Document Retention Rules in Bankruptcy: Holding Onto the Past

Holding onto the past (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L. Swanson Do you have any fuddy-duddies in the family holding onto the past: they refuse to get a computer or smart phone or to use email or text messaging? If so, family communications require someone to pass-on information by snail mail or telephone—if anyone bothers... Continue Reading →

The “Honest But Unfortunate Debtor”: An Old And Still-Evolving Concept

By: Donald L Swanson The phrase, “honest but unfortunate debtor," has been a part of bankruptcy laws for centuries. A bankruptcy treatise published in 1801, for example, says that bankruptcy laws in England and the U.S. "are meant to protect an honest but unfortunate trader." [Fn. 1] No one knows when or how the phrase began.... Continue Reading →

Punishing Honest Debtors: The Travesty of BAPCPA

By: Donald L Swanson One of the travesties of our current bankruptcy laws is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (aka “BAPCPA”). Here’s why BAPCPA is a travesty: The Bankruptcy Code (enacted in 1978), (i) recognized the existence of honest but unfortunate debtors, and (ii) presumed each individual debtor to be just... Continue Reading →

Chicago Exercising Control Over Debtor Vehicles: To the U.S. Supreme Court?

By: Donald L Swanson [UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case on December 18, 2019.] The bankruptcy proceeding is City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton, with a Petition for certiorari pending before the U.S. Supreme Court (Case No. 19-357). The dispute is over City of Chicago refusing to surrender possession of impounded vehicles upon... Continue Reading →

The Crazy-Season for Student Loans is Nearly Here . . . Again!

By Donald L. Swanson The crazy-season is when millions of people incur easily-obtained student loans they can’t afford, for another semester of college.  That time is nearly here, again, as a new school semester begins after the turn of the year. An even-crazier part is this: the U.S. Government guarantees payment of those unaffordable loans—which is... Continue Reading →

The Haven Act: A Great Law That Exposes A Really-Bad Bankruptcy Policy

By: Donald L. Swanson The Haven Act is short for: “Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019.”  It is a newly-enacted law of the land. The Haven Act does a great and valuable thing for many of our military veterans: it allows middle class veterans to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, instead of being stuck for... Continue Reading →

Student Loan Crisis: High-Price Colleges Support Beautiful Campuses (and Other Luxuries) on the Backs of their Students

By:  Donald L. Swanson “Back when I was in school . . .” This is a tired-old phrase, usually followed by tales of hardship. The Olden Days But here’s an opposite twist: Back when I was in college (during the 1970s), you could actually pay your way through, with little-to-no debt, by working part-time jobs... Continue Reading →

Congress Decided to Punish Consumer Debtors and Failed Entrepreneurs in BAPCPA — This is Terrible Policy!

By: Donald L. Swanson U.S. politicians love to talk about helping poor people—unless, that is, the poor owe money that can’t be repaid. U.S. politicians also love to talk about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs—unless, that is, the small business or entrepreneur owes money that can’t be repaid. When uncollectible debts are involved, politicians turn surly... Continue Reading →

A Study on Effects of “Apology” on Plan Confirmation in Consumer Bankruptcies

By: Donald L. Swanson “Using a sample of U.S. bankruptcy judges,” this study “asks whether a bankrupt consumer improves her situation by apologizing for breaching her promises.” From a 2013 “Bankruptcy Apologies“ study by two professors from the University of Illinois College of Law [Fn. 1]. An “apology” can be a factor (often a decisive one)... Continue Reading →

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