Thursday, December 9, 2010

Walking Away Isn't Limited To Borrowers

Although much has been made of borrowers' decisions to walk away from their mortgage obligations, a different form of abandonment - bank walkaways - has caught the attention of at least one federal entity.


According to a study published last month by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), bank walkaways, which occur when servicers abandon foreclosures, are extremely rare but nonetheless have a devastating effect on the communities where they are located. In total, the GAO estimates that walkaways made up less than 1% of all homes that became vacant between January 2008 and March 2010. Although they happen infrequently, bank walkaways are highly concentrated in a small number of areas. The areas of greatest concentration tend to be economically distressed communities, including Rust Belt cities like Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.

Walkaways - or charge-offs, as they are sometimes called - are typically associated with low-value assets. The economic reasoning for why a servicer might choose to abandon a foreclosure action, or to not even initiate one at all, is that the servicer does not expect that the proceeds from the sale of a real estate owned property (REO) will cover foreclosure and property-preservation costs.


In other examples, servicers, with investors' blessings, will forgo foreclosure if the principal balance of a loan in default is below a certain threshold and all relevant loss mitigation options have been exhausted. Freddie Mac, for instance, requires reviews for charge-offs on mortgages with balances less than $5,000. Freddie's cross-town sibling-in-conservatorship, Fannie Mae, formally stopped charging off loans in April.

As part of its study, the GAO interviewed six servicers - four large national platforms and two shops that specialize in nonprime mortgages. According to at least some of those servicers, properties valued between about $10,000 and $30,000 are considered charge-off eligible.

"Based on our reviews of bank regulatory guidance and discussions with federal and state officials, no laws or regulations exist that require servicers to complete foreclosure once the process has been initiated," the GAO report states. "Therefore, servicers can abandon the foreclosure process at any point."

Analyzing loan-file data from the six servicers, the GAO found that most walkaways - about 60% - happen before the foreclosure process is initiated. And in those instances, properties are more than twice as likely to be occupied at the time the decision not to pursue foreclosure has been made. But in the remaining 40% of charge-offs reviewed by the GAO, nearly half of the properties - 48% - were vacant at the point of charge-off.

In other words, the later the decision to charge off a loan is made, the more likely it is that the property will be vacant. This trend does not sit well with officials in the cities and counties where bank walkaways are most prevalent. Vacant properties, as has been well documented, promote crime and blight, as well as wreak havoc on cities' tax rolls.

"Charge-offs are going to be the reality" in some cases, said Steve Bancroft, executive director at the Detroit office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response, at the National P&P Conference in Washington, D.C., last month. "The issue is, how is the process done."

Bancroft wants to see servicers improve their communication of charge-off decisions to local officials, as doing so could promote the transfer of low-value properties into local hands. His office has piloted several programs in the past year that aim to curb vacancy levels in the city.

Another approach taken by an increasing number of communities is to institute land banks - quasi-public entities that rehabilitate, repurpose or demolish REOs that they inherit or buy from investors and servicers at deep discounts. In its report, the GAO suggests that land banks deter servicers from abandoning foreclosure actions because they provide servicers an additional option for REO disposition.

The land-bank movement is perhaps best exemplified by the city of Cleveland, which also happens to be a bank-walkaway hub. The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor metropolitan statistical area (MSA) recorded the third-highest level of abandoned foreclosures in the nation during the time period studied by the GAO. Only the Chicago and Detroit MSAs had higher volumes.

"We're really trying to get to the point where the major banks and servicers understand and recognize the fact that the vast majority of the properties they hold in the city of Cleveland are going to have to be charged off," Jim Rokakis, the land bank's chairman and Cuyahoga County treasurer, said at the National P&P Conference.

The objective for Bancroft, Rokakis and other similarly situated city officials is not to necessarily end the practice of charge-offs, but to end the practice of reckless charge-offs - the kind that, more often than not, result in vacant properties.

As part of its report, the GAO recommended that servicers be required to notify borrowers when foreclosure actions are stopped, as well as notify borrowers of their right to stay in their homes until a foreclosure has been completed. In response to this suggestion, the Federal Reserve said such notifications represent a "responsible and prudent business decision."

The GAO also recommended instituting a requirement for servicers to obtain updated property valuations before they initiate foreclosures.

Indiana App Ct Holds Noncompliance with HUD/FHA Regs is a Valid Defense to FHA Foreclosure Action

"It’s not getting any easier for lenders seeking foreclosure on delinquent FHA home loans in Indiana. In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a servicer’s noncompliance with HUD servicing regulations is a valid affirmative defense to the foreclosure of an FHA-insured mortgage. Lacy-McKinney v. Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortg. Corp., 2010 Ind. App. LEXIS 2161 (Ind. Ct. App. Nov. 19, 2010).

"The Federal Housing Administration operates a mortgage insurance program for the purpose of encouraging lenders to issue loans at favorable interest rates to otherwise ineligible borrowers. Participating lenders must comply with rules imposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including the servicing regulations contained at 24 CFR § 203.500 – § 203.681. These regulations include requirements that in certain default circumstances servicers may not immediately accelerate and foreclose, but must first meet face-to-face with borrowers prior to filing a foreclosure claim, accept partial payments, and engage in other timely loss mitigation efforts.

"The Indiana appellate court rejected the loan servicer’s argument that the HUD regulations apply only to the relationships between mortgagees and the government and that Congress did not intend for the regulations to be used by mortgagors as a private right of action or defense. Instead, the court found that public policy, the language of the regulations and precedents from other state courts supported its decision that a mortgagee’s satisfaction of HUD-imposed regulations is a binding condition precedent to its right to foreclose on an FHA-insured property. Finding that the servicer improperly refused the borrower’s partial payments and failed to conduct a face-to-face meeting prior to foreclosure, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the mortgagee and remanded the case for further proceedings. An appeal has not yet been filed.

"Although the Lacy-McKinney decision only allows the HUD regulations to be used by borrowers as a shield and not a sword, it is certain to attract attention from the growing number of attorneys specializing in the representation of borrowers facing foreclosure."

Loan Modification Guidelines in the Northern District of California

Loan Modification Guidelines in the Northern District of California


December 7, 2010

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA INSTITUTES GUIDELINES REGARDING RESIDENTIAL LOAN MODIFICATIONS ON RELIEF FROM STAY MOTIONS AND IN CHAPTER 11 AND CHAPTER 13 PLANS

Dear Insolvency Law Committee constituency list members:

Please be advised that on December 1, 2010, Guidelines governing

(a) first lien mortgage holders who are seeking relief from stay in Chapter 7 cases in which the debtor has sought a loan modification, and (b) Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 debtors who seek consensual modification of the first mortgage loans on their principal residences went into effect in the San Francisco and San Jose divisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. You can read the new Guidelines by clicking [HERE]

Disclosure Obligations Of Secured Creditors



Mortgage holders moving for relief must state on the cover sheet accompanying their motion (a) whether or not debtor has requested a loan modification prior to bankruptcy and/or the date any motion is filed, and (b) the status of the request.


Adequate Protection Options After Stay Relief Motion

As adequate protection, the court may set a deadline for the debtor to file a declaration describing (1) the date of such a modification request and to whom it was sent (attaching a copy of any transmittal letter, (2) the status of the request; and (3) the amount that is 31% of the debtor(s)' monthly gross income as shown on Schedule I.

The court may then set “an appropriate monthly payment amount, and in doing so may consider as adequate a monthly amount that is 31% of the debtor(s)' monthly gross income.” Such an adequate protection order will normally provide that, if the modification request is denied, the adequate protection payments will revert to the amount provided in the loan documents in the next calendar month and that the hearing may be restored to the calendar on ten days notice.

Modification In Connection With A Plan

A Chapter 11 or 13 plan premised upon a modification of a first mortgage loan secured by the debtor’s principal residence requires disclosure (by declaration in a Chapter 13 case or in the disclosure statement in a Chapter 11 case) of (1) the date of any modification request, (2) the status of such request, and (3) the present (unmodified) balances and total monthly payments on all claims secured by the debtor’s principal residence. Chapter 11 and 13 plans that propose to modify a first lien mortgage creditor's claim will not be confirmed until the modification has been approved by the first mortgage lender unless the plan provides that the secured creditor’s treatment reverts to the original contract terms if the modification request is denied. If a loan modification request remains pending when all other plan payments have been made, the case may be closed without a discharge.

Author’s Comment:

Guideline 10 makes it possible to confirm a plan while a modification request remains under consideration by a lender, but a potential trap for the unwary debtor exists in confirming a plan premised on approval of a modification. If the modification is denied, cash flow is not sufficient to make payments on the loan’s original terms, and the plan cannot be modified, then the debtor’s residence is likely to be lost after confirmation. Continuing to perform the plan may no longer make sense after such a loss. While a Chapter 13 debtor has an absolute right to dismiss under Bankruptcy Code section 1307(a), Chapter 11 debtors have no such right under Bankruptcy Code section 1112(b); a court must decide whether to convert even if dismissal is the debtor’s preference. In re Camden Ordnance Mfg. Co. of Arkansas, Inc., 245 B.R. 794, 803 (E.D. Pa. 2000). “. . . [T]he standard for evaluating a debtor’s motion to dismiss its own voluntary Chapter 11 is the ‘best interest of creditors and the estate,’ rather than ‘plain legal prejudice’ to the creditors.” Id. at 804. Absent a demonstrated ability to pay or otherwise accommodate creditor claims as a condition of dismissal, practitioners should endeavor to complete any loan modification before confirmation and ensure that the debtor is fully-advised of the risks of not doing so.



These materials were prepared by Robert G. Harris of Binder & Malter, LLP in Santa Clara



Thank you for your continued support of the Committee.



Best regards,



Insolvency Law Committee









The Insolvency Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar provides a forum for interested bankruptcy practitioners to act for the benefit of all lawyers in the areas of legislation, education and promoting efficiency of practice.For more information about the Business Law Standing Committees, please see the standing committee's web page: http://businesslaw.calbar.ca.gov/StandingCommittees.aspx

Loan Modification Guidelines in the Northern District of California

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA INSTITUTES GUIDELINES REGARDING RESIDENTIAL LOAN MODIFICATIONS ON RELIEF FROM STAY MOTIONS AND IN CHAPTER 11 AND CHAPTER 13 PLANS

Dear Insolvency Law Committee constituency list members:

Please be advised that on December 1, 2010, Guidelines governing

(a) first lien mortgage holders who are seeking relief from stay in Chapter 7 cases in which the debtor has sought a loan modification, and (b) Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 debtors who seek consensual modification of the first mortgage loans on their principal residences went into effect in the San Francisco and San Jose divisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California.

Disclosure Obligations Of Secured Creditors

Mortgage holders moving for relief must state on the cover sheet accompanying their motion (a) whether or not debtor has requested a loan modification prior to bankruptcy and/or the date any motion is filed, and (b) the status of the request.

Adequate Protection Options After Stay Relief Motion

As adequate protection, the court may set a deadline for the debtor to file a declaration describing (1) the date of such a modification request and to whom it was sent (attaching a copy of any transmittal letter, (2) the status of the request; and (3) the amount that is 31% of the debtor(s)' monthly gross income as shown on Schedule I.

The court may then set “an appropriate monthly payment amount, and in doing so may consider as adequate a monthly amount that is 31% of the debtor(s)' monthly gross income.” Such an adequate protection order will normally provide that, if the modification request is denied, the adequate protection payments will revert to the amount provided in the loan documents in the next calendar month and that the hearing may be restored to the calendar on ten days notice.

Modification In Connection With A Plan

A Chapter 11 or 13 plan premised upon a modification of a first mortgage loan secured by the debtor’s principal residence requires disclosure (by declaration in a Chapter 13 case or in the disclosure statement in a Chapter 11 case) of (1) the date of any modification request, (2) the status of such request, and (3) the present (unmodified) balances and total monthly payments on all claims secured by the debtor’s principal residence. Chapter 11 and 13 plans that propose to modify a first lien mortgage creditor's claim will not be confirmed until the modification has been approved by the first mortgage lender unless the plan provides that the secured creditor’s treatment reverts to the original contract terms if the modification request is denied. If a loan modification request remains pending when all other plan payments have been made, the case may be closed without a discharge.

Author’s Comment:

Guideline 10 makes it possible to confirm a plan while a modification request remains under consideration by a lender, but a potential trap for the unwary debtor exists in confirming a plan premised on approval of a modification. If the modification is denied, cash flow is not sufficient to make payments on the loan’s original terms, and the plan cannot be modified, then the debtor’s residence is likely to be lost after confirmation. Continuing to perform the plan may no longer make sense after such a loss. While a Chapter 13 debtor has an absolute right to dismiss under Bankruptcy Code section 1307(a), Chapter 11 debtors have no such right under Bankruptcy Code section 1112(b); a court must decide whether to convert even if dismissal is the debtor’s preference. In re Camden Ordnance Mfg. Co. of Arkansas, Inc., 245 B.R. 794, 803 (E.D. Pa. 2000). “. . . [T]he standard for evaluating a debtor’s motion to dismiss its own voluntary Chapter 11 is the ‘best interest of creditors and the estate,’ rather than ‘plain legal prejudice’ to the creditors.” Id. at 804. Absent a demonstrated ability to pay or otherwise accommodate creditor claims as a condition of dismissal, practitioners should endeavor to complete any loan modification before confirmation and ensure that the debtor is fully-advised of the risks of not doing so.

These materials were prepared by Robert G. Harris of Binder & Malter, LLP in Santa Clara












The Insolvency Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar provides a forum for interested bankruptcy practitioners to act for the benefit of all lawyers in the areas of legislation, education and promoting efficiency of practice.For more information about the Business Law Standing Committees, please see the standing committee's web page: http://businesslaw.calbar.ca.gov/StandingCommittees.aspx

Banks Suspend Foreclosure Evictions for Holidays

Leading the charge of big mortgage companies freezing foreclosures during the holiday season, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last week that they will not evict any homeowners for the rest of the year, MainStreet.com reported yesterday. The eviction freeze by both companies involves all single-family homes and two-to-four unit properties. "If the property is occupied, our foreclosure attorneys will suspend the eviction to provide a greater measure of certainty to families during the holidays," said Anthony Renzi, executive vice president of single family portfolio management at Freddie Mac. Suspending evictions in the holiday season is actually getting to be a regular occurrence for both Fannie and Freddie. Both companies did so in 2008 and 2009, despite a growing portfolio of delinquent mortgages. According to Fannie Mae's records, the government-sponsored enterprise now holds a 4.56 percent "serious delinquency rate" on its books, an amount totaling $798 billion as of Sept. 30, 2010.

http://www.mainstreet.com/article/real-estate/foreclosure/banks-suspend-foreclosure-evictions-holidays

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Bank of NY v Parnell -LA Sup Ct

The Supreme Court of Louisiana recently confirmed that a yield spread premium is not part of the “total points and fees payable by the consumer at or before closing” within the meaning of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA).

This case arises from an adjustable rate promissory note executed by Kathleen Johnson Parnell (Parnell), and secured by a mortgage on her home. The HUD-1 Settlement Statement prepared in connection with the loan closing noted that the lender paid the mortgage broker a YSP of $1,264. The HUD-1 stated that the YSP was “paid outside of closing.”

On June 19, 2003, Parnell demanded rescission under the federal Truth in Lending Act. Parnell claimed that her loan was subject to HOEPA, as the “points and fees charged in connection with her loan exceeded eight percent of the total loan amount.” She further claimed that she had not received certain disclosures required by HOEPA.

Following her demand, starting in September of 2003, Parnell stopped making the monthly payments due on her loan. The lender denied the demands made in Parnell’s June letter, as her points and fees totaled only 6.7 percent of the total loan amount by its calculation. The owner of the loan sought to seize and sell Parnell’s house in response to her failure to make payments on her promissory note. However, the note secured by the mortgage was later paid in full on June 26, 2006, from insurance proceeds following Hurricane Katrina.

In September of 2008, the loan owner filed a motion for summary judgment as to all claims asserted by Parnell in her June 2003 letter. The trial court held that the YSP paid by the lender to the mortgage broker “outside of closing” is “not included in HOEPA’s “point and fees” calculation” because “it was not paid or payable by Parnell at the time of closing.” Therefore, the trial court granted the Bank’s motion for summary judgment, and dismissed Parnell’s petition with prejudice. Parnell appealed this decision.

The court of appeals reversed the portion of the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment relating to Parnell’s HOEPA claim. The court of appeals “adopted a consumer-oriented view to HOEPA and a related regulation, Regulation Z.” Under this interpretation, the court found that “payable”, in relation to the YSP, meant “legally enforceable or obligated to pay rather than paid.” Therefore, “Parnell was legally obligated to pay the yield spread amount at or before closing” because of her obligation to pay a higher rate of interest during the life of the loan. This inclusion of the YSP in the points and fees calculation made the loan subject to HOEPA’s disclosure requirements.



The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed. The Court noted that “the phrase “points and fees” includes all compensation paid to mortgage brokers and excludes interest,” but “all “points and fees” must be “payable by the consumer at or before closing.”



Therefore, the Court held that while the statute itself and relevant case law sought to prevent “allowing lenders and financial institutions to manipulate the payment of points and fees . . . to avoid triggering the HOEPA protections”, the Board’s Official Staff Commentary clearly stated that “mortgage broker fees that are not paid by the consumer” are not included in calculating points and fees under HOEPA.



Thus, the Court held that, in cases where “the YSP is paid by the lender to the broker at the time of closing” and the borrower satisfies their obligation by paying a higher interest rate “over the course of the loan,” the YSP should not be included “in the calculation of the eight percent trigger.”

Foreclosure From Hell

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703865004575648900250047766.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop

FDIC TIP- Advance-Fee Loan Scams: ‘Easy’ Cash Offers Teach Hard Lessons

Advance-Fee Loan Scams: ‘Easy’ Cash Offers Teach Hard Lessons


Looking for a loan or credit card but don’t think you’ll qualify? Turned down by a bank because of your poor credit history?

You may be tempted by ads and websites that guarantee loans or credit cards, regardless of your credit history. The catch comes when you apply for the loan or credit card and find out you have to pay a fee in advance. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, that could be a tip-off to a rip-off. If you’re asked to pay a fee for the promise of a loan or credit card, you can count on the fact that you’re dealing with a scam artist. More than likely, you’ll get an application, or a stored value or debit card, instead of the loan or credit card.

The Signs of an Advance-Fee Loan Scam

The FTC says some red flags can tip you off to scam artists’ tricks. For example:

A lender who isn’t interested in your credit history. A lender may offer loans or credit cards for many purposes — for example, so a borrower can start a business or consolidate bill payments. But one who doesn’t care about your credit record should give you cause for concern. Ads that say “Bad credit? No problem” or “We don’t care about your past. You deserve a loan” or “Get money fast” or even “No hassle — guaranteed” often indicate a scam.

Banks and other legitimate lenders generally evaluate creditworthiness and confirm the information in an application before they guarantee firm offers of credit — even to creditworthy consumers.

Fees that are not disclosed clearly or prominently. Scam lenders may say you’ve been approved for a loan, then call or email demanding a fee before you can get the money. Any up-front fee that the lender wants to collect before granting the loan is a cue to walk away, especially if you’re told it’s for “insurance,” “processing,” or just “paperwork.”

Legitimate lenders often charge application, appraisal, or credit report fees. The differences? They disclose their fees clearly and prominently; they take their fees from the amount you borrow; and the fees usually are paid to the lender or broker after the loan is approved.

It’s also a warning sign if a lender says they won’t check your credit history, yet asks for your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number. They may use your information to debit your bank account to pay a fee they’re hiding.

A loan that is offered by phone. It is illegal for companies doing business in the U.S. by phone to promise you a loan and ask you to pay for it before they deliver.

A lender who uses a copy-cat or wanna-be name. Crooks give their companies names that sound like well-known or respected organizations and create websites that look slick. Some scam artists have pretended to be the Better Business Bureau or another reputable organization, and some even produce forged paperwork or pay people to pretend to be references. Always get a company’s phone number from the phone book or directory assistance, and call to check they are who they say they are. Get a physical address, too: a company that advertises a PO Box as its address is one to check out with the appropriate authorities.

A lender who is not registered in your state. Lenders and loan brokers are required to register in the states where they do business. To check registration, call your state Attorney General’s office or your state’s Department of Banking or Financial Regulation. Checking registration does not guarantee that you will be happy with a lender, but it helps weed out the crooks.

A lender who asks you to wire money or pay an individual. Don’t make a payment for a loan or credit card directly to an individual; legitimate lenders don’t ask anyone to do that. In addition, don’t use a wire transfer service or send money orders for a loan. You have little recourse if there’s a problem with a wire transaction, and legitimate lenders don’t pressure their customers to wire funds.

Finally, just because you’ve received a slick promotion, seen an ad for a loan in a prominent place in your neighborhood or in your newspaper, on television or on the Internet, or heard one on the radio, don’t assume it’s a good deal — or even legitimate. Scam artists like to operate on the premise of legitimacy by association, so it’s really important to do your homework.

Finding Low-Cost Help for Credit Problems

If you have debt problems, try to solve them with your creditors as soon as you realize you won’t be able to make your payments. If you can’t resolve the problems yourself or need help to do it, you may want to contact a credit counseling service. Nonprofit organizations in every state counsel and educate people and families on debt problems, budgeting, and using credit wisely. Often, these services are low- or no-cost. Universities, military bases, credit unions, and housing authorities also may offer low- or no-cost credit counseling programs. To learn more about dealing with debt, including how to select a credit counseling service, visit ftc.gov/credit.

Where to Complain

If you think you’ve had an experience with an advance-fee loan scam, report it to the FTC.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a new video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Three Cheers for Chelsea Handler

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/06/chelsea-handler-angelina-_n_792423.html

You GO Girl!!!

Resume Tips for Oldies (That's You--Baby Boomers)

Recently, AOL Jobs offered some tips for older job seekers about how to make resumes fresh and alluring. Here's Vivia Chen's  adaptation of those tips for you baby-boomer lawyers:


1. Don't describe yourself as a lawyer with "X-number of years of experience" or use phrases like "seasoned" litigator. Both terms suggest that you really are an old fogey.

2. Don't use outdated phrases like "references available upon request" or "responsible for" or "duties included." And avoid calling yourself an "out-of-the-box thinker." All those terms suggest you are simply out of it.

3. Emphasize current expertise. Some lawyers can't help themselves but list every document they've ever gotten their hands on. But resist that urge and focus on one or two areas of expertise.

4. Briefly list a history of jobs and employers. "Account for early work experience to keep the chronology consistent and transparent, but abbreviate this experience when possible." Legal recruiter Dan Binstock also advocates giving a brief reason for leaving each job, because, he says, "it makes it easier for employers to understand the move." For instance, if you got laid off because of the economy, you should mention that you had received "top reviews and billed 2,200 hours" until the slowdown, says Binstock.

5. Disclose graduation dates, but keep the education section "subtle and brief." Lawyers, more than other professionals, love to sniff out gaps, so face the music. Dropping the class year, warns Binstock, "sends the message that the person is insecure" and "reduces the trust factor."

6. Make your extra curricular activities sound dynamic. "Hobbies that suggest a vibrant and healthy lifestyle may help counter any potential age bias. So if you are an avid runner, skier, triathlete, etc., go ahead and include this information on your resume." I'd add that Pilates and martial arts are probably fine too, though I'd eliminate any reference to aerobics (smacks of Jane Fonda workout tapes from the 1980s).

The sad truth, though, is that firms and companies do screen out candidates because of age. "No one wants to admit it, but there's a lot of discrimination on the age end," says Binstock.

But in the law firm market, at least, age doesn't matter as long as you've got clients. In that case, you could be on a respirator and still find a warm home. "It all comes down to portable business," sums up Binstock.

Bk Case Update

In re Stokes

Post-petition property taxes are administrative claims which must be paid in full when the plan provides that property does not vest in the debtor until discharge or closing.