The Chapter 13 Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (RARA) Form Allows For What?!

When the Law Offices of M. Jonathan Hayes merged with Simon & Resnik in 2012 (has it really been 5 years!?) I began to work exclusively on petitions filed under my beloved chapter of the Bankruptcy Code, 11.  I recently began to again work on Chp. 13 cases, albeit on a fairly limited basis, and I am continually amazed at the differences between these two most popular reorganizing chapters of the code.

Take a look at the “no-look” fee form we use here in the Central District, the Rights and Responsibilities Agreement between Chapter 13 Debtors and their Attorneys (“RARA”) [court form F3015-1.7.RARA], specifically pages 5-6 (I have added emphasis):

The guidelines in this district for payment of costs incurred in performing the services described in bold face type in this agreement (“Included Costs”) and attorneys’ fees in chapter 13 cases without a detailed fee application provide for the following maximum Included Costs and fees for the services described in this agreement in bold face type (that is, the services described on pages 3 through 5 of this agreement)…

Other than the initial retainer, the attorney may not receive fees directly from the Debtor prior to confirmation. All other fees due through confirmation shall be paid through the plan unless otherwise ordered by the court. Read more…

Nice Profile of Judge Laura Taylor, Chief Bankruptcy Judge in San Diego

This is a nice profile of Chief Judge Laura Taylor, written by Gary Rudolph for the state bar Business Law Section, Insolvency Law Committee eBulletin:

November 14, 2017  
Dear constituency list members of the Insolvency Law Committee, the following is a judicial profile of the Hon. Laura S. Taylor, Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of California.  Gary Rudolph, a member of the Insolvency Law Committee, met with Judge Taylor to discuss her personal and professional background and her experience so far as a member of the bankruptcy bench.

In the Beginning

Judge Taylor has known since high school that she wanted to be a lawyer because it blended her interest in law and the political process.  After engaging in private practice, including taking time away from a successful bankruptcy and finance practice with a large law firm to represent  disadvantaged families on a pro bono basis through a non-profit program she helped to found, she set a new challenge for herself that would best use her talents and interests–namely, to become a judge.  Judge Taylor had two respected judges as mentors and role models to follow on this path to the bench–most immediately, her husband, the Hon. Timothy B. Taylor, Judge of the Superior Court for the State of California, and the Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez, United States District Judge (Ret.), who was Judge Taylor’s neighbor and whose daughter babysat Judge Taylor’s oldest son. Read more…

UWLA will host the 2018 Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Moot Court Competition

Dear Faculty, Students, and Alums,

The University of West Los Angeles School of Law is pleased to announce it will host the 2018 Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Moot Court Competition on April 14-15, 2018 at the LAX campus of the law school.

Moot court is an extracurricular activity at most established law schools in which law students, competing as teams, take part in simulated appellate court proceedings.  Students draft written briefs and present oral argument to a panel of judges in a format that follows rules and procedures that apply to actual appellate litigation. Read more…

Welcoming David Goodrich to the State Bar Bankruptcy Specialist Commission

I’m at the state bar in San Francisco grading the essay questions from the Bankruptcy Specialists exam given a couple of weeks ago.  This is the first meeting attended by our newest commissioner, David Goodrich.   The commissioners are, besides myself (in my last year), Stella Havkin, Alan Vanderhof, Jim Selth, Cathy Moran, Dave Eldan, Phil Gillete, and Dave Goodrich.

October Filing Data – Central District

Up 100 petitions over September.

2017 2016 2015 2014
Jan 2,839 2,872 3,364 4,704
Feb 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
Dec
Total 31,842 33,892 38,631 48,070
YTD OCT
Chap 7 23,542 2,402
Chap 13 7,990 749
Chap 11 311 24
Other 4 0
31,847 3,175

Ten Tips from Judge Neil Bason on Rule Changes Effective December 1, 2017

In the Court News for November and December Judge Neil Bason has an excellent article pointing out some of the bigger changes in the new rules that we all need to be aware of.

The tips are:

1. Signatures – Get Original “Wet Ink” Signatures, File a Scanned PDF Copy, and Keep Them In Your Files
2. Proofs Of Claim – File Them Early And Often
3. Objections to Claims – Serve Them Correctly
4. Chapter 13 – § 341(a) Meetings and Confirmation Hearings
5. Chapter 13 – New Plan – Only For Cases Filed 12/1/17 or Later
6. Chapter 13 – New Plan – Up-Front Disclosures re: Liens (and Other Nonstandard Provisions)
7. Chapter 13 – New Plan – Secured and Priority Claims (Classes 1-4)
8. Chapter 13 – New Plan – “Pot,” “Percent,” and “Residual” Plans, and Possibly More Than
9. Chapter 13 – New Plan – Surrendered Collateral (Class 6) and Executory Contracts/Unexpired Leases
10. Valuing collateral and/or avoiding liens (§§ 506, 522(f))

Is Continuance of Hearing on MSJ a Violation of the Automatic Stay?

From the California Bankruptcy Specialists listserve:

Question:  Is it a violation to continue a hearing on a motion for summary judgment if a notice of stay is given to the Court before the hearing on the motion for summary judgment?

Answer from Wayne Silver, Santa Clara:

Eskanos & Adler, P.C. v. Leetien, 309 F.3d 1210 (9th Cir. 2002)
Under § 362(a), the prohibition against continuation of judicial actions requires that the action be automatically dismissed or stayed, and not merely that it not be pursued.

Front Row Kids

This is such a great article.  I have posted before on how the Supreme Court Justices are basically carbon copies of each other.  They come from basically two elitist schools, have not been trial judges, have not been in the trenches with “the people.”  A tip of the hat to my Associate David Kritzer for pointing this article out to me.

‘Front Row Kids’ and values have taken over our courts

two mutually hostile camps: a largely coastal, urban party run by educated elites, and a largely rural and suburban “flyover country” party composed of people who did not attend elite schools and who do not see themselves as dependent on those who do. Read more…

Very Nice Profile of Judge Sheri Bluebond

This was written by Michael Davis and published by the Insolvency Law Committee of the California State Bar

ILC Profile Series: United States Bankruptcy Judge Sheri Bluebond

The following is a profile of the Honorable Sheri Bluebond – the eighth in a series of profiles of Ninth Circuit bankruptcy judges.  Judge Bluebond and members of the Insolvency Law Committee met in her chambers and discussed her personal and professional background, observations from the bench, and issues of interest. Read more…

Thanks and Tip of the Hat to NCBJ

I attended my first National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Annual meeting in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.   They comped me because of my position on the State Bar Bankruptcy Specialists Commission.  The programs were great, the materials were great, the camaraderie with the judges was great.  I especially enjoyed sitting in on the ABI Consumer Commission meeting.  I’m going to upload a little lesson I learned on LLCs in the next day or two.  Next year the program is in San Antonio – see you there.