A few weeks ago, Bob Lawless called the Supreme Court’s decision in Schwab v. Reilly a non-event. Some commenters expressed the view that it was a victory for trustees. I have to disagree. I think it settled a very important issue that has been splitting courts and trustee practice for many years. While technically a win for the trustee in the case, the opinion really represents a victory for debtors.
Continue reading "Winning While Losing in the Supreme Court - Schwab v. Reilly" »
In my last post I noted the beginnings of some positive movement by consumer protection agencies that have been largely dormant and, in some cases like the United States Trustee program, actively anti-consumer. A few weeks ago, as Katie Porter noted in a recent post, Bank of America (BOA) reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission
with respect to certain mortgage overcharges, including overcharges in bankruptcy, on mortgages formerly serviced by Countrywide Mortgage. The settlement requires reimbursement to consumers who were overcharged. BOA, in addition to agreeing not to lie, steal, or file documents without reviewing them, will also have to follow notice procedures similar to those that are already required or are likely to be required for all mortgage companies once new Bankruptcy Rule 3002.1 becomes effective in December, 2011. The United States Trustee (UST) Program assisted the FTC in its efforts. This settlement is the first significant positive result of increased UST scrutiny of mortgage lenders, although the extent of the UST’s participation is not known.
Continue reading "Bank of America Settlement -- A Sign of True Progress?" »
Many years ago, in the mid 1970's, when I began my career as a legal services lawyer practicing consumer law, it seemed that we were on a roll. Congress and state legislatures were passing a bevy of laws to protect consumers (including the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978.) The FTC was passing regulations and taking action against consumer scams. Innovative lawyers, often in legal services programs, were bringing class actions against a wide variety of illegal and unfair practices. These cases were received sympathetically by courts that, from a common sense perspective, could see that those practices took advantage of consumer ignorance or confusion. Little did we know that we were at the peak of the consumer protection movement and it would be almost all downhill from there.
Continue reading " The Beginning of a Return to Consumer Protection?" »
First of all, thanks to the Credit Slips gang for giving me a chance to venture into blogging on their site. I hope people find my posts to be of interest.
Most of us are all too familiar with the failure of Congress to pass legislation allowing judicial modification of mortgages in chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. Sadly, our predictions of millions of foreclosures, most of which could have been prevented by that legislation, are coming true, and most knowledgeable observers believe the worst is yet to come. In the absence of a law requiring lenders to modify mortgages, creative bankruptcy attorneys have been doing the best they can with the tools that are available and are having considerable success.
Continue reading "Combining Chapter 13 with a Voluntary Mortgage Modification" »