students $45 • Table of 9 $550
Non-Members $80 Non-Member Table of 9 $675
Please RSVP by March 4th. Reservations after that time will only be accepted on a space available basis and an additional $25 late fee will apply
Program on Lessons from Chrysler February 4, 2010
Financial Lawyers Conference
214 Main Street, #336, El Segundo, CA 90245 • (310) 322-1350 • Fax (310) 615-4581
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.financiallawyers.org
"Assessing The Chrysler Restructuring: Lessons Learned"
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The panel will address the continuing impact of Chrysler upon rescue and rescue finance, the evolution of the public private partnership and trying a case with the Treasury as lender.
Speakers: Corrine Ball, Jones Day
Thomas (Tim) Cullen, Jones Day
Brett Barragate, Jones Day
Moderator: Richard (Rick) Wynne, Jones Day
Location: The Olympic Collection
11301 W. Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
Time: 6:00pm - 6:45 pm - Registration and Cocktails
6:45pm - 7:30 pm - Dinner
7:30pm - 8:30 pm - Program
Cost: $70.00 FLC Members
$40.00 Lawyers in Gov’t Svc.
Pre-registration deadline is Tuesday, February 2nd. After Tuesday, February 2nd, the registration fee increases by $5.00. Cancellations must be received by the pre-registration deadline of Tuesday, February 2, 2010. For information on FLC’s events and membership, go to www.financiallawyers.org
This activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of one hour. The Financial Lawyers Conference certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved educational activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education.
Chapter 13 Brown Bag in Santa Ana - January 28, 2010
January 28, 2010
Orange County Bankruptcy Forum Brown Bag Program
"Lucky" Chapter 13:
Taking the Gamble Out of Getting to Confirmation
Speaker: Amrane Cohen, Chapter 13 Trustee
Time permitting, questions may also be posed to attending Santa Ana bankruptcy judges regarding Chapter 13 practice questions/inquiries.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Registration 11:30 a.m.
Program Commences at 12:00 p.m. SHARP
United States Bankruptcy Court
411 W. 4th Street, Room 5C, Santa Ana
Special Proceedings Courtroom
Check-in for the brown bag is located just past the security guards on the first floor of the courthouse.
Despite the name "Brown Bag", no food or beverages are allowed in the Courtroom.
OCBF Members and Government Employees $10
No-shows and cancellations received the day of the event will be billed automatically.
In an effort to reduce paper waste, please be aware a limited number of handouts will be printed out over the number of registered individuals and handouts may not be available to all walk-on participants.
Visit OCBF.org and follow the event link.
The above activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1.0 hour. OCBF certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for the approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing MCLE.
Orange County Bankruptcy Forum | 6789 Quail Hill Parkway #204 | Irvine | CA | 92603
January 18, 2010
Washington Judge Rules that Debtor May Bifurcate Claim on her Home when it is also a Boarding Home
In re Reyes, 09-17532 (unpublished) (Bkrtcy. Wash. Dec, 2009)
Issue: Can the chapter 13 debtor here bifurcate a secured claim on property that is her residence but she also operates as a boarding home?
Judge Karen Overstreet
This chapter 13 debtor seeks to bifurcate a secured claim on real property. The five bedroom property is her home but she “has been taking in boarders since 1993.” “The boarders who live at the Property share a common kitchen and receive food and meals from Debtor as part of their rental agreement. Each boarder is entitled to a furnished room and generally three hot dinners per week. Debtor shops for the tenants’ food and makes it available in the common kitchen. She also maintains the common areas in a clean and usable fashion and otherwise helps the boarders become acclimated to the neighborhood and Seattle.” She also works full-time and the University of Washington as a lab tech. The judge believed her testimony that the loan agent knew of the use of the property when the loan was made. She also was swayed by the fact the use as a boarding home was for the past 16 years.
Judge Overstreet ruled that the loan may be bifurcated. “Any other construction of Section 1322(b)(2) would read the word “only” out of the statute. Accordingly, the Court finds that Creditor’s lien is not protected by the antimodification provision of Section 1322(b)(2).” She also ruled that the creditor did not have standing because it could not establish that it “has authority to hold the Note for the account of Creditor and of a valid chain of assignments from the original holder of the Deed of Trust to Creditor.”
D.C. Judge Rules Chapter 13 Debtor may Bifurcate Secured Claim on What was Her Residence Until She Moved
In re Roemer, --- B.R. ---, 2009 WL 5101762 (Bkrtcy.D.C. Dec, 2009)
Issue: Can the chapter 13 debtor here bifurcate a secured claim on property that was her residence until she moved out before filing her petition?
Judge Ronald Swartz,
This chapter 13 debtor seeks to bifurcate a secured claim on real property. The property was her home until some unstated number of months before she filed her case. The loan documents provide that she will live in the property for “at least one year.” She lived there about two years before she moved. The court ruled that the debtor is permitted to bifurcate the claim. He said that as of the date of the filing, the property was not her home. As to the “mortgage date test,” i.e., are courts supposed to determine the issue of residence as of the date the mortgage is executed or not, the judge said that the terms of the mortgage prevail. The bank here by contract agreed that its anti-modification protection would last only one year. “Here, the mortgage instrument granted a security interest in property that after one year was not required to be occupied as the debtor's principal residence, and accordingly the mortgage instrument was not limited to being a security interest in the debtor's principal residence. Section 1322(b)(2) does not protect the mortgage from modification.”
January 17, 2010
January 17, The Northridge Earthquake - How Soon We Forget
I think I posted this last year. Today is the date of the Northridge earthquake - 4:27 a.m. The violence was incomprehendable for about 10 seconds and it was just a giant earthquake for about a minute after that.
By the way, it is also the birthday of Muhammad Ali, James Earl Jones, Andy Kaufman, Al Capone, Michelle Obama, Jim Carrey, Rock Hudson, Benjamin Franklin. Just musing.
Chapter 13 Plan Cannot Force a Sale of Property by Co-Owner to Debtor
Brief by my associate and UWLA graduate Roksana Moradi
In re Dahlgren, 418 B.R. 852 (Bkrtcy N.J. Nov. 2009)
Judge Raymond Lyons
This chapter 13 Debtor's plan proposed to treat his “former paramour's interest in their jointly owned real property as a claim to be satisfied through the plan, leaving him as the sole owner.” Confirmation of the plan was denied.
The debtor and his girlfriend bought a farm to board horses and “there was an agreement between the two that the [girlfriend] would manage the properties, the Debtor would contribute capital and make improvements, and the two would both benefit from any profits.” Later they separated and the girlfriend filed a partition action in state court. Judgment was entered ordering the sale of the Farm, with the proceeds to be held in trust until “further determination by the court of the proper distribution thereof (which was later scheduled for April 9, 2009, the day the Debtor filed for bankruptcy).” The property was in foreclosure at the time. The girlfriend moved for dismissal of the bankruptcy “for reasons of bad faith filing in light of the totality of the circumstances pursuant to Section 1307(c) of the Bankruptcy Code… Alternatively, the [girlfriend] contends that the Debtor's plan should not be confirmed pursuant to Sections 1325(a)(3) and 1325(a)(7) of the Bankruptcy Code because the plan was not proposed in good faith and the petition was not filed in good faith.”
The bankruptcy court looked at the motion to dismiss first; under Section 1307(c) the facts “must be assessed on a case-by-case basis in light of the totality of the circumstances.” And “whether the filing is fundamentally fair.” The factors are “[T]he nature of the debt, including the question of whether the debt would be nondischargeable in a Chapter 7 proceeding; the timing of the petition; how the debt arose; the debtor's motive in filing the petition; how the debtor's actions affected creditors; the debtor's treatment of creditors both before and after the petition was filed; and whether the debtor has been forthcoming with the bankruptcy court and the creditors.”
The girlfriend argued that the Debtor was solvent and the only reason he filed for bankruptcy was to avoid the sale of the Farm. The Debtor testified “that he has filed for relief under chapter 13 in good faith, for the purposes of saving the Farm from mortgage foreclosure and the involuntary forced sale ordered by the state court and ‘to reorganize all of his debts in a meaningful manner.’”
The Court denied the motion pointing out that “dismissal should be saved for “those egregious cases that entail concealed or misrepresented assets and/or sources of income, lavish lifestyles, and intention to avoid a large single debt based upon conduct akin to fraud, misconduct or gross negligence.” The Court said “the Debtor did not engage in frivolous overspending prior to filing, and he can point to a serious injury to explain his current debt situation. Although the timing of the Debtor's bankruptcy petition and apparent forum shopping are suspicious, the circumstances do not rise to the level of bad faith. “Additionally, the court does not find that dismissal of the Debtor's case is in the best interest of the creditors or the estate, a consideration implicit in Section 1307 analysis…If this case were dismissed, the Debtor [is] facing imminent mortgage foreclosure, in which case they are likely to realize less profit from the sale than if they were to sell the Farm to a buyer such as the one procured by the Movant prior to the filing of this motion. This scenario would result in the unsecured creditors losing equity under the plan.”
As to confirmation of the plan, the Court found the “Debtor's plan to be patently unconfirmable based on his proposed treatment of the [girlfriend’s] interest in the Farm….The Debtor's proposed treatment of the Movant's interest in their mutually owned property is not permitted under Section 1322 and the Debtor has provided no authority to support the proposition that a Chapter 13 debtor has the right to divest a joint property owner of her interest in the property and fix that interest as a monetary claim.” “[T]he Debtor has not cited any authority for the remedy he proposes-that an owner of real property may force his co-owner to sell the co-owner's interest to him, rather than to a third party. It is conceivable that a state court might order such a remedy despite the lack of precedent, but the problem here is that the Debtor had the opportunity to request such a remedy in the pending state court action, but failed to do so. Bankruptcy does not afford him a second chance to seek novel relief that he missed in state court.”
The Court denied the requested confirmation of the plan.