All posts in Judges Corner

Short Bio of Judge Maureen Tighe from the Insolvency Law Committee

The link to the bio is here.  The link also has the past bios created by the ILC.

In re Sundquist – $45 million in Punis Sounds About Right to Me

I hereby nominate Judge Christopher Klein for Super Judge.  This is my brief of the 109 page Memorandum.

Sundquist v. Bank of America (In re Sundquist) 566 B.R. 563, 14-02278 CN (Bkrtcy, E. D. Cal. May, 2017) Klein, J.

Issue:   Given that Bank of America violated the automatic stay, what is the proper amount of damages under section 362(k)?

Holding:   Actual damages of $1,074,000 plus $5 million of punitive damages, further punitive damages awarded of $40 million payable to two consumer organizations and five law schools.

Judge Christopher Klein

The debtors here had attempted unsuccessfully prepetition to do loan mods with Bank of America.  They finally filed chapter 13 to stop the foreclosure sale.  Notwithstanding that it had notice, the bank conducted the foreclosure sale the next day anyway.  “Bank of America committed at least six further automatic stay violations by the end of August 2010 as it bulled forward.”  This included bringing an unlawful detainer.  About the same time, a different department of the bank recognized the error and notified the foreclosure company.  But upon receiving the three day notice, the debtors panicked and immediately moved.  “Although Bank of America knew on August 20, 2010, and beyond cavil by September 7, 2010, that the foreclosure would be rescinded, it did not withdraw the unlawful detainer action or tell the Sundquists the action would be dismissed.”  Six months later, the bank finally rescinded the foreclosure sale but did not tell the debtors nor their counsel.  The debtors learned about the rescission a month or two later and asked for the keys back.  The bank gave them the keys.  When they moved back into the property, the tress were dead, appliances gone, the place was ransacked, and the HOA had assessed a $20,000 penalty for not taking care of the place.  The bank not only refused to pay for the damages but demanded that the debtors pay the mortgage for the time when it owned the property.  Read more…

Interview with Judge Alex Kozinski

The highlight of the Insolvency Conference on Coronado Island this year was the interview of Judge Alex Kozinski on Friday afternoon.  Judge Peter Bowie (Ret.) started off by asking Judge Kozinski for a word that describes who he is and what he is all about.  The word? – handsome!  He asked Judge Kozinski about his early life in Romania and his life after that in Vienna – when he first tasted ice cream and “immediately became a capitalist.”

After clerking for 9th Circuit Judge Anthony Kennedy and US Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, his first job was with Quittner, Stutman, Triester & Glatt.  He was sworn in as a US citizen sometime in those years by Judge Harry Pregerson, then a district court judge, now his colleague on the 9th Circuit.   Judge Kozinski gushed about what a great judge William Lazarow was and determined to be like him.  After joining the 9th Circuit himself in 1985 at 35 years old, he somehow wangled himself the the job of running Judge Lisa Fenning’s calendar while she was off on maternity leave.   He described the effort as “the hordes coming at your.”  He was not derisive in the slightest.  The bankruptcy world has a lot of people who need help and the bankruptcy judge deals with that every day.  He said that bankruptcy “brings order from chaos.”  For that reason it is important.

There is a great hour-log interview with Judge Kozinski on youtube here.  Pretty fun.

Brown Bag on the Loan Modification Management Program – Feb 6, 2017 at Roybal

Judges Barash and Bason are going to host a brown bag lunch presentation on the Loan Modification Management Program (“LMM”) currently in the pilot phase in cases pending before Judges Barash, Bason, Bauer, Brand and Yun.  The luncheon will be held on 2/6/17 at 12:00 p.m. at the Roybal building.    This is the link to the event page on the Court’s website.

I highly recommend attending this.  The courts need our input.  If they don’t get our input, they are flying blind to some extent.  There is certainly the desire on the part of the courts to help.

See you there.

Judge Erithe Smith Calendar This Week

Dear Colleagues:

The Court announced that:  “I am sorry to report that Judge Erithe Smith’s mother has just passed away.  Judge Smith will be continuing all of her hearings this week.  

Keith Higginbotham

Judge Barash to Hold Brown Bag on Loan Modification Management Program

This program is an excellent opportunity for you to get the inside scoop on the new Loan Modification Management Program.  This is a “pilot” program meaning there will be a “feeling out” period by everyone involved.  I think its a great effort and should be supported by the local bankruptcy bar.  Brown Bag Flier Barash Read more…

Amusements Off the Bench: The Hobbies of Judge Clarkson

This is a pretty fun article by Scott Bovitz on the photography antics of Judge Scott Clarkson.  You can access the article here.  Bovitz Article on Clarkson – American Bankruptcy Institute Journal – Dec 2016

I have a copy of Judge Clarkson’s book Windows to Vietnam: A Journey in Pictures and Verse sitting on my desk.

Judge William Lasarow RIP

Image result for william lasarowWith a heavy heart, I am sad to report to my colleagues that our friend retired Bankruptcy Judge William Lasarow passed away this morning [Thanksgiving Day].  I don’t have any more details yet. The Court will be sending out a statement shortly. 

Keith Higginbotham Read more…

LABF Holiday Party and Tribute to Retiring Judge Thomas Donovan (at the new Federal Courthouse)

Annual Holiday Party
and
Tribute to the Honorable Thomas B. Donovan
 

December 5, 2016

Read more…

Central District Judges Seek Input on Continued Use of the ECF Declaration

The Issue.  

In connection with the introduction of electronic filing in the late 1990’s, the Court adopted a local form called the “Electronic Filing Declaration” and related local rules.  The Electronic Filing Declaration and related rules permit attorneys to electronically file pleadings bearing an “/s/ Nonattorney Name” in lieu of the holographic signature of the debtor.

Although it is acknowledged that the Electronic Filing Declaration and related procedures may have served a useful purpose at their inception, judges of the Court have observed that the Electronic Filing Declaration is frequently misused – both inadvertently and intentionally.   In some instances, judges of the Court have found that the form and related procedures have been used to create the false impression that a debtor or other non-attorney has signed a pleading that the party has not actually signed. Read more…