Properly mailed item is presumed to have been received.

Wonder where it says that?  “The law presumes that a properly mailed item was received by the addressee.”  Hagner v. United States, 285 U.S. 427, 430 (1932).

Disclosure of tax returns in litigation: privileged or not?

It doesn’t seem as clear as it use to be that you don’t have to turnover your tax returns to your opponents in litigation.  The below quote is from a recent memorandum from one of our judges (bankruptcy judges).  I want to make sure I can find it some day when I need it.

As explained in Weingarten v. Superior Court, 102 Cal. App. 4th 268, 274, 125 Cal. Rptr. 2d 371, 375 (2002):

California courts … have interpreted state taxation statutes as creating a statutory privilege against disclosing tax returns. The purpose of the privilege is to encourage voluntary filing of tax returns and truthful reporting of income, and thus to facilitate tax collection.   But this statutory tax return privilege is not absolute. The privilege will not be upheld when (1) the circumstances indicate an intentional waiver of the privilege; (2) the gravamen of the lawsuit is inconsistent with the privilege; or (3) a public policy greater than that of the confidentiality of tax returns is involved.  This latter exception is narrow and applies only “when warranted by a legislatively declared public policy.” (Ibid.) A trial court has broad discretion in determining the applicability of a statutory privilege.

Great cdcbaa Program June 8, 2019 – Handling Trial from Pre-Trial Proceedings until the Appellate Review

Please join us on June 8, 2019 as we present:
 
Judges on Trial! 
 
Hon. Catherine E. Bauer | U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California, Santa Ana Division 
Hon. Ernest M. Robles | U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California, Los Angeles Division  
Hon. Martin R. Barash| U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California, San Fernando Valley Division  
 
Moderator – Anerio V. Altman, Esq. 

 
Judges Bauer, Robles and Barash will discuss their approaches to handling trial from the Pre-Trial Proceedings until the Appellate Review.  The judges will submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the cdcbaa and answer questions from the audience.  Now the tables are turned!
 
Registration: 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Program: 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
 
Southwestern Law School
Bullocks Wilshire Building Read more…

Nice Judicial Profile of Judge Scott Clarkson

The Business Law Section of the California Lawyers Assn has a nice Judicial Profile of Judge Scott Clarkson in its April 2019 eNews.  You can access that here.

US Trustee has a new mailing address for the quarterly payments

The mailing address for quarterly fee payments that debtors send on or after May 15, 2019, is the following:

United States Trustee Payment Center
P.O. Box 6200-19
Portland, OR 97228-6200

The address shown above is a lockbox at a bank and is for quarterly fee payments only.  Do not use this mailing address for service of process, correspondence, or purposes other than paying quarterly fees.  Any correspondence or documents sent to the lockbox address, other than the payment and payment form, will be destroyed.

Individual Chapter 11s: An Overview – 5pm on Thursday, May 23, 2019

Back by popular demand, the following program is presented in collaboration with the cdcbaa and Orange County Bar Assoc. – Commercial Law & Bankruptcy Section.

Individual Chapter 11s: An Overview

Speakers:

Honorable Neil W. Bason | U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District, Los Angeles Division
Steven R. Fox, Esq. | Law Offices of Steven R. Fox
Stella A. Havkin, Esq. | Havkin & Shrago
Peter M. Lively, Esq. | Law Office of Peter M. Lively
Dennis E. McGoldrick, Esq. | Law Office of Dennis McGoldrick
Roksana D. Moradi-Brovia, Esq. | Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP
Moderated by D. Edward Hays | Marshack Hays LLP

Join us for an engaging discussion on the nuts and bolts of individual Chapter 11 practice with our expert panel. Follow the life of a Chapter 11 case from prepetition planning to drafting the plan and getting it confirmed.

The OCBA is offering the member rate of $95 to all cdcbaa members — call (949) 440-6700 to sign up.

Date: May 23, 2019

Time: 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Grand Catered Events – 300 S. Flower Street, Orange, CA

More details here: https://www.ocbar.org/ Calendar/Event-Detail/ sessionaltcd/CLBMAY2019 https://www.ocbar.org/Calendar/Event-Detail/sessionaltcd/CLBMAY2019

ABI Commission Report on Consumer Bk

The ABI Commission just released the report on consumer bankruptcy.  You can find the summary of findings by clicking here.

Some interesting recommendations:  allow for postpetition chapter 7 attorneys fees, get rid of both credit counseling courses for a chapter 7, and increase chapter 13 debt limit to $3 million and eliminate the secured / unsecured distinction.    Interesting stuff in the full report which can be retrieved by registering your email here.  Curious what they will do with your email….

San Fernando Valley Bar Program this Friday – March 22, 2019

Email from Steve Fox:

Dear All:

We practice law in a corner of the USA often without thinking about what the rest of the bankruptcy bar is doing.  They have a lot of good idea what we in the Valley, debtor and creditor attorneys, can use.

Judge Sandra Klein, Cassandra Richey and Roksana Moradi-Brovia will examine cases from other bankruptcy courts and appellate courts to give us some sense of what the rest of the country is doing in bankruptcy.  This is the type of program where you take notes because you get ideas which you can use in your own cases.  The cases are intended to make you think.

The panelists are well known and well respected.  Your time will be well spent.  Here are the program particulars: Read more…

Adjusted Dollar Values – April 1, 2019

I am posting this because I always have a hard time finding the adjusted dollar values. I admit, I stole this from the Eastern District. You can find it by clicking here, and I have pasted a few choice numbers for convenience:

Debt limits for Chapter 13 cases: unsecured, $419,275; secured $1,257,850.

Wages entitled to priority: $13,650.

Definition of a small business: $2,725,625.

Definition of assisted person: $204,425.

Paying the mortgage in advance as prepetition exemption planning

I have asked bankruptcy attorneys many times over the years whether they think that it is okay to use non-exempt cash in the bank to prepay the mortgage before filing a petition.  It would only work of course if the mortgage payment created equity that was then exempt.  Every attorney I have ever asked has said something like, “Of course it’s okay.”  Some have looked at me strangely like “Why are you asking when the answer is obvious?”

I don’t see it as obvious.  It is a transfer to delay, hinder or defraud creditors.  “But it is exchanging non-exempt assets for exempt assets which is okay,” is the usual response.  The answer to that is “sort of.”

The BAP has recently affirmed Judge Robert Kwan in an unpublished opinion, In re Ellison, who denied this guy’s discharge based on a bunch of prepetition transfers, (“But it’s allowed exemption planning says the debtor’s atty.”)  The debtor paid six months worth of his first and second mortgages.  Why you ask?  The debtor’s words, “to assure that my wife and my daughter and myself had a home to live in through the end of the year . . . I did prepay [the mortgage in the past] but not to that degree, not six months, or four months, five months, whatever it was in advance, normally.”  According to Judge Kwan, “This out of the ordinary course transaction and Defendant’s admissions are additional evidence of his intent to hinder or delay his creditors by putting these funds out of their reach for his personal benefit.”   See In re Ellison, 2:15-ap-01001-RK.  Docket No. 30.

There were other transfers to be sure which had the effect of protecting about $250,000 of equity in the debtor’s home (after the homestead exemption).  Judge Kwan concluded that the debtor “crossed over the line’ of what is permissible behavior.  See In re Beverly, 374 B.R. at 244-246 (discussing the difficulty in drawing the line between legitimate bankruptcy planning and intent to hinder, delay or defraud creditors).”