Early this spring, when BAPCPA bashing had become “so very smashing!” (culminating in this post about the latest BAPCPA bashing opinion), I returned to my desk one sunny afternoon and retrieved from my voice mail a message from someone identifying himself as Marvin Isgur, who wanted to know if I’d like to come down to Galveston, Texas in late June to speak before about 300 consumer bankruptcy lawyers at this conference on recent consumer bankruptcy case law developments.

My initial reactions to Judge Isgur’s voice message were much akin to those of Noah, as portrayed by Bill Cosby in this classic skit.  First, when I heard the message say “Steve, this is Marvin Isgur…,” I thought — like Noah — “what do you want, I’ve been good?”  Then when the message continued, and Judge Isgur said he’d like me to deliver the opening presentation on recent consumer bankruptcy law decisions, I thought — like Noah — “what’s an ark?” (i.e., what’s consumer bankruptcy law)?

Yet, having placed the “don’t mess with

Texas” label on Judge Isgur here (following his issuance of the first opinion clearly demonstrating BAPCPA’s harsh new world for consumers), I pretty much viewed his proposal as an “offer you can’t refuse.”

A few days after accepting, the organizers at University of Texas Law School’s Center for Continuing Legal Education made sure to let me know “the most popular event every year at the conference has been the opening presentation by Professor Elizabeth Warren from Harvard and by Professor Jay Westbrook of the

University of

Texas.”  In fact, they added, “the presentation is so popular each year that we thought that we would find an expert to try to fashion a comparable program on recent developments in Consumer Bankruptcy Law.”  As for preparing an outline on the topics you’ll be speaking about, attached you’ll find the 113 and 119 page outlines that Professors Warren and Westbrook, respectively, distributed at previous conferences.  Oh, and good luck!

It was then that I truly understood the perils of accepting the “offer you can’t refuse.”  As noted here, such career choices may well spell one’s doom.  Judge Isgur, however, encouraged me to have no fear, and that everything would turn out fine.

Well, many panic-driven, sleep-deprived days and nights later, I’ve now completed that “Great American Consumer Bankruptcy Outline,” a 90 page magnum opus encapsulating pretty much every consumer bankruptcy opinion worth reading (or not so worth reading) in the past 12 months.

So, for those of you who’ve wondered what happened to me these past couple of months, and why I have cut down on my blogging–well, now you know.

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll publish here periodic installments from each of the outline’s 17 sections.  Alternatively, you can get the glossy version by signing up for the conference (be sure to bring your Hawaiian garb, though).

Here’s the Table of Contents to the Outline:

I.      Judicial Commentary on BAPCPA

A.    Venting

B.    BAPCPA’s “Plain Meaning” Not Followed

C.    Attempts at Uniformity


II.     The Hanging Paragraph: Section 1325(a)(*) — the “Car Loan Protection” Provision

A.    The Law of Intended Consequences

B.    The Law of Unintended Consequences


III.       Attorneys as Debt Relief Agencies (DRA

A.    Court Decisions on Whether Attorneys Are DRA’s

B.    Other Prominent Challenges to Constitutionality of DRA Provisions


IV.       Homestead Exemptions

A.    Homestead cap applies in opt-out states

B.    Homestead cap does not apply in opt-out states
C.    BAPCPA’s Section 522(o) Limitations

D.    BAPCPA’s Section 522(p) Limitations

E.    BAPCPA’s Section 522(q) Limitations
F.    Entireties Property
G.    Domicile
H.    Abandonment
I.      Appreciation in Home Equity Value
J.     Intervening Statutory Changes
K.    Preemption
L.    Residency Requirements
M.   Revocable Trusts and Homestead Exemptions
N.   Miscellaneous Homestead Exemption Rulings


V.    Credit Counseling

A.    Constitutionality of Credit Counseling Provisions

B.    No Exigency and No Waiver

C.    No Exigency, But Debtor Given Another Chance to Replead

D.    Exigent Circumstances Found, But Not Enough to Prevent Dismissal

E.    Requirement Waived / Counseling Unavailable

F.     Requirement Not Waived Based on Type of Debtor

G.    Timing of Obtaining Credit Counseling

H.    Court’s Duty Upon Presentation of Colorable Claim to Credit Counseling

I.      Nature of Certification

1.    Certification Requires Declaration under Penalty of Perjury

2.    Certification Does Not Require Declaration under Penalty of Perjury

3.    Attorney’s Signatures / Inquiries

4.    Other Certification Requirements

J.      US Trustees Take Hard Line on Credit Counseling Requirement


VI.       Chapter 7

A.    Means Testing: A Non-Issue?

B.    Challenges to Discharge

C.    Conversion to Chapter

D.    Dismissal Under Totality of Circumstances Test – Section 707(b)(3)(B)

E.    Dismissal for Substantial Abuse

F.    341 Meetings

G.    Involuntary Petition

H.    Pre-Discharge Financial Management Course

I.      Simultaneous Filings




VII.      Debtor Reporting Requirements

A.    Dismissal for Failure to Comply with § 521 Requirements

B.    No Dismissal Despite Failure to Comply with § 521 Requirements

C.    Stay Terminated for Failure to Comply with § 521(a)(6) “Retain and Maintain” Requirement

D.    Other Section 521 Reporting Requirements

1.     Tax Returns

2.     Payment Advices

3.     § 521(a)(1)(B)(v) Requirements for Individual Business Debtors

E.     Schedules and Statements


VIII.     Automatic Stay

A.    Effect of Case Dismissal/Striking for Lack of Credit Counseling

1.     Automatic Stay Intact During Interim Period

2.     Automatic Stay Not Intact During Interim Period

B.     Serial/Multiple Filings

1.     Problematic Language: § 362(c)(3)(A) / § 362(c)(4)(A)

2.     Burdens / Presumptions Generally

3.     Scope / Limitations

4.     Stay Extended

5.     Stay Not Extended

6.     Timeliness of Request for Extension of Stay

7.     Reinstatement for Multiple Filers

8.     Service Issues

9.     Stay Terminated Though No Party Objects to Extension Based on Lack of Feasibility

10.   Pleading Requirements

C.    Stay Termination for Real Property Under BAPCPA’s Section 362(d)(4)

D.    Cashing Checks Postpetition

E.     Repossessions

F.     Other Stay Violations

G.    Other Cases with No Stay Violations

H.    Section 362(h)(2) – Effect of Untimely Section 521(a)(2) Filing re Liens

I.      Automatic Termination under Section 365(p)

J.     Stay Inapplicable to Postpetition Transfers by the Debtor

K.    Retroactive Termination / Annulment

L.     Arbitration

M.    Setoff

N.    Police Powers


IX.       Exemptions

A.    Avoidance

1.     Judicial and Statutory Liens

2.     § 544 Not Appropriate for Challenge to Exemption in Entireties Property

3.     New Value Extended on Eve of Filing Despite Fact that Proceeds Are Claimed as Exempt

4.     Judicial Estoppel and Res Judicata Preclude Strip-Down of Lien Where Stay Was Lifted

5.     No Exemption for IRA Deposits within Three Years of Filing

6.     Rooker – Feldman Doctrine Applied

7.     Section 522(g): Exemptions in Recovered Property

B.     Trustee Sales of Exempt Property

C.    Objections to Claimed Exemption

D.    Tax Refunds

E.     Head of Household Exemption

F.     Motor Vehicles

G.    Pensions / IRAs / Retirement Plans

H.    Community Property
I.      Household Furnishings


X.    Chapter 13

A.    Good Faith Plans

B.    Treatment of Secured Claims

C.    Chapter 13 Eligibility under BAPCPA for Serial Filers

D.    Cram-Down

E.     Unfair Discrimination

F.     Avoidance Actions

G.    Modification

H.    Executory Contracts

I.      “Projected Disposable Income” Test

J.     Determination of “Applicable Commitment Period”

K.    Priorities

L.     Mode and Timing of Payments

M.    Res Judicata Effect of Plan / Setoff

N.    Dismissal of Case

O.    Reinstatement of Case

P.    Conversion from Chapter 7

Q.    Petition Filing Date

R.    Debtor’s Professionals


XI.       Secured Claims

A.    Strip Downs

B.    Rash Interpreted

C.    Avoidance Actions

D.    Valuation

E.    Attorneys’ Fees

F.    Till Interpreted

G.    Adequate Protection

H.    Foreclosures

I.      Tax Sales

J.     Redemption

K.    Proofs of Claim


XII.      Discharge

A.    IRS

B.    § 523(a)(2)

C.    § 523(a)(5)

D.    § 523(a)(6)

E.     § 523(a)(7)

F.     § 523(a)(19)

G.    Rooker-Feldman / Concurrent Jurisdiction / Res Judicata

H.    Revocation of Discharge

I.      Extensions of Time to Object to Discharge

J.     Failure to Timely Object to Discharge / Equitable Defenses

K.    Section 111 Requirements

L.     Prima Facie Case Must Be Stated

M.    Attorneys’ Fees

N.    Student Loans

O.    Violations of Discharge Injunction Questioned

P.     Sovereign Immunity


XIII.     Property of the Estate

A.    Trusts and Estates

B.    Tax Refunds

C.    Asset Sales

D.    Abandonment

1.     Decision to Abandon Irrevocable under Excusable Neglect Standard

2.     Relief from Technical Abandonment Upon Closing of Case

E.     Judicial Estoppel / Unscheduled Assets

F.     Insurance

G.    Employee Stock Options


XIV.        Claims Objections and Proofs of Claim

A.    Documentation Issues

B.    Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

C.    Late-Filed Claims

D.    Informal Proofs of Claim



XV.      Reaffirmation Agreements

A.    Reaffirmation Agreement Stricken



XVI.        Fees

A.    Fee Requests – Chapter 13’s

B.    Fee Requests – Chapter 7 Trustees

C.    Fee Requests – Trustee’s Counsel

D.    Retainers

E.     Flat Fees

F.     Debtor’s Counsel’s Fees

G.    Retainers

H.    Lodestar

I.      Debtor’s Counsel Fees

J.     Assignment of Tax Refund for Postpetition Fees



XVII.       Attorney Ethics

A.    Fee Splitting

B.    Rule 11 / Rule 9011

C.    Conflicts

D.    Failure to Advise State Court of Filing of Petition

E.     Self-Dealing

F.     Pre-BAPCPA Crush Fallout

G.    Bankruptcy Court’s Disciplinary Authority

H.    Claims Objections

I.      Judges

J.     Bankruptcy Crimes by Attorney

K.    Stupid Tricks

L.     Nigerian Business Scams

© Steve Jakubowski 2006