All posts in Judges Corner

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…

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…

Judge Scott Clarkson Affirmed by 9th Circuit – When is a Home Mortgage not a Consumer debt?

Aspen Skiing Company v. Cherrett (In re Cherrett), — F.3d —, (9th Cir. Oct, 2017)

Issue:   Is a loan taken out to buy a place to live necessarily a consumer debt for section 707(b) purposes?

Holding:   No.   It depends on the debtor’s intent when the loan is incurred.

Appeal from BAP, Kirscher, Dunn, Taylor

Bap appeal from order of Judge Scott Clarkson

Judge Morgan Christen, dissent Jacqueline H. Nguyen Read more…

Judge Neil Bason – Chambers Copies and APOs

Email from Keith Higginbotham

Dear Colleagues!

Judge Bason announced today that for his matters, he no longer requires, desires, needs or wants Chamber copies on any pleadings filed.

If you have an emergency motion or a motion on shortened notice, docket it and then call his chambers and alert either of his law clerks.

Judge Bason also announced today that he no longer allows APO’s with language that states that the Automatic Stay terminates upon conversion to Ch7.  The Court will strike that language from the APO.

But, as a concession to Movants/Creditors, he has added this situation on his list of matters that can be scheduled on Shorten Notice.

Keith Higginbotham

In re Sundquist, Last Add?

This is an article today in the ABI blog today.

BofA Judge Doesn’t Want to Rip Up Scathing Ruling Against Bank

A bankruptcy judge who rebuked Bank of America Corp. over its “heartless” foreclosure on a California couple is not happy that the homeowners want him to erase his ruling, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The couple reached a private settlement with the bank that calls for rescinding both the $45 million penalty that Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein imposed on the lender and the scathing ruling he issued in March. “So you want me to take the injunction and tear it up and throw it out,” Judge Klein asked during a hearing yesterday in Sacramento. He then explained that if the opinion is vacated, it will be expunged from the annals of law and can’t be cited as a precedent in other foreclosure abuse cases. As one of the couple’s lawyers explained to the judge that they were very grateful for what he’d done in the case and said that approving the settlement wouldn’t take away from the message in his ruling, the wife sat in the courtroom next to her husband and cried silently. Judge Klein sent attorneys for the couple and the bank to meet privately with another judge to discuss further revising the settlement. After they spent four hours behind closed doors, the judge announced there were some unresolved issues and that they’d try to wrap it up on Oct. 18.

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