Judge Sam Bufford to Teach in Romania

Congratulations to Judge Bufford.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Hon. Samuel L. Bufford, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Penn State Law, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to spend the fall 2016 semester at the University of Bucharest in Romania.

The announcement is here.

California State Bar Assn Looking for Public Comments to Ethics Rules Amendments

The California State Bar assn has sixty-eight proposed new and amended rules.  It is looking for comments from the “public,” presumably us.  The proposed Rules including the changes and amendments can be found here.  Its worth looking this over.

It’s worth remembering that there are also lots of rules in the California Business & Professions Code.  The relevant sections are below. Read more…

Big Win in the Ninth Circuit for Public Law Center

Hello All,

I wanted to share with you that just yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and held that a debt owed by a parent to the Orange County Probation Department as the result of the involuntary incarceration of the parent’s minor child is not in the nature of support, and therefore is a dischargeable debt.

The BAP had previously held that the debt was “in the nature of support” and therefore was a Domestic Support Obligation that was nondischargeable under 101(14A) and 523(a)(5). The Ninth Circuit reversed, saying, amont other things, that BAPCPA changed who could be creditors, not what type of debts were covered by 523(a)(5), and this debt does not fit within the state’s family support infrastructure. This is an incredible win for our client, but also a win for other debtors in Orange County who were being pursued by Probation for similar debts.

Read more…

Kozinski “fed up with verbose lawyers and their bloated briefs”

Nice article about Judge Alex Kozinski.  9th Circuit Appellate opening briefs are limited to 14,000 words.  I can’t imagine preparing a brief that is longer than that, and filing it the day it’s due along with a motion for permission to exceed the limits.  Apparently it happens a lot.  This is a nice little article in the LA Times today.  Kozinski says he won’t read the additional 14 pages.

Judge Sheri Bluebond Moving Her Chambers Effective August 22

Note from David Lally:

Dear Colleagues:

Effective August 22, 2016, Chief Judge Sheri Bluebond will move from her current chambers and courtroom on the 14th floor to courtroom 1539 and chambers 1534 on the 15th floor of the Roybal Building.  Therefore, effective August 22, all of her matters which have been scheduled or noticed for hearing in courtroom 1475 will be heard in courtroom 1539.

Please note that Chief Judge Bluebond’s reaffirmation agreement hearings, scheduled on August 18, will continue to be held in courtroom 1475.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


Edict From Judge Maureen Tighe

Judge Maureen Tighe announced in court today that she is going to start sanctioning attorneys and chapter 11 debtors when the debtor does not appear personally at the Status Conference – per her status conference order.

Appealing to the BAP v District Court

I am told that bankruptcy appeals have been going 56% to the district court and 46% to the BAP.  Judge Jury thinks that one reason for that might be that the BAP is perceived to be more casual about granting extensions of time to file briefs than the district court.  I doubt that myself.  She also commented to me that district court rulings are appealed to the 9th Circuit more than BAP rulings.

My own guess re why the district court is higher is that non-bankruptcy lawyers think that the BAP will “hometown” them or “rubber-stamp” the ruling of their buddy.  But I have also heard people say that district court judges rubber-stamp the bankruptcy court since they don’t know anything about bankruptcy anyway.  Both of those views are silly.  I suppose that there is the lazy judge here or there that rubber-stamps stuff but my perception is that judges try to get it right.

Judge Laura Taylor made a great comment at a program I attended – that if the party is pretty sure that the case is going to go to the 9th Circuit no matter what, the appeal should go to the BAP.  She said, rightly so, that the BAP will understand the issue a little better and will “set it up” for the 9th Circuit.  ”We will see where this is going and try to explain that to the 9th Circuit for the parties.” Good point.

5 NEW Forms for Individual Chapter 11 Cases in Judge Zurzolo Cases

Effective August 1, 2016,the following forms can be used in individual Chapter 11 cases in front of Judge Zurzolo:

(1) Disclosure Statement and Plan (combined document) [I WORKED ON THESE WITH HIM!]
(2) Notice of Hearing on Adequacy of Disclosure Statement
(3) Motion to Approve Adequacy of Disclosure Statement
(4) Notice of Dates and Deadlines Related to Confirmation of Plan
(5) Motion to Confirm Plan of Reorganization

Link to the Judge’s website here.

Is “Allowance” of a Claim Binding in the Next Case? Bankruptcy or Otherwise?

I came back from Montana with a treasure trove of tidbits, some of which will save my postier in the future.  I was bragging to Judge Jury about an appeal I am working on before the BAP (which she will never be involved in because it is the Central District).  But I told her that it is a chapter 13 case and the case may be dismissed so the issue will be moot.  She asked if it was a claims objection issue.  Yes.  Well then, she said, the creditor (us) will not be able to renew the issue if there is a subsequent filing, in bankruptcy court, or otherwise.  The next day she handed me a note with the case that says this.  Is this a great judge or what? Read more…

Judge Julia Brand Appointed to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP)

Here is the announcement.  The 9th Circuit BAP has six judges who hold their office for a seven year term.  The appointment to Judge Brand is well deserved.   She is one of four bankruptcy judges downtown who hears chapter 13 cases.  Judge Meredith Jury is the Chief Judge now.  She and Judge Brand will sit on a lot of panels together since the BAP judges may not hear appeals from the district they are from.  I believe each BAP judge gets one additional clerk.  I’m not sure if their regular caseload is reduced or not but if it is, the reduction is small.   Read more…