Here’s a fun read. Well, maybe not. It is government guidance provided to guarantors and educational institutions participating in the FFELP and Perkins programs regarding student loan discharge in bankruptcy. It details whether the the Department of Education will consent (or not object) to a borrower’s claim of undue hardship (which is the well-known Brunner standard that courts employ to discern the dischargeability of qualified student loan debt). The formula is partially about the fees and costs to defending the litigation. In some sense, this offers backdoor guidance to lawyers about whether to bring a Brunner challenge, assuming the lawyers can correctly predict the government’s calculations. The win here is that the government is talking about this; it’s out there for discussion finally. The national horror that is student loan debt amidst the lack of growing wages for the educated might have a light at the end of the tunnel (some day; maybe this is a beginning).
…because Rico means “rich” in Spanish. Currently, the island territory is paying upwards of 70% of it’s economic output to servicing debt. Ouch. While some options to negotiate with creditors remain, Puerto Rico is not permitted, by law, to file for bankruptcy — which would be a Chapter 9, like Detroit — due to its status as a territory and not an independent sovereign/municipality. Bankruptcy in this context could be very helpful, if only as a means of leverage in negotiations with creditors. Indeed, I believe that the threat of bankruptcy will likely lead to a win-win situation: a win for Puerto Rico in that it would be allowed to mitigate its debt issues, at least in the short term; and a win for creditors in that they’d likely not have to swallow as poison a pill as might be forced upon them through a Chapter 9 filing. Hopefully, Congress will act. It seems a bit overlord-like to, at once, keep Puerto Rico as a territory (neither a state nor an independent nation-state) while not offering it some of the most basic protections afforded all Americans. Consider, for instance, that one doesn’t even need to be a US citizen to file a Chapter 7, as it is the debt (i.e., whether it is owed to an American entity) that defines whether jurisdiction, and the ultimate discharge, is applicable. So, buenas suerte, amigos. I hope you become empowered with the right to file.
As I type this, I note that WordPress.com has changed the color of the bar on the top of this website to a rainbow. I’m sure they’ll soon change it back to the taupe it usually is. But today, right now, in this moment, it’s perfect. Kudos, America. And thank you, SCOTUS. You got it right. Hate, bigotry, and ignorance are on the way out. We are evolving. This is one small step.
And just when I couldn’t be happier for what my country decided it stood for today, I see my President singing “Amazing Grace.” It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen him do; and it may be the best thing a President may ever do (that doesn’t involve legislation of some sort).
A good day to be an American.
Bankruptcy affords debtors a clean slate: a way to get out of debt and get a financial fresh start. The laws are tilted strongly in favor of debtors, not creditors. So, when you need a bankruptcy, you must be bankrupt. You cannot, for instance, secretly hide assets away from creditors. That apparently is what happened in this case. Prosecution for bankruptcy fraud is pretty rare (probably because nearly everyone who files a bankruptcy is truly bankrupt)…but it does happen. Kudos, then, to trustee Nauni Jo Manty who smelled something amiss with debtor Daniel Rohricht. Mr. Rohricht is a jeweler. Jewels are, of course, easily hidden (physically). So, despite closing their case with a settlement, Ms. Manty — who wisely inserted a provision into the settlement which would void said settlement in the event of fraud or deceit by Mr. Rohricht — stayed on the guy. She sent in secret shoppers to his store(s); she had his van followed; she hired someone to stand outside his shop and watch the comings and goings. And then she got her man. When Mr. Rohricht opened his new store in Hayward, Wisconsin, she caught him filling the shelves, as it were, with the assets he had declared gone, sold, or melted when he initially filed his bankruptcy. Now, instead of precious metals, Mr. Rohricht is likely to spend some time getting to know some non-precious ones: namely, iron and steel, or whatever they make prison bars out of. He was arrested in April. Of course, Mr. Rohricht is innocent until proven guilty and this discussion is merely a restating of the article linked above. If you’re interested in bankruptcy as a potential solution to your debt issues, and you promise to tell the truth in your bankruptcy filings, contact King Law Center today.
Damn those robo-calls. Fortunately, the FCC remains on the side of debtors. Read this. It all seems to stem from MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
If you are being harassed by creditors and/or annoyed by robo-calls and calls to your cell phone, sanctions may be available. We at King Law Center work with our litigation partners to punish the creditors who violate your rights. This relief is available whether you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or not. The difference is that pre-filing sanctions are pursued under the auspices of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act; post-filing sanctions are retrievable due to violations of the automatic stay (11 USC 362). If you are being harassed or just want to talk about your debt options, contact us. We can help.
This just doesn’t seem fair. I understand the American rule, though I’m not particularly fond of it. Still, lawyers are hired “experts” (I’m not sure the state bar allows anyone to call themselves “experts,” but you catch my drift) who didn’t create the cause for the litigation or the bankruptcy. Thus, when they do work, they should be paid…even if they are defending, in court, their right to be paid. That’s what appears to have happened here. Now, I don’t take the dire approach that this is going to somehow curtail firms from taking on clients (or vice-versa); I’m merely tossing in my two cents that says if the cause for the underlying litigation (i.e., a bankrupt debtor or even an overzealous plaintiff) is not the firm itself, the law should not punish the firm for seeking that which it deserves. Of course, www.kinglawcenterpa.com (which is the mobile version of the base website http://www.kinglawcenter.com) doesn’t represent big business nor are we on the side of creditors. So, this sort of thing won’t ever pop up in our consumer-focused practice. But if I see a wrong, I think I should say something.
Similarly, if you see a wrong (like creditors suing you or you falling behind on your debt payments), contact our office today.
While The Tipping Point wasn’t nearly as good as Freakonomics, it was still a good book. And it discussed, in Gladwellian fashion, how certain instances, often small, start to turn things around. The Syrian civil war and the broader Arab Spring: see Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouaziz (and maybe even Thich Quang Duc in 1963, though merely as inspiration for Mr. Bouaziz). Anyway, at some point, America will reach its. Some thought it was the Sandy Hook school shooting…but they were wrong. It wasn’t the Colorado theater shooting, either, or the Santa Suit killer, or, well, read the news later and you’ll find one. And, sadly, it won’t be the Charleston church shooting, either. One day, though, something will happen. The national consciousness will shift and we’ll ask ourselves why we continue to glorify the ways of the Old West some 150+ years later. I’m not saying the solution will be easy: there’s too many guns out there to get rid of them. Heck, look at the picture, there’s 100 of them right there, and you can have them, today, with cash. Then you can shoot your neighbor, or a scared girl who knocks on your door looking for aid, or maybe your baby can get into your purse and shoot itself to death. Awesome. Someday, though; someday we’ll tip. Too bad it’ll take a tipping point where lots of people die. But hey, unless 400 Chinese people drown, they don’t enact laws favoring safety, inspections, and harboring a boat during a storm either. So, keep shooting yourself, America. It is, unfortunately, the only way to get us to take this OK Corral mentality seriously.
On a separate and wholly unrelated note, if you need a bankruptcy, like gun-maker Colt does (partly because they overestimated the need for police arsenals), and you live near Philadelphia, contact King Law Center.
Indeed, bankruptcy MIGHT be a solution…but the real issue is, as it has been for a few years now and will continue to be for many years to come, the over generousness of government institutions vis-à-vis the pensions handed out to their employees. It all might have looked good on paper when drafted in the legislature (and probably written to help get some politician(s) re-elected), but it’s now a major, major albatross. Pension fund managers everywhere, take note: invest better — though you are undoubtedly trying — or people may soon talk about how your fund needs to go bankrupt.
For information about consumer bankruptcy (that’s Chapters 7 and 13), visit http://www.kinglawcenter.com