Notice of Proposed Amendments to the Massachusetts Local Bankruptcy Rules

The United States Bankruptcy Court, with the valuable assistance of the Attorney Advisory Committee chaired by Chief Judge Frank J. Bailey and Judge Melvin S. Hoffman, has drafted  proposed amendments to the Massachusetts Local Bankruptcy Rules.

Comments are invited, and should be submitted to Chief Judge Frank J. Bailey, United States Bankruptcy Court, J.W. McCormack Post Office and Court House, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 1150 and to the Hon. Melvin S. Hoffman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Harold D. Donohue Federal Building and Courthouse, 595 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608 no later than March 8, 2012. Those who wish to email their comments should do so at fjb@mab.uscourts.gov and msh@mab.uscourts.gov.

Call for Volunteers

The BBA Bankruptcy Law Section is seeking volunteer authors to contribute case summaries and other content for posting on the Section’s blog.  The Section is also seeking volunteers to serve on its editorial/mentor blog board.  The board will coordinate with the author pool to solicit and review content.  If you are interested, please contact the Section co-chairs for more information.

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES IN SUPPORT OF THE BANKRUPTCY SECTION’S VETERANS INITIATIVE

1.    On Saturday March 21, 2012, the Bankruptcy Section has been was asked to lead a 1.5 hour session on financial education at a Veteran’s retreat in conjunction with its continuing outreach to Veterans in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Veteran’s Services.  The retreat is for military veterans, and their families, who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.  The retreat, called Project New Hope, is organized by local Lions Clubs and will be taking place in Groton Massachusetts. The session will be supported by a Power Point Presentation that has been prepared by the Section and which highlights issues concerning credit card debt, mortgages and bankruptcy.  It is truly a privilege to be asked to assist these individuals and we hope you might be able to participate as a volunteer.  Contact Donald Lassman at Don@LassmanLaw.com if you are interested in participating. 

2.   On Wednesday February 1, 2012 and Friday February 17, 2012, the Bankruptcy Section has been asked  to lead a sessions on financial education at the Knights of Columbus in Wilmington Massachusetts (2/1/12 session) and at the Leominster Veterans Center in Leominster, Ma. (2/17/12 session).  Both sessions will start at 7:00 p.m. and typically run for 1.5 – 2 hours.   Both session will be supported by a Power Point Presentation that has been prepared by the Section and which highlights issues concerning credit card debt, mortgages and bankruptcy.  It is truly a privilege to be asked to assist these individuals and we hope you might be able to participate as a volunteer.  Contact Donald Lassman at Don@LassmanLaw.com if you are interested in participating. 

Veterans Volunteer Opportunity – February 1 and February 17, 2012

The Massachusetts Department of Veteran’s Services and the Bankruptcy Section of the Boston Bar Association are teaming up to provide financial education to Military Personnel, Veterans and their Family Members.  Two sessions are planned:   February 1 in Wilmington and February 17 in Leominster. Each session starts at 7 pm. The sessions will present useful information about debt, credit, bankruptcy, foreclosures and related topics.
A power point presentation prepared by members of the Bankruptcy Section will be followed by a question and answer session. Anybody interested in participating should contact Don Lassman at  Don@Lassmanlaw.com or Mark Rossi at  mcr@esher-rossi.com.   Thank you.

Upcoming Brown Bag Lunches

The November Brown Bag Luncheon will be held on November 8, 2011 from 12:00 to 1:30  and will focus on Amendments to the Federal Bankruptcy Rules effective December 1, 2011 .  The guest speakers will be John Rao discussing Rule 3001 changes and the new 3002.1; James Wilton and James Wright discussing Rule 2019, and John Fitzgerald from the US Trustee’s Office.  To RSVP for the 11/8 program, please click here.

Adrienne Walker will be hosting December 13’s brown bag luncheon beginning at 12:00.  The subject matter will be municipal bankruptcy filings. Further information will be posted when available.

BAP Holds Time-Barred Section 707 Motion To Dismiss is Insufficient to Deny Debtor’s Rule 4004(c) Motion for Discharge – By Dan Lake

Rosado v. Pablos, No. PR 10-080, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 3008 (B.A.P. 1st Cir. Aug. 10, 2011) (per curiam)

The United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit reversed the bankruptcy court’s denial of the debtor’s request for entry of a discharge and vacated its order dismissing the debtor’s case. The bankruptcy court granted several extensions of the deadlines for filing a Section 727 complaint objecting to discharge. Despite the extensions, no objections to discharge were filed. After the expiration of the objection deadlines, the Trustee filed a report of no distribution. Subsequently, the debtor filed his personal financial management certification and a motion requesting that the court enter his discharge. Before the court entered the debtor’s discharge, certain creditors filed a Section 707(a) motion to dismiss on the grounds that the debtor commenced his case in bad faith. The debtor filed a second motion for entry of his discharge, which the bankruptcy court denied. The debtor sought reconsideration, which the bankruptcy court also denied. The debtor then sought leave to appeal from the BAP, which relief the BAP denied as interlocutory. The debtor’s case was ultimately dismissed pursuant to the Section 707(a) motion. The debtor appealed the dismissal of his case and the denial of his requests for a discharge.

Under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4004(c), a court shall grant a discharge upon expiration of the times fixed for filing objections to discharge and motions to dismiss under Rule 1017(e)(1) unless an exception applies. Rule 4004(c)(1)(D) permits a court to delay entry of a debtor’s discharge if a Section 707 motion to dismiss is pending. Certain creditors did file a Section 707(a) motion to dismiss; however, no such motion was pending when the times fixed for filing objections to discharge or motions to dismiss under Rule 1017(e) expired. The only pending complaints at that time were Section 523 complaints, which are insufficient to delay a discharge from entering under Rule 4004(c). Because the bankruptcy court had no basis under 4004(c) to deny or delay entry of the debtor’s discharge, the court abused its discretion by denying the debtor’s motion for entry of his discharge.