New Oral History Project – Call for Volunteer Interviewers

The BBA Bankruptcy Section is launching an oral history project to preserve the memories of our distinguished jurists and colleagues, and is looking for volunteers to conduct interviews.  Help preserve the vast historical knowledge of the Boston bankruptcy bench and bar!  If you are interested in volunteering as an interviewer, please contact Jonathan Horne at [email protected].

Volunteer for the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

Don’t miss the chance to volunteer for the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program this year. The Program, which is a partnership between the Boston Bar Association and the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Massachusetts, helps high school students across Massachusetts learn how to make informed and effective decisions regarding their finances. Since the program began in 2005, 600 volunteers have reached over 4,500 students statewide.

Click here to view the open volunteer sessions.

If you have any questions about the program or volunteering, please contact Katie D’Angelo, BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator, 617-778-1914 or email: [email protected] 

 

 

 

 

Bankruptcy Scam Alert from the Attorney General

The Attorney General’s office has issued the alert below warning consumers of a bankruptcy-related scam. The alert may be viewed here.

AG Healey Warns of bankruptcy transfer scam Bankruptcy Filers are Reportedly Being Targeted to Wire Money to Satisfy Debts

BOSTON – Amid nationwide reports of fraud, Attorney General Maura Healey is warning consumers of a scam targeting those in bankruptcy in an effort to steal their money.

“This scam preys on well-meaning people who are going through a very difficult time and are often under significant stress,” AG Healey said. “While these scams may sound authentic, people should be wary of any unsolicited requests for an immediate transfer of money.”

Consumers who have filed for bankruptcy or have begun the process of filing for bankruptcy are being targeted by a scam that requests the immediate wire transfer of money to satisfy their debts.

The scheme is typically perpetrated by individuals posing as the consumer’s attorney. Using a technique called “spoofing,” which is increasingly being used in phone scams, the scammers are able to make their phone number appear to be that of the consumer’s actual attorney on caller ID. The scammers contact the consumer with instructions to immediately send a wire transfer that will satisfy their debts outside of the bankruptcy proceedings. During the call, the scammers may use personal information to make the scheme sound more authentic.

The fraudulent phone calls are typically placed during nonbusiness hours, presumably to dissuade the consumer from contacting their attorney. This can make confirming the legitimacy of the caller more difficult.

Consumers who receive these calls are advised to hang up and contact their bankruptcy attorney. If a wire transaction is made, consumers are advised to contact the wire transfer agency used. Unfortunately, there may be little recourse to get the money back.

Here are some tips for consumers to avoid being scammed:

  • Bankruptcy attorneys will never request an immediate wire transfer payment to satisfy a debt.
  • Consumers should ask questions that may be difficult for an imposter to answer for verification.
  • Consumers should not be fooled by details that a caller may have about them or a family member as scammers often get information from the Internet to sound authentic.
  • Consumers should never give out personal information like social security, credit card or bank account numbers through an unsolicited request over the phone.

The Attorney General’s Office fields thousands of inquiries pertaining to scams and can direct consumers to the appropriate agency to file a complaint. One of those is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Consumer information specific telephone scams are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov. Consumers may also call AG Healey’s Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400. Additional information and resources pertaining to consumer scams are available on the Attorney General’s website.

Bankruptcy Internship Position – Summer 2016

The Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, seeks one or two diligent and enthusiastic law students with excellent research and writing skills to serve as a bankruptcy intern for Summer 2016.  The intern will work in Boston.  Prior bankruptcy experience or completion of a bankruptcy course is required.  The intern will be assigned to work with the bankruptcy Assistant United States Attorney within the Civil Division, which represents the United States, its agencies, and its employees in all types of bankruptcy cases filed in Massachusetts.  The internship is an unpaid position.  Prior to beginning an internship, all interns must successfully complete a security process/background investigation.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens.  To apply, please send your resume, writing sample, transcript (unofficial accepted) and a cover letter describing your interest to [email protected].  Applications must be submitted by February 15, 2016.

Bankruptcy Appeal to Watch: Robert Murphy v. Educational Credit Management Corp.

On 9:30 A.M. on December 10, 2015, the First Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Robert Murphy v. Educational Credit Management Corporation (1st Cir. Docket No. 14-1691), a case which has significant implications for student loan dischargeability litigation.  To read more about this case, including summaries of the parties’ arguments and briefs, please click here:  Bankruptcy Appeal To Watch. Robert Murphy v. Educational Credit Management Corp. (A3117424x7A575)

This summary was prepared by Alex Hess, Esq. of Sassoon & Cymrot, LLP.

 

Upcoming Lunch Bunch with US Trustees and Brown Bag Lunch of New Proof of Claim Forms

On December 3, 2015, the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee will host a Lunch Bunch with the Office of the US Trustee. The Lunch Bunch Program is an opportunity to sit in an informal setting with the United States Trustee’s office to learn about and discuss their current concerns.

This event will be held at the Law Library, 12th Floor, John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Lunch will be available to those who pre-register. Please register here.

Additionally, on December 8, 2015, a Brown Bag Lunch will be held at the BBA offices at 16 Beacon Street. The discussion will explore the changes to the proof of claim Forms that become effective on December 1, 2015 and what information to look for on the proof of claim form to determine total arrears. Jason Giguere, Esq. will be the featured speaker.

Lunch will be available to those who pre-register. Please register here.

 

 

 

Alert: Bankruptcy Court CM/ECF System to Shutdown Temporarily

Mark your calendars; the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts has announced that the CM/ECF system will be shutdown from 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 30 until 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1. The system will be shutdown to allow upgrades to accommodate the new Official Bankruptcy Forms. All attorneys should be prepared to use the new forms beginning December 1, 2015.

The Disclosure Statement previously posted a presentation on the new forms created by Walter Oney of Oney Law Office. The presentation is available here.

To view the full announcement from the court regarding the CM/ECF shutdown, including what to do if you need to file a document, please click here.

 

Case Summaries: the October 2015 Bankruptcy Court Opinions

The following are summaries of the October 2015 opinions posted on the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court’s website.

Baldiga v. Golemo (In re Golemo), A.P. No. 12-04017 (Bankr. D. Mass. Oct. 23, 2015) (Boroff, J.)

Well before the involuntary bankruptcy case commenced, a 1998 divorce decree ordered the Debtor to transfer his interest in four (4) properties to Ms. Golemo.  The properties were the sole form of alimony and child support for Ms. Golemo and their children.  Because the transfer of the property was never recorded, however, the Bankruptcy Court avoided the transfers and Ms. Golemo filed a $1 million claim against the estate.  In this opinion, the Bankruptcy Court held that a claim arising under § 502(h) retains the characteristics of the underlying claim against the debtor that gave rise to the avoided transfer; accordingly, Ms. Golemo’s § 502(h) claim constituted a priority domestic support obligation.  Further, the Bankruptcy Court found that the properties should be valued as of the petition date and not the date of the divorce decree.

In re Daniel P. Corbett, Case No. 11-13667-JNF (October 26, 2015)

Goodwill Enterprises, Inc. (“Goodwill”) filed a motion to modify a sale order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) that authorized and approved the private sale of the Chapter 7 trustee’s interest in Debtor’s LLC and a realty trust of which the LLC was the sole beneficiary.  Goodwill asserted that that sale cannot be free and clear of all interests and encumbrances because, as agreed in its lease, it had an enforceable right of first refusal.  Goodwill’s motion came almost three years after the Bankruptcy Court’s order because it never received notice, nor was the lease disclosed to the Bankruptcy Court.  To seek redress, Goodwill filed a Land Court complaint against the buyer contemporaneously with this motion to enforce its alleged rights.  In a detailed discussion regarding the supporting facts and Rule 60(b), the Bankruptcy Court abstains from ruling on the issues at hand, and instead defers to the Land Court to determine the outcome.

 

Contributions by:

Devon MacWilliam, Esq., Partridge Snow & Hahn

Aaron Todrin, Esq., Sassoon & Cymrot, LLP

 

Upcoming Brown Bag Lunch: Corrected Date

The Brown Bag Lunch on Directors and Officers Liability Insurance in the Bankruptcy Context will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from noon – 1:00 p.m. at the BBA.  To sign up, please click here.

Upcoming Brown Bag Lunch: Directors and Officers Liability Insurance in the Bankruptcy Context

Please join us on November 11th from noon – 1:00 pm at the BBA for a brown bag discussion about D&O liability insurance with a particular focus on its role in the bankruptcy context.

D&O insurance expert Brian Mukherjee from Goodwin Proctor will be leading the conversation.  After discussing the key components of a D&O insurance policy, Brian will focus on matters especially relevant to bankruptcy practitioners, including side A and DIC coverage, and the insured vs. insured exclusion.  Because this co-sponsored brown bag is sure to attract lawyers from diverse practice areas, the conversation will undoubtedly be both interesting and educational.  Join us!

Co–sponsored by the Insurance & Reinsurance and Professional Liability Committees of the Insurance and Tort Litigation Section

To sign up, please click here.