A bankruptcy trustee’s allegedly aggressive questioning of a debtor’s English-speaking skills is the subject of a complaint on file with a federal bankruptcy watchdog, a legal publication has reported.
The New York Law Journal Monday reported that consumer bankruptcy attorney William Ward Saxton filed a complaint against bankruptcy trustee John S. Pereira, accusing him of berating a debtor about her ability to understand English at a meeting in her bankruptcy case last month.
The NYLJ (subscription required) describes the letter thusly:
According to Saxton’s letter, when the debtor’s attorney during the July 16 hearing requested an interpreter for the client, a U.S. citizen, Pereira demanded to know how the debtor was able to pass an American citizenship exam if she did not understand English.
He also demanded to know how the debtor was able to communicate with her attorney and understand and sign a bankruptcy petition in English, the letter said. A friend of the debtor told Pereira that she explained everything to the debtor in Spanish.
Saxton wrote that Pereira moved to adjourn the case. But Saxton, who was awaiting his client’s case to be called, stood up and told Pereira that he could not adjourn and that he violated the debtor’s civil rights.
The NYLJ further quotes Mr. Saxton’s letter: