Bovitz – O’Halloran Writing Contest at California Bankruptcy Forum

Email from Scott Bovitz,

Mike O’Halloran and I are the sponsors of a lighthearted contest at each California Bankruptcy Forum.  Bankruptcy judges tell us that we should write shorter briefs and motions.  In 2018, we are challenging CBF attendees to write a bankruptcy brief or story — in exactly nine words.  See,,_never_worn (“…While lunching with friends at a restaurant … Hemingway bets the table ten dollars each that he can craft an entire story in six words. After the pot is assembled, Hemingway writes “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” on a napkin, passes this around the table, and collects his winnings.”)  We think that bankruptcy professionals will need three more words than Ernest Hemingway.

Nice Summary of new Consumer Tax Issues from Cathy Moran

Yikes!  Cathy’s article is here. 

“Under the new tax law,  any damage award a consumer recovers stands to go in large part to the IRS.

So even if you are successful in court in vindicating your legal rights, the expenses of getting the award aren’t deductible from the gross award. The taxing authorities end up getting a large hunk of the total recovery.

Welcome to tax ‘reform.’”

Automatic Stay: a Deep Dive

I wanted to see how much I knew about the automatic stay besides it’s general parameters so I opened section 362 and realized that at 6,518 words, section 362 is the longest section in the Code broken up into 15 parts (a-o).   There are 8 things that are “stayed” followed by 28 things not stayed.  Below are parts a-k for now and the rest to follow.  Pop quiz — I discovered a way to invoke the powers of the “stay” without ever filing bankruptcy (that’s my next blog post).

Let’s take a deep dive into the labyrinth:

Part (a) – 8 things that are Stayed 

  1. Commencement or continuation of any action against the debtor that could have been commenced prepetition;
  2. Enforcement of prepetition judgment
  3. Obtain possession or exercise control over property of the estate
  4. Recover re: lien against property;
  5. Recover re: prepetition secured claim
  6. Recover prepetition claim
  7. Set off
  8. US Tax Court re: corporate debtor re: tax liability

Read more…

Nice cdcbaa Program on Student Loans

Austin smith program








Leigh Ferrin from Public Law Center, Austin Smith and Christine Kingston.

I have to admit that I have told many debtors and prospective debtors that student loans are almost never discharged.  I definitely have a new view after the cdcbaa program last Saturday.  Loans made by the government, guaranteed by the government or made by a non-profit organization are clearly “student loans” and are not discharged unless the substantial hardship works.  But all other loans, made to students for the purpose, at least in part, of attending school, are not necessarily “student loans.”   The loan has to be an “educational loan that is a qualified education loan, as defined in section 221(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.”  Take a look at that code section.  The loan must be made by an “eligible student,” at an “eligible institution,” and for “eligible expenses.”  Loop holes all over the place there.

Results from the October 2017 Legal Specialist Examination Being Mailed

I am informed that the results from the October 2017 Legal Specialist Examination are being sent via U.S. mail today, March 15, right on schedule.  The pass rate for the examination overall was 74.9% compared to 75% during the 2015 examination.

Examinees will receive their results only via U.S. mail.  Those who do not receive their letters may request duplicate results on or after April 1, 2018.  For examinees who passed the examination, post-examination applications are available now on the Forms page.  They will need to file the applications or a request for an extension within eighteen months (April 24, 2019).  Consistent with past practice, no pass list is posted, and those who failed but had a score close to the pass line had their results automatically reconsidered before results were sent.

Congratulations once again on the successful administration of the 2017 Legal Specialist Examination!

Central District Filings so Far in 2018 About the Same as Last year

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 3,782 3,923 4,496 5,430
April 3,209 3,584 4,486 5,364
May 3,384 3,484 3,971 5,500
June 3,252 3,545 3,966 4,386
July 2,953 3,239 3,731 4,701
Aug 3,387 3,543 3,544 4,540
Sept 3,071 3,168 3,493 4,317
Oct 3,170 3,235 3,751 4,554
Nov 3,004 3,025 3,531 3,642
Dec 2,416 2,902 2,718 3,733
Total 37,262 39,819 44,880 55,445

For the first two months of 2018, by chapter:

Non-Commercial Commercial Chapter 7 Chapter 13 Chapt 11 Other TOTAL
4,960 489 4,043 1,314 91 1 5,449
91% 9% 74% 24% 2% 0% 100%

Attorney Philip Layfield Arrested in New Jersey

Attorney Philip Layfield, partner at the firm of Layfield & Barrett, APC, now in chapter 7, case 2:17-bk-19548-NB, was arrested in New Jersey according to the Los Angeles Daily Journal.   According to the state bar complaint filed against him last September, he misappropriated more than $4 million from three clients.  Apparently there are many more clients claiming that he misappropriated their funds.

What to do with Timeshares! Is the Debt Discharged? Yes! But What About Postpetition or Post Discharge Use of the Property?

Below is from the California Bankruptcy Specialists List serve.  Debtor’s obligations under a timeshare agreement are discharged.  But what about postpetition and/or post discharge obligations?  If the obligation arises under the contract, I say it’s gone.  But what about when the debtor uses the timeshare postpetition?  He or she certainly cannot use it for free?  The value of the postpetition use would be, I assume, presumed to be the contract price, and that would be a postpetition debt.  But what does it mean that the debtor “used” the timeshare – postpetition?

From the listserve:

Renay Rodriguez posted:

During recent research I found:

LA County Bar Program March 28, 2018 at Noon – Detecting Psychopaths in the Legal and Other Industries

Detecting Psychopaths in the Legal and Other Industries

Psychopaths make up 1% to 4% of the population. While serial killers tend to get the
most press, the high concentration of psychopaths in leadership positions and
businesses is a pervasive problem.

Learn about the specific traits of psychopaths and the professions with the highest percentages of
psychopaths to best be able to interview and detect psychopaths. This program will discuss: Read more…

cdcbaa Program on Student Loan Dischargeability on Saturday, March 17 at Southwestern Law School

This should be good.   The program is at Southwestern Law School, Westmoreland Building – 3rd Floor, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010.  

Speakers are


  • Leigh E. Ferrin, Esq. – Public Law Center
  • Christine E. Kingston, Esq.
  • Austin C. Smith, Esq.

Information on this exceptional panel follows: Read more…