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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 January, 2011

Bankruptcy Filings Are Reaching Record Numbers Again

Posted on Thursday (January 13, 2011) at 1:30 pm to Bankruptcy Statistics

Bankruptcy filings are reaching record numbers againWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Consumers with debt problems filed 1.53 million bankruptcy petitions last year according to recent data.
 
This represents a nine percent increase over 2009, reflecting on the need for Americans to utilize bankruptcy protection to resolve their financial debt problems, which are in large part attributable to the recession, national financial crisis and overall weak economy.
 
This high number of filings represents the most bankruptcy proceedings we’ve seen since the two million figure in 2005 when consumers rushed to file before a stricter set of new bankruptcy laws took effect.  Even though the new bankruptcy laws were supposed to reduce the number of filings, that has not been the case.
 
Half a year ago I wrote a an article about More Chapter 7 Cases Being Filed Nationally — New Trend .
 
Bankruptcy Filing Statistics for Eastern District of New York
 
This year there were a total of 23535 bankruptcy cases filed in the Eastern District of New York, which includes the bankruptcy courts in Central Islip and Brooklyn. 
 
The cases filed this year in the E.D.N.Y. represent an increase of about four percent over last year, when there were 22670 cases filed.
 
Here’s a chart of the bankruptcy filings for 2010, month-by-month for the Eastern District of New York.  You will notice that there was a big jump from February to March 2010 that remained somewhat constant for the rest of the year. 
 
That is likely because many consumers are inundated with credit card bills after the New Year and also make a New Years Resolution to resolve their debt problems by filing for bankruptcy.
 
In addition, the typical time a consumer bankruptcy case takes for the attorney to prepare and file is at least several weeks, so the typical consumer who hires a bankruptcy attorney around this time of year will see their petition filed towards March.
  
2010-bankruptcy-filings-chart-edny
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Craig Robins Mentioned in New York Times Cover Story About Sloppy Foreclosure Lawyers Who Represent Lenders

Posted on Tuesday (January 11, 2011) at 9:45 pm to Foreclosure Defense
In The News
Mortgages & Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown

Today's NY Times Cover.  The story is the first article on the upper left.

Today's NY Times Cover. The story is the first article on the upper left.

One of the biggest news stories of the past three months has centered around the flood of foreclosure cases which have exposed the shoddy practices of foreclosing lenders and the attorneys who represent them.

 
Today, in a New York Times front-page story, “Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures,” reporter James Schwartz wrote about how judges are looking ever more critically at home foreclosures, especially here in New York. 
 
This is an issue that I’ve covered repeatedly in my blog over the past year.  For example, see: Judge Cancels Mortgage Due to Mortgagee’s Shocking Behavior in Long Island Foreclosure Action   and my post Has Steven J. Baum, P.C. Served You with Foreclosure Papers?
 
Also, in today’s New York Times article, it was reported how judges have accused lenders’ attorneys of processing shoddy or even fabricated paperwork in foreclosure actions.
 
Here in New York, the mortgage litigation mess grew so severe that our Chief Judge adopted new court rules requiring attorneys to verify the information in foreclosure cases, which I addressed in New Forelosure Law in New York Requires Attorneys to Verify Foreclosure Papers .
 
The article mentioned one of my foreclosure defense clients, Sunny D. Eng, who we successfully defended in a Suffolk County Supreme Court foreclosure case brought by Wells Fargo.  In that case, which I will discuss in greater detail in a follow-up post, we were able to persuade the court to dismiss the entire foreclosure action.
 
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Bankruptcy Means Test Car Deduction Issue Decided by Supreme Court Today

Posted on Tuesday (January 11, 2011) at 7:15 pm to Bankruptcy Means Test
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Recent Bankruptcy Court Decisions

automobile / car deduction in bankruptcy means test

Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.

 
Today the U.S. Supreme Court gave us another interpretation of the how the means test should be used in bankruptcy cases by deciding that only consumers who have car loans or car leases can claim a certain motor vehicle “ownership expense” deduction on the means test.
 
Justice Elena Kagen, in her very first decision since ascending to the Supreme Court, ruled in an eight-to-one opinion that the BAPCPA means test is designed to enable creditors to recover as much as possible while ensuring that consumers seeking bankruptcy relief have enough money to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
 
The case, Ransom v.F.I.A.Card Services, N.A., had been frequently discussed at national bankruptcy symposiums that I’ve attended during the past year.  Even though the case is not a victory for the consumer (it is basically a win for the credit card companies), it was not unexpected either.  The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
 
Ransom Case Now Governs Who Can Take Ownership Expense Car Deduction on Means Test
 
What the case means is that only consumers who have a car loan or car lease can take an additional deduction on the means test that car owners whose vehicles are totally paid off cannot take. 
 
This additional means test deduction can sometimes be significant in enabling a consumer to either pass the means test in a Chapter 7 case or pay substantially less in a Chapter 13 case.
 
The Ransom decision does not change local practice here in New York at all, as consumer bankruptcy practitioners here have customarily only taken the vehicle ownership expense deduction when the consumer debtor had a car loan or lease.
 
In her ruling, Justice Kagan sought to interpret the language of the means test statute, which provides that a debtor may claim only “applicable” expense amounts.  While the law does not define applicable, the Justice cited dictionary definitions such as relevance and appropriate.
 
In her decision, Justice Kagan also relied on the “statutory context” that in chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, means testing deductions fill in “amounts reasonably necessary to be expended” by above-median-income debtors.
 
Finally, Justice Kagan noted that bankruptcy law has a “core purpose of ensuring that debtors devote their full disposable income to repaying creditors.”
 
What Can Consumer Debtors Do to Get Around the Ransom Decision?
 
Here is how some bankruptcy debtors who do not have financed vehicles, side-step the issue so that they can obtain the additional means test deduction.  Instead of keeping an older, non-financed vehicle, they trade it in for a newer car that is financed by a loan or lease.  They do this prior to filing for bankruptcy.
 
Assuming that they engage in this “pre-bankruptcy planning” in good faith, and that they truly need a newer, more-reliable vehicle, then no one should be able to argue that engaging in such a transaction is abusive bankruptcy conduct.
 
Even Keeping an Older, Non-Financed Car, Results in an Additional Means Test Deduction
 
In our jurisdiction, the U.S. Trustee permits debtors to utilize a certain additional IRS used car deduction if the debtor’s car is an older car, which is one which is at least six years old.  This is because a good part of the means test deductions are based on IRS cost of living deductions.
 
If a debtor has an older car, then the debtor can take an additional $200 deduction on the means test.  This applies even if the car is financed, in which case the debtor can get a double deduction.
 
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About Us

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

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