King Law Center

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Attorney

New Business Address — June 20, 2016

New Business Address

downloadHi everyone.

I’ve had my website (kinglawcenter.com) temporarily forward to this blog until I can fix and update it fully. Following my return to California, I have a new business address. It is:

King Law Center, 19425 Soledad Canyon Road, Suite 207, Santa Clarita, CA  91351

While I remain licensed in Pennsylvania, I am not taking on any new cases there, of course. Thus, if you were directed here by a search engine, I apologize and should soon have all of that stuff changed to reflect the transition of my office back to the west coast.

My phone number and email remain the same and current clients should not even really notice that I’ve relocated. That’s it (except to say that while I won’t miss the humidity, I will certainly miss the changing of the leaves and the falling of snow).

–Darin King

 

Aeropostale Files Chapter 11 — May 4, 2016

Aeropostale Files Chapter 11

apThe problem with chic is that too much chic becomes blasé. Said differently, if all men looked like George Clooney, the one that acted in Oceans 11 wouldn’t be all that handsome. Indeed, the word “handsome” would have no meaning, for there cannot be good without bad, hot without cold, delicious without hákarl. So it is that the expensive hoodie company is shuttering the bulk of its stores and restructuring under Chapter 11. Whether it emerges therefrom as a viable business entity remains an unknown: they’ve lost money for 13 consecutive quarters. Still, that’s a lot of employees losing their jobs and, what otherwise might be just another footnote in the totally rad history of youth-focused fashion outlets coming and going amidst the pop culture fight to convince tweens that the name on the front of their overpriced, sleeveless T-shirts actually matters, that just sucks. King Law Center wishes those affected by this bankruptcy filing our best wishes. And also, a shout-out to the Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles, where not only did Aeropostale open its first store, but this author once worked as a bartender in a now-defunct Italian eatery. Keeping it SoCal, then, and to paraphrase Kobe: Aeropostale out!

Bankruptcy Irony — January 11, 2016

Bankruptcy Irony

333Apologies to Alanis Morissette, but isn’t it ironic…that when the economy is doing well, there is often an increase in bankruptcies? The rationale, as discussed in this mid-sized city’s newspaper article (Dayton, Ohio), is that folks either tend to believe that they have more disposable income — and thus spend more, often beyond what they really have — or engage in riskier entrepreneurial ventures out of sheer optimism. Regardless of the reason, the good news is that bankruptcy is always an option. There are, of course, myriad potential issues with filing eligibility, asset exemptions, and the discharge of certain debts, so you are wise to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney prior to attempting to file alone, but the legislative safety net (of BACPA) is a good one…whether the economy is in good shape or bad.

Bankruptcy Forms Changes — December 3, 2015

Bankruptcy Forms Changes

uscThe new forms are upon us. Here’s a link to the court’s website discussing those changes. The goal, I guess, was to make it easier for those who file without a bankruptcy attorney to understand the forms, but I’m not sure the changes will actually accomplish much. The fact remains that filing bankruptcy without an attorney can have dire consequences (especially if you have assets) and is rife with things that must be done mid-case to ultimately garner the Discharge Order. While I applaud the courts and the US Congress for working toward the noble goal of making the process easier, it still remains a fairly esoteric process and one that, because people will only ever file a bankruptcy rarely, if ever, in their lives, is best handled through the retention of counsel.

Student Loan Resolution Coming — October 6, 2015

Student Loan Resolution Coming

fan…because it eventually must.

On the horizon is America’s next big financial issue: student loan debt. Currently, student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy (except for rare instances where the Brunner prongs are overcome, a high bar). The problem is simple. The rising costs of education (including the rising costs from the last 20+ years) do not result in a commensurate rise in income. Sure, there are some outliers. Eventually a good surgeon will make a lot of money and pay off their medical debt. Certain lawyers do well. Ph.D.’s who get the right job will be okay. But many will not. Take a typical teacher, for instance. It is mandatory that a teacher get a B.S. or B.A. That’s four years of college (and let’s not even get into the issue of how those teachers who then further educate themselves cannot get jobs in education because now it costs too much to hire them. Just ridiculous.). Conservatively, let’s say that teacher now owes $50,000 (which is only $12,500 per year for four years). Is that teacher going to be able to pay off the student loans earning just $37,000 per year? Doubtful. Or, if she does, it’ll take a long, long time with the interest rates benefiting the creditor (because, other than death, there’s very little chance the debt is discharged through bankruptcy or eliminated any other way). So, Congress MUST act. And it will. It will because America has this habit of acting only once things really hit the fan. And guess what? The fan is fast approaching.

Great Thoughts on Public Defenders — September 16, 2015

Great Thoughts on Public Defenders

pdJohn Oliver, much like the other liberal commentators on Comedy Central and HBO, seem to just get it. Kudos. Here’s a great video about Public Defenders (and how they are underpaid, overworked, and — sadly — can’t effectively do their jobs in light of being underpaid and overworked). I just figured that, as a former member of the state and federal Public Defenders in San Diego, I’d give a shout-out.

Bankruptcy Numbers on the Decline — September 4, 2015

Bankruptcy Numbers on the Decline

imagesGenerally speaking, significantly declining bankruptcy numbers indicate a national economy trending toward recovery. Still, the number of filers is not low. According to this article, over 900,000 bankruptcies have been filed so far in 2015. As a local bankruptcy attorney, I am familiar with the fact that the bulk of these are Chapter 7s. In other words, there remains millions of Americans struggling with low income and/or high debt. Folks are generally reluctant to file bankruptcy until pushed to it by creditors (i.e., via lawsuits, the threat of lawsuits, or harassing debt collections practices) or after a thorough examination of their individual finances. The good news is that bankruptcy presents a real option to get out of debt and get a fresh start. Typically, only student loans, taxes, and criminally-incurred debts survive the bankruptcy. Cars and homes (in Pennsylvania, as a judicial foreclosure state) can be surrendered in bankruptcy without consequence and medical and credit card bills remain as dischargeable as ever. Call King Law Center today at 610-350-6100 and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

Trump and Bankruptcy — August 8, 2015

Trump and Bankruptcy

imagesLook, Donald Trump is a boob, period. He has no chance to do anything in this election other than embarrass himself further, and that’s fine. But I will stick up for the guy on the bankruptcy front. Chris Wallace asked The Donald about his business bankruptcies in a real accusatory way, as if filing for bankruptcy is evil or makes one unfit to run a business (or nation). The fact is, Chapter 11 is nothing like consumer bankruptcy. It’s a request for court protection from creditor action so the business can reorganize itself, and then, presumably, go on operating when the reorganization plan is approved by the relevant players.

When a Chapter 11 is filed, creditor activity is stayed, just like Chapters 7 and 13. This avoids and timing issues with the creditors arguing “but we sued first,” etc. Then, the business negotiates with its creditors with an eye to fixing itself somehow some way to end the bankruptcy and go back into business. A simple example would be that a business might seek to repay its creditors over 10 years instead of the 5 years left as was written on the original repayment contract. This is better than just shuttering the business, no?

The fact is, Chapter 11 is regularly argued to be GOOD for innovation. It’s not necessarily good for the investors or creditors, but that’s the nature of investment: it’s risk. But the opportunity to pull the plug promotes entrepreneurship; it allows the inventive to invent, to probe the marketplace…and, importantly, to be able to try again without being weighed down by debt from an earlier venture. I’m not privy to the facts about the Trump bankruptcies. I just don’t like the idea that the word is somehow an anathema. It shouldn’t be. Do some more research next time, Mr. Wallace.

Don’t Commit Perjury (Or Sue Your Lawyer Afterwards) — August 1, 2015

Don’t Commit Perjury (Or Sue Your Lawyer Afterwards)

teresa-giudice-prison-lies-daughtersDon’t commit perjury in your bankruptcy case or you, too, could get a nice orange jumpsuit. True, orange is the new black and black goes with anything, so there’s that upside. Plus, you get free food thrice a day and a roof over your head when it rains, so maybe it’s not all that bad. The point is, don’t lie. You can face penalties that include time in the slammer. You could, of course, in an attempt to deflect true blame, sue your lawyer afterwards. The problem is: the lawyer doesn’t sign under penalty of perjury, debtors do. A lawyer does have legal responsibility, of course; and he/she should. But the lawyer’s duty does not extend to making sure what is in the petition is factually correct. Consider if all bankruptcy attorneys had to independently verify the list of assets in Schedule B, for instance. How would this be done? A walkthrough of the debtor’s home? Why wouldn’t the debtor simply hide the diamonds behind the tarragon in the spice rack until the lawyer left? Or park the Lamborghini down the road for a bit? The fact is, a lawyer cannot, and should not, have to independently verify anything. This is why the forms say — correctly — that the obligation is the debtor’s. A lawyer performs legal work. Legal work is not creating a list of assets. So, be smart: no bankruptcy is worth going to jail for.

Another Sad Athlete Story — July 24, 2015

Another Sad Athlete Story

walkerxThis is all too sad and common a tale. It’s the story of Antoine Walker (aka Employee Number 8), a former NBA player who earned over $108 million dollars during his professional playing career. Now he’s bankrupt. He claims a failed real estate venture did him in. To an extent, it did. Real estate holding companies are risky. He apparently got caught when the bubble burst. Still, operating as an ATM to his friends and family, as he claims, is the likelier culprit. It’s hard to have sympathy when most of the clients of www.kinglawcenter.com didn’t make bad money choices; they just lost work, went on disability, retired, had an unexpected medical expense, etc. Still, this kind of thing happens, despite there being numerous league-sponsored seminars and the existence of many support personnel to help young athletes manage their new-found riches. Locally, Allen Iverson is reportedly in financial trouble despite making loads of money during his 76ers career. It’s a sad story and one that’s too often told, but it’s hard to have sympathy for bad decision-making when I all too often see good folks making good decisions still end up needing a bankruptcy. Here’s to hoping you land on your feet, though, Antoine.