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Craig D. Robins, Esq. New York Bankruptcy Attorney, Longisland bankruptcy attorney

“ Craig D. Robins, Esq., has been a practicing Long Island bankruptcy attorney for over twenty-four years ”

Craig D. Robins, Esq.

Archive for June, 2009

Only Certain Attorneys Can Practice in Bankruptcy Court

Posted on Friday (June 5, 2009) at 10:20 am to Bankruptcy Practice

Only Certain Attorneys Can Practice in Bankruptcy Court in New YorkWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Not just any attorney can practice in bankruptcy court.  They have to be admitted to the United States District Court for the district where the bankruptcy court is located.
 
The Central Islip Bankruptcy Court and Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court are both in the Eastern District of New York. 
 
Being admitted to Federal Court requires being sponsored by another attorney and making a special application which is reviewed by the United States District Court.   Once the District Court approves the application, a special swearing-in ceremony is held in District Court, and a U.S. District Court Judge swears-in the attorney.
 
I was sworn into U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in 1985 by Judge Jacob Mishler.  At that time, the District Court was in Uniondale. I remember the judge cracking jokes at the ceremony.  Judge Mishler served as Chief Judge for the district and never retired.  He died at the age of 92 in 2004.
 
At every Meeting of Creditors held in the Long Island or Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court, the attorney is required to identify himself and indicate that he is admitted to the Eastern District of New York.
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Countrywide Mortgage Founder Gets His Due

Posted on Friday (June 5, 2009) at 5:25 am to Current Events
Mortgages & Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown

Countrywide former CEO Mozila, a direct cause of the nation's mortgage meltdown, now being charged by the SEC for fraudWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Countrywide fueled this country’s sub-prime mortgage housing collapse.  Now its former CEO is being sued by the SEC for fraud
 
Angelo Mozilo, who is one of the biggest names responsible for the irresponsible lending practices that led to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, is now the target of an SEC lawsuit for fraud and insider trading.
 
The SEC held a news conference in Washington today to discuss claims that Mozilo failed to inform Countrywide shareholders just how lax lending standards became at the mortgage giant as the housing boom neared its collapse. The SEC also is scrutinizing Mozilo’s sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in stock as defaults mounted on the high-risk loans in which Countrywide had specialized.
 
I have written extensively that Countrywide also had the reputation of being the poster child of bad boy frivolous litigation practices in bankruptcy courts across the country.  See Major Mortgagee in Trouble Again with Bankruptcy Court .
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Many Bankruptcies Are Caused by Medical Bills According to Harvard Study

Posted on Thursday (June 4, 2009) at 10:00 pm to Bankruptcy and Society
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Personal Injury and Bankruptcy

High medical debt hits Long Island middle class families hard, and bankruptcy has provided reliefWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
High medical debt hits Long Island middle class families hard, and bankruptcy has provided relief
 
In a study released today, Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, whose work I’ve cited extensively, concluded that medical problems contributed to almost two-thirds of all bankruptcy cases filed in 2007.
 
She also found that between 2001 and 2007, the proportion of all bankruptcy cases attributable to medical problems rose by 50 percent. President Obama has widely cited Ms. Warren’s previous findings.
 
The study indicated that many solid middle class families were hard-hit by the high cost of serious medical illness, resulting in financial disaster.
 
One of the study’s co-authors, which included several prominent doctors, commented that:
 
“Our findings are frightening. Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, co-payments and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when prolonged illness causes job loss – precisely when families need it most. Private health insurance is a defective product, akin to an umbrella that melts in the rain.”
 
These are very sobering words which explain why so many middle class families are seeking bankruptcy relief in New York and on Long Island.  When one considers the high expense of health care on Long Island, it is understandable that Long Island families are confronting a panoply of social forces that make it terribly difficult to maintain financial stability.
 
Most of my clients are typical middle class Long Island families.  I wrote about this phenomenon several years ago in an article, Consumer Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy has Become a Middle Class Phenomenon.
 
Also, for more info on how bankruptcy can eliminate medical debt, see my earlier post:  How to Eliminate Medical Bills .
 
A copy of the Harvard study is available at http://pnhp.org/new_bankruptcy_study/Bankruptcy-2009.pdf.
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Brooklyn Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees

Posted on Thursday (June 4, 2009) at 11:15 am to Info on Bankruptcy and the Court

Brooklyn Chapter 7 Bankruptcy TrusteesWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
I previously provided details on the panel of Chapter 7 trustees for the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court. (Long Island Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees )
 
The other bankruptcy court in the Eastern District of New York is the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court.
 
Below is a list of the active Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees on the panel for the Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of New York, which covers bankruptcies for residents of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees – Brooklyn
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• David J. Doyaga, Esq.
 
• Robert L. Geltzer, Esq.
 
• Lori Lapin Jones, Esq.
 
• Debra Kramer, Esq.
 
• Paul Krohn, Esq.
 
• Richard McCord, Esq.
 
• Gregory Messer, Esq.
 
• Robert Musso, Esq.
 
• Alan Nisselson, Esq.
 
• Richard O’Connell, Esq.
 
• John S. Pereira, Esq.
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Why Did Chrysler and GM File for Bankruptcy in New York?

Posted on Tuesday (June 2, 2009) at 7:20 pm to Bankruptcy Practice
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Current Events

Chrysler and GM Chose to File for Bankruptcy in New York, Which is Called Forum ShoppingWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Large Companies Filing for Bankruptcy Can Usually Choose Which Bankruptcy Court to File In
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The big three automakers are headquartered in Michigan.  Why, then, did Chrysler and General Motors file their gigantic Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases in New York bankruptcy court?
 
The answer is called “forum shopping.”
 
When it comes to large, corporate bankruptcies, companies can file in any jurisdiction where they have an affiliate who has filed for bankruptcy.  With the case of General Motors, the auto giant  filed a bankruptcy for a company-owned dealership in New York just minutes before they filed the major bankruptcy.
 
Forum shopping has existed for quite some time with bankruptcy cases.  Large companies that have affiliates all over the country can thus file almost anywhere.  They can file their bankruptcy case where they feel the law or court would favor them the most.
 
Not only is forum shopping widely accepted, bankruptcy judges actually seem to compete to get the biggest and most newsworthy cases as if they are badges of honor.
 
Most large corporations prefer to file for bankruptcy in New York or Delaware.  These two states have long track records of adjudicating involved, corporate bankruptcy cases.  The courts in these two states tend to apply the law very consistently, so that attorneys can predict how the court will rule on a particular issue.  Also, the judges in these states agree to permit bankruptcy attorneys to collect very generous attorneys fees.
 
As long as there has been forum shopping there has been debate as to whether it is moral or ethical.
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Today’s Newsday Cover Story Is About Long Island Foreclosure Scams

Posted on Monday (June 1, 2009) at 9:10 pm to Consumer Advice
Foreclosure Defense
In The News
Long Island Economy
Mortgages & Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown

 

Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq. 

Your blog author quoted in Newsday article about problems with loan modification companies
 
Newsday ran an in-depth cover story in today’s newspaper addressing the problems with the Long Island loan modification industry and highlighting the Federal Trade Commission’s recent nationwide crackdown on “fraud and deception” by mortgage modification companies.
 
Randi F. Marshall, an investigative staff reporter at Newsday, wrote the extensive article, which will continue in tomorrow’s edition.  Ms. Marshall brought attention to the fact some attorneys, like myself, refuse to do loan modification work.
 
“No matter what’s going on in the economy, you’re going to have these companies come out of the woodwork and take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation,” I was quoted as saying.
 
The fact is that most lenders are not cooperative in negotiating modifications.  Yet, this has not stopped numerous people and companies, essentially those who previously sold sub-prime mortgages, to now scam those homeowners who are desperate for a solution and are susceptible to fraud.
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Newsday commented that many consumers paid exorbitant fees to loan modification companies on Long Island, only to find that the companies disappeared with their funds without doing any work at all.

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What Are Your Rights If a Creditor Violates the Automatic Bankruptcy Stay?

Posted on Monday (June 1, 2009) at 9:09 pm to Bankruptcy Terms
Bankruptcy Tips Consumers Should Know
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Creditors Engaging in Abusive Bankruptcy Practices

ignore a debtor’s bankruptcy rights by violating the automatic bankruptcy stay can be hauled into court and made to answer for their improprietiesWritten by Ian Ribald
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Creditors who ignore a debtor’s bankruptcy rights can be hauled into court and made to answer for their improprieties.
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When a debtor files a bankruptcy petition, the “automatic bankruptcy stay” is triggered. The automatic stay is the very powerful federal bankruptcy law that makes it illegal for creditors to take any further action to collect a debt.
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Although most creditors know that violating the stay is a serious violation of federal law, some creditors will nonetheless violate the stay by continuing to make collection calls or attempting to collect in other ways.  Creditors do this at their peril as they can be severely punished.
 
When a creditor violates the automatic bankruptcy stay, a debtor can apply to the bankruptcy court to recover damages. 
 
The debtor must demonstrate two elements:
 
        1.  Show that the creditor’s actions were willful
        2.  Demonstrate that there was actual injury.
 
The concept of a “willful” violation of the stay  means that the creditor was motivated by a specific intent to violate the stay. The bankruptcy courts have interpreted “actual injury” to include a number of different types of injuries. Some actual injuries include repossessing a debtor’s vehicle, filing a lawsuit against the debtor, garnishing wages, and a continuing other kinds of efforts to collect debt.
 
As a result, when a creditor willfully violates an automatic stay, a debtor who has received actual injury may recover damages, including costs and attorney’s fees.
 
Can a Debtor Recover Punitive Damages If a Creditor Violates the Stay?
 
Generally, punitive damages are not collected for a minor violation of a stay.  However, if a court finds that the violation was malicious or particularly egregious, punitive damages will likely be awarded.
 
If a Stay Violation Causes a Debtor to Suffer from Emotional Distress, Can the Debtor Be Compensated for That?
 
Some courts have been willing to allow a debtor to recover for damages based on emotional distress in egregious situations.  If the debtor can show that he or she suffered unusual mental distress as a result of the violation, the bankruptcy court may award extra damages against the creditor.
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Botttom line:  violations of the stay are relatively rare.  However, if you are the victim of a bankruptcy stay violation, talk with your bankruptcy attorney to determine how to best protect your rights.
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Note: Ian Ribald is a summer intern with our firm.  He recently finished his second year of law at Touro Law School.
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Craig D. Robins, Esq. is a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer, who is focused primarily on helping individuals and families, find solutions to their debt problems. Read more »

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Craig D. Robins, Esq.
35 Pinelawn Road, Suite 218E, Melville, NY 11747.

Tel : 516 - 496 - 0800

CraigR@Craigrobinslaw.com