8th Annual Young Bar Meets Bankruptcy Bench Event a Success

On April 6, 2015, new members of the Boston bankruptcy bar, together with numerous law students, gathered at the Boston Bar Association to participate in the 8th Annual Young Bar Meets the Bankruptcy Bench event. As in past years, the program was well attended and received the robust support of the Massachusetts bankruptcy bench. All of the bankruptcy judges from the District of Massachusetts were in attendance – Judge Bailey, Judge Boroff, Judge Feeney, Judge Hillman, and Chief Judge Hoffman. The Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court, James Lynch, also participated. The program kicked off with an informative question and answer session covering topics such as written presentations, oral argument, and careers in bankruptcy practice. Thereafter, the participants had the opportunity to engage with the judges in an intimate round table format. The program was co-chaired by Ben Chapman of Brown Rudnick and David Koha of Casner & Edwards, who also co-chair the Boston Bar Association Bankruptcy Section’s New Bankruptcy Lawyers Committee.

Upcoming Bankruptcy Events

Several exciting bankruptcy-related events are taking place in and around Boston in the coming weeks, including:

The American College of Bankruptcy’s The World of Insolvency, a panel discussion on the importance of effective domestic and cross-border insolvency and creditor-debtor regimes to commerce and economic growth. The program will be held at Boston College Law School in Newton, MA from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on March 20, 2015. Please click here for more information and to register.

A Lunch Bunch session with Judge Joan N. Feeney will be held at the US Bankruptcy Court in Boston on April 2, 2015, at 11:45 a.m. For more information and to register, please click here.

The Young Bar Meets Bankruptcy Bench event has been rescheduled for April 6, 2015, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The program will focus on practical skills and issues particularly important for those in their first ten years of practice. For more information and to register, please click here.

Student Loan Debt and Bankruptcy: Addressing the Problem and Finding Solutions, a CLE program, will be held on April 10, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the offices of the Boston Bar Association. Click here for more information and to register.

New Standing Orders Change Local Rules for Professional Fees and Prepetition Retainers in Chapter 13 Cases

The Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts has adopted two new standing orders, which became effective on March 1, 2015. The first, Standing Order 2015-1, alters Massachusetts Local Bankruptcy Rule 13-7 on professional fees and prepetition retainers. Among other changes, counsel may use a new form, Official Local Form 17, to file an application for compensation in amounts less than $10,000 but above $3,500 prior to entry of a confirmation order or above $500 after the entry of a confirmation order. The second, Standing Order 2015-2, adds the new Form 17 to the Massachusetts Local Bankruptcy Rules.

The new Standing Orders may be viewed here: http://www.mab.uscourts.gov/mab/news/standing-orders-2015-01-2015-02

March 10 Brown Bag Event: The Ever-Changing Landscape of Chapter 13 — Updates from the Chapter 13 Trustee

Join the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee for its most anticipated brown bag of the year — Updates from the Chapter 13 Trustee!  Carolyn Bankowski, Chapter 13 Trustee, will highlight recent developments in the case law, point out some common pitfalls for debtors and their attorneys, and suggest best practices.  Carolyn’s presentations are always extraordinarily helpful.  So bring your questions and come learn how to perfect your Chapter 13 practice!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the BBA

For additional details and to register for the event please click on the following link:


CLE – Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Reform is in the Air

In December 2014, after three year of study, the American Bankruptcy Institute’s (ABI) Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reform Commission released 400 pages of recommendations to reform Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Come to the BBA on February 24 (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.) for an update on the efforts, status and results of the report.

Please click here to register for the program.

First Circuit Issues Opinion on the Discharge of Tax Debt Related to Late-Filed Returns

Fahey v. Mass. Dep’t of Revenue (In re Fahey), No. 14-1328 (1st Cir. Feb. 18, 2015).

Perkins v. Mass. Dep’t of Revenue (In re Perkins), No. 14-1350 (1st Cir. Feb. 18, 2015).

Gonzalez v. Mass. Dep’t of Revenue (In re Gonzalez), No. 14-9002 (1st Cir. Feb. 18, 2015).

Brown v. Mass. Dep’t of Revenue (In re Brown), No. 14-9003 (1st Cir. Feb. 18, 2015).


In a 2-1 decision the First Circuit has followed the Fifth and Tenth Circuits in holding that a late-filed state income tax return cannot qualify as a “return” for the purposes of the so-called “hanging paragraph” added to section 523(a) by the BAPCPA amendments, with the result that the tax debt relating to that return can never be discharged, section 523(a)(1)(B)(ii) notwithstanding.  In so holding the First Circuit overturned two BAP decisions (and three bankruptcy court decisions) and upheld two district court decisions (and one bankruptcy court).  The decision construed Massachusetts law (though it would seemingly have reached the same result with respect to all state and federal taxes where a return has a due date) in making a determination that a late-filed state return is not a return for the purposes of the hanging paragraph because the return does not satisfy the paragraph’s definition, i.e., that a return must satisfy “the requirements of applicable nonbankruptcy law (including applicable filing requirements).”  To the extent there’s an “out” to be found in the decision, debtors might try hanging their hat on two footnotes in which the court appears to leave the door open to the argument that a late-filed return, though not a return, could still constitute an “equivalent report or notice” under section 523(a)(1)(B).

Contributed by:

Nathan R. Soucy
Soucy Law Office
755 Dutton Street
Lowell, Massachusetts 01854
Tel: (978) 905-8010
[email protected]

Judge William Hillman to Retire; Bankruptcy Merit Selection Panel Appointed

On January 30, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a Press Release:

Judge William Hillman to Retire; Bankruptcy Merit Selection Panel Appointed

Chief Judge Sandra Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has announced the formation of a Bankruptcy Merit Selection Panel to screen and review the qualifications of applicants for a forthcoming vacant bankruptcy judgeship in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Honorable William C. Hillman, who has served as a bankruptcy judge in the District of Massachusetts in Boston since 1991, has announced his retirement, effective August 14, 2015. The First Circuit Judicial Council has approved Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge Melvin S. Hoffman’s request to change his duty station from Worcester to Boston, also effective on August 14, 2015. Consequently, the bankruptcy judgeship vacancy to be filled will occur in Worcester.

Click below for the complete Press Release:

First Circuit Press Release (S0503875x7A7A4)

Applications are to be postmarked by Monday, March 16, 2015.  For more information on the application, when visiting the First Circuit’s website, go to the tab “About the Court” and then the “Employment” link.


Contributions Sought for Commemorative Book Celebrating the 25th Annual Bench/Bar

In 1991, the BBA Bankruptcy Section held its first Bench Meets Bar program.  The Section will celebrate 25 continuous years of that signature event later this year.  An editorial board is working to prepare a commemorative book for distribution at the 25th annual Bench Meets Bar event on May 15, 2015.  If you have any photographs, interesting, brief reminisces or other material from the practice of bankruptcy law in the district over that period of time, please contact Nina Parker at [email protected] before February 25, 2015.  Thank you!

Lunch Bunch with Judge Hillman – Thursday, February 5th from 11:45AM to 12:45PM

Lunch Bunch with Judge Hillman – Thursday, February 5th from 11:45AM to 12:45PM.

The Consumer Bankruptcy Committee will be hosting Judge Hillman at its February Lunch Bunch session in the library of the Bankruptcy Court (12th Floor of the McCormack Building in Post Office Square).  Come hear Judge Hillman share his insights from the bench and answer our most burning bankruptcy questions, all while networking with your colleagues.  Plus a free lunch?  It’s kinda a no brainer!   Sign up here:  https://www.bostonbar.org/membership/events/event-details?ID=17824