California has Changed (slightly) Civil Code Section 1542 – Watch Your Settlement Agreements

California has made subtle changes to that Cal Civ Code section we all know and love.   Be sure the language you include in your settlement agreement cites the new language.

Effective January 1, 2019, Section 1542 now reads:

A general release does not extend to claims that the creditor or releasing party does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release and that, if known by him or her, would have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor or released party.

SFVB Program Tomorrow, Friday Feb 8, 2019 – “10 Local Cases”

Email from Steve Fox

Dear All:

Friday of this week, the bankruptcy section of the SFVBA is presenting a panel (Judge Geraldine Mund, Dean Rallis and David S. Hagen).  They will discuss, dissect and argue through 10 local cases (meaning in California) which have impacted bankruptcy practices of creditor attorneys, debtor attorneys and trustees.  The cases go back to 1980 covering a wide range of consumer and business issues including lien stripping, personal liability for claims, enforceability of stipulations in subsequent proceedings and a conflict between the general presumption under Calif. law that property acquired during marriage is community property and CA. Evid. Code Section 662.  These are ten cases which the panelists believe have had impact on our practices so this is not a year in review program. Read more…

Congratulations to Chief Judge Maureen Tighe

Image result for judge maureen tighe The Passing the Gavel ceremony yesterday at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena was pretty fun.  I think it’s the fourth one I’ve been to now.  Outgoing Chief Judge Sheri Bluebond passed two gavels, one really large and one more ornate, to incoming Chief Judge Maureen Tighe before a huge throng of well-wishers and admirers.  Talk about hitting the ground running, the government shut down about the time Judge Tighe’s four year term began.  Judge Tighe told us she discovered quickly that there is no manual on how to deal with that.  So she met with the Chief District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, and the 9th Circuit staff, Cathy Campbell of course and others to try to figure out what to do.  She was determined to make sure the courts remained accessible to those who needed them which is what happened.  I say without exaggeration that if it came to a vote among bankruptcy lawyers today about who is the best judge in the Central District it would be Maureen Tighe.  She has the perfect blend of patience and firmness.  She has huge empathy for the parties, especially the little guy, along with the decisiveness the parties need from a judge.  Congratulations Judge Tighe.

Henry Sommer Comments at the Calvin Ashland Award Dinner

Henry’s comments at the cdcbaa Calvin Ashland dinner were stirring and meaningful.  I recorded his comments which he looked at and approved.

Comments by Henry Sommer

 upon receiving CDCBAA Attorney of the Year Award

 Recorded by M. Jonathan Hayes

November 15, 2018

Ken Klee:  [00:00:31]  And for the record, let me read the plaque.  “CDCBAA, Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association, Henry J. Sommer, Attorney of the Year 2018, Calvin K. Ashland Award, an annual award presented to those individuals who exemplify in the course of their profession, compassion, understanding, and concern for the individual consumer.” Each recipient has upheld these values that were found in the heart and in the courtroom of the Honorable Calvin K. Ashland.  This award alternates between judges, trustees, and attorneys, each of equal importance in our bankruptcy system of justice.

Henry Sommer:  [00:01:13]  Thank you.  (applause)  Thank you, Ken, for that very generous introduction.  And thank you to the CDCBAA for honoring me with this award.  I can see from the distinguished past recipients, of which Ken was the first, what an honor it is. Read more…

Think the Bankruptcy Business in California is Slow?

Total bankruptcy petitions filed in 2018:

Alaska – 441.

Vermont – 545.

Wyoming – 976.

South Dakota – 1068

Highest? Read more…

Bankruptcy Filings in the Central District Down Slightly for 2018

Total bankruptcy filings in 2018 in the Central District of California was about 3.5% less than the year before.

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Jan 2,741 2,839 2,872 3,364 4,704
Feb 2,708 2,795 3,299 3,829 4,574
March 3,363 3,782 3,923 4,496 5,430
April 3,277 3,209 3,584 4,486 5,364
May 3,226 3,384 3,484 3,971 5,500
June 2,981 3,252 3,545 3,966 4,386
July 3,057 2,953 3,239 3,731 4,701
Aug 3,337 3,387 3,543 3,544 4,540
Sept 2,772 3,071 3,168 3,493 4,317
Oct 3,259 3,170 3,235 3,751 4,554
Nov 2,821 3,004 3,025 3,531 3,642
Dec 2,419 2,416 2,902 2,718 3,733
Total 35,961 37,262 39,819 44,880 55,445

A breakdown of the total petitions:

Non-Comm’l Commercial Chapter 7 Chapter 13 Chapter 11
33,012 2,956 27,607 7,946 412
92% 8% 77% 22% 1%

Are you wondering about total “other chapters”?  three (3) which is either chapter 12 or chapter 15.

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Taggart!

Last Friday, the Supreme Court granted cert in the Taggart case.  That is the discharge violation case that says

“the creditor’s good faith belief that the discharge injunction does not apply to the creditor’s claim precludes a finding of contempt, even if the creditor’s belief is unreasonable.” [emphasis added] 888 F.3d at 444

Lorenzen v. Taggart (In re Taggart), 888 F.3d 438, (9th Cir. April, 2018)

Plan Payments Memo from Kathy Dockery Office

Email from Aki Koyama, Staff atty to Chapter 13 trustee Kathy Dockery

Hello Colleagues:

We are having a couple of issues with the evidence provided for electronic plan payments.

Issue No. 1
Scheduling Electronic Payments: Read more…

cdcbaa 9th Circuit Review Coming Up January 12, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019

11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

13th Annual Review of 9th Circuit Decisions on Bankruptcy in 2018

SPEAKERS:

Hon. Neil Bason, U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California
Hon. Christopher M. Klein, U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Eastern District of California
M. Jonathan Hayes, Resnik Hayes Moradi, LLP Read more…

SFVBA Program This Friday – Supreme Court Opinions – Ahart and Hayes

Email from Steve Fox (obviously not written by me)

Dear All:

Friday’s bankruptcy program is the annual program on Supreme Court opinions.  What none of you get to enjoy (but I do) is the spirited back and forth discussion and argument which the two panelists, Judge Ahart and Jon Hayes, have had by email arguing about cases, what they mean and whether they have importance to bankruptcy practitioners. Read more…