The New York Times ran an article--  not an opinion piece, but an article -- last week entitled "Study Finds Local Taxes Hit Lower Wage Earners Harder".  It is a superficial summary of a report that is published every few years by a progressive think tank, The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ("ITEP"), which the article laughably describes as "nonpartisan".  The institute's board of directors includes Robert Reich, former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor and a Berkeley academic, Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect, a leading progressive periodical and website, and other well-known progressives or associates of other progressive organizations.  The ITEP staff bios show that, with few exceptions, they have spent their entire adult lives inside the beltway or in surrounding states, beginning, in the main, with getting a degree (in what is usually not specified), at Georgetown or GWU, or perhaps as far away as UVa or U of Md.  Their bios cite prior contributions to the New York Times and the New Republic, but not a single publication of a

Necessary and Proper
(posted 3 days 17 min ago)

Authored by Michael S. Waskiewicz and Armando Nozzolillo and Michael S. Waskiewicz and Armando Nozzolillo of Rogers TowersIn Florida, it is well settled that a Chapter 7 debtor who does not claim or receive the benefit of the homestead exemption on his bankruptcy schedules is entitled to claim the “wildcard” exemption pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 222.25(4).  The “wildcard” exemption provides that a debtor can exempt up to $4,000 in personal property if the debtor does not “claim or receive the benefit of” the homestead exemption under Article X, Section 4(a)(1) of the Florida Constitution.  This issue recently came up in the context of a Chapter 13.
In Littleton, co-debtors filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.  In their schedules, the co-debtors listed residential property valued at $127,000 with a mortgage of $140,000.  The co-debtors chose not to claim the homestead exemption for the residential property.  Instead, the co-debtors chose to exempt certain personal property pursuant to the “wildcard” exemption.  In their Chapter 13 plan, the co-debtors proposed to retain the residential property and pay their mortgage outside of their plan.

Florida Banking Law Blog
(posted 3 days 47 min ago)

Even if arbitration does turn out to be beneficial for many consumers, Americans should not lose their constitutional right to a day in court without being aware that they are doing so.

(posted 3 days 1 hour ago)

A federal appeals court in New York on Wednesday said a paperwork mistake rendered a $1.5 billion bank loan made years ago to struggling General Motors Co. an unsecured debt, rather than a secured loan. The Wall Street Journal has the Daily Bankruptcy Review article here.
(Daily Bankruptcy Review is a daily newsletter with comprehensive coverage and analysis of emerging and in-progress insolvencies and turnarounds. For a two-week trial, visit our homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tapped an emergency manager for daily operation of Atlantic City, WSJ reports. Bankruptcy Beat
(posted 3 days 1 hour ago)

Davis Polk partner Ed FitzGerald and I spoke in December with Tapestry’s Compensation Committee Leadership Network (CCLN) on forthcoming SEC executive compensation rules, as summarized in this Tapestry Viewpoints. The CCLN brings together a select group of compensation committee chairs from prominent companies to discuss ways to improve the performance of their companies and communicate effectively with shareholders through their compensation committee work.

(posted 3 days 1 hour ago)

Breaking News This Morning ...

Earnings: KeyCorp, Huntington, BB&T, BankUnited Receiving Wide Coverage ...

European QE: The European Central Bank is expected to launch a quantitative-easing program that could include the purchase of about 50 billion euros worth of bonds each month (equivalent to about $58 billion). Europe hasn't embarked on a QE program during the recent years of economic tumult. But the state of the continent's fragile economy prompted the move, said Matteo Renzi, Italy's prime minister....

(posted 3 days 2 hours ago)

Shutterstock_120243664In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Obama talked a lot about job creation. I am all for growing the economy and creating more U.S. jobs, but I also am for saving jobs and keeping people employed at U.S. companies, even if those companies fall upon hard financial times.

Credit Slips
(posted 3 days 5 hours ago)

Reading today's "ABI Daily Headlines Delivered" email, I see another disclosure of fraudulent submissions in relation to asbestos claims against a manufacturer forced into bankruptcy by such claims.

The email links, after you get through the ABI paywall, to a Reuters story about the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy, presided over by USBJ George Hodges, who has done the country a great service by respecting the debtor's allegations of fraud and allowing them to be investigated, when many other judges prefer to see the parties reach a deal of any kind so that the pendency of the case does not forestall the receipt of compensation by the truly injured.
As the District Court to which his court is appended wrote last year, 
"After hearing evidence from fifteen settled cases, Judge Hodges found that Garlock’s [pre-petition] settlements were not a reliable predictor of liability because misrepresentation had infected them:

Necessary and Proper
(posted 3 days 18 hours ago)

PencilCulminating a two-year appeals process, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit just ruled that the statement filed to terminate a financing statement perfecting a security interest was effective.

Credit Slips
(posted 3 days 20 hours ago)

The automatic stay is a powerful tool of the Bankruptcy Code, affording debtors a breathing spell from creditors seeking payment. Section 362(k)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code reinforces the stay by allowing individual debtors to recover actual and punitive damages for willful violations.
We’ve covered several decisions analyzing what constitutes an automatic stay violation and the remedy for such a violation. Violations come in many forms. For instance, courts have found harvesting cranberries on a debtor’s farm to be a stay violation and that computer error can constitute a willful violation. Recently, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina held that suspension of the individual debtors’ wholesale warehouse club membership was a stay violation. In awarding sanctions for a stay violation, the court in In re Heeley analyzed what constituted a willful violation and what remedy was proper.

(posted 3 days 22 hours ago)