Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Obama Care Another Way to Screw the Middle Class

Starting January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act will guarantee coverage for all Americans and offer tax credits to reduce premiums for millions of consumers nationwide. Are you one of them?

If your household income is below or around these amounts, you may be eligible.

Ok so I go to this formula but in married joint taxes employer offers insurance. (Mind you the formula does not take into account how much the employer pays, the quality of the coverage, out of pocket expenses, deductibles....  and this is the result

Based on the information you entered and estimated premiums in your state, you are likely ineligible for a government subsidy for the following reason(s):

> Your household income is too high for you to receive lower health insurance premiums through the Public Exchange. (uh you didn't ask me my household income)

> You are offered coverage by your employer that meets the minimum value standards, and your share of the cost is not more than 9.5% of your household income.  Not if you take in account out of pocket expenses, deductibles.... 

If you select no when it asks about your employer offering healthcare then  it asks you a question regarding income and then it comes up with :

Public Exchange

Based on the information you entered, you will likely be eligible for a tax credit to lower your health insurance premiums.

As a result, one of our Benefits Counselors can assist you in applying for the subsidy and for coverage on the Public Exchange (i.e Federally Facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace).
*Disclaimer: The premium and subsidy amounts displayed are estimates only and are not specific to your area of the state, which may impact premiums. The actual amounts of subsidy eligibility may differ and is dependent on completing the Federal application. This Member Benefits Eligibility Estimator is not intended to be relied upon for legal or tax advice.


  1. Welcome to reality, Obama freaks!! A comment posted on the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare FB page:

    "I actually made it through this morning at 8:00 A.M. I have a preexisting condition (Type 1 Diabetes) and my income base was 45K-55K annually I chose tier 2 "Silver Plan" and my monthly premiums came out to $597.00 with $13,988 yearly deductible!!! There is NO POSSIBLE way that I can afford this so ...I "opt-out" and chose to continue along with no insurance. I received an email tonight at 5:00 P.M. informing me that my fine would be $4,037 and could be attached to my yearly income tax return. Then you make it to the "REPERCUSSIONS PORTION" for "non-payment" of yearly fine.

    First, your drivers license will be suspended until paid, and if you go 24 consecutive months with "Non-Payment" and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home. You can agree to give your bank information so that they can easy "Automatically withdraw" your "penalties" weekly, bi-weekly or monthly! This by no means is "Free" or even "Affordable."

    This was posted by a friend of mine to my facebook page yesterday.


Residential Capital LLC, the mortgage lender controlled by government-owned finance company Ally Financial Inc., wants to pay a $2 million bonus to its chief restructuring officer for shepherding the company through bankruptcy.  These are the people who took over GMAC Mortgage.  Oh yeah they are in Ch 11 bankruptcy in case you missed it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Obama Care

On average across all comers, a benchmark "silver" plan will cost $373 a month in California, $328 in Florida and $305 in Texas.

For example, a family of four in Jackson, Miss., with an income of $50,000 would have to pay $1,200 a month for a "silver" plan if they didn't qualify for government help -- although they'd pay just $282 after the federal tax credit they almost certainly would qualify for. For the cheapest "bronze" plans, the average deductible was $5,000. The federal government will pay for part of the premiums. The government will help pay the premiums for anyone making up to about $46,000 for an individual and as much as $94,000 for a family of four.The law caps out-of-pocket payments to a maximum of $6,350 annually for an individual, or $12,700 for a family.

Doesn't sound like a good deal.

The penalty for not having insurance, which is $95 or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater, rather than buying coverage.

Moderate-income Americans, who will be eligible for subsidized coverage but who must still pay between 6 percent to 9.5 percent of their income toward monthly premiums, are likely to have the hardest time affording the policies.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

College- Free

Cooper Union is not the only school that gave students a free tuition ride. Eight colleges, from the expensive, elite Curtis Institute of Music to the relatively inexpensive Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky., still do not charge any tuition at all, though some schools have a work requirement. They all have fewer than 2,000 students, and some are tiny, like Deep Springs College in Big Pine, Calif., a two-year college with only 26 students. Deep Springs also covers room and board, a scholarship valued at some $40,000 a year.

The EEOC wants us to hire criminals

Monday, September 23, 2013

Brian Holloway

Where were these kids parent??? These brats need to do time. How dare the parents of these little darlings threaten to sue the victim- really is this what our society has come to.

Pay Day Loans for Military Families

  • Annual percentage rate capped at 36 percent: Because most payday loans are for several hundred dollars and have finance charges of $15 or $20 for each $100 borrowed, a typical two-week term can equate to an annual percentage rate (APR) ranging from 391 percent to 521 percent. Payday lenders must cap the APR – which incorporates all fees and costs associated with the loan – at 36 percent when lending to servicemembers.
  • No rolling over of loans: When consumers cannot pay back the loan at the time it is due, borrowers can often pay only the finance charges and renew the loan. This fee does not reduce the amount owed. If a payday loan is rolled over multiple times, it’s possible to pay several hundred dollars in fees and still owe the original amount borrowed. Payday lenders are banned from rolling over loans for servicemembers, unless the new transaction results in more favorable terms for the servicemember.
  • No signing away of servicemember rights: The MLA prohibits lenders from making servicemembers waive their rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or other state or federal laws that provide critical consumer protections. The MLA also prohibits lenders from requiring servicemembers to waive their right to seek resolution of any legal claims in court.

  • No requiring allotments to repay: Under the military allotment system, military personnel can repay their loans by having payments directly deducted from their paycheck before their salary is deposited in their account. When servicemembers pay by allotment, they lose certain consumer protections as well as their flexibility to adjust their budget if a financial emergency comes up. The MLA bans lenders from requiring military members to pay by the allotment system and gives servicemembers control over how their income is spent.

Credit Report Errors

A February study from the Federal Trade Commission says that 20% of Americans have errors on at least one of their three credit reports (from Experian, Transunion and Equifax ) and that 5% had mistakes that "could led to them paying more for products such as auto loans and insurance."

Here’s a snapshot of relevant points from the FTC report:

  • 25% of U.S. consumers found errors on their credit reports that could crimp their credit health.
  • 20% of consumers had an error on their credit report that was corrected by the credit agency after the mistake was disputed.
  • 80% of consumers who filed disputes had the mistake “modified” by the credit report agency.
  • 5% of consumers had a maximum score change of more than 25 points, and only one in 250 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 100 points.
Credit reports are free through, FTC officials note — and contact the credit bureau right away to fix a mistake. That’s especially important before buying a home, car or applying for a credit card or insurance policy.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Washington, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched an online tool to provide consumers with easy access to public mortgage information collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The tool enables greater transparency by helping inform people of trends in their local mortgage markets.
“Just as the real estate motto ‘location, location, location’ was true before the recent financial crisis, it was true for the crisis. Every community was affected differently,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Our tool puts valuable information into the hands of the public in an accessible way, so they can understand what is happening in their local mortgage markets. A more transparent mortgage market will lead to a better marketplace and better outcomes for consumers.”

The CFPB’s online HMDA tool is available at:

Friday, September 20, 2013

iOS 7

If you're using a wifi only iPad there is no compass feature, or built in flash light.  The call, message, FaceTime block is cool though. Still hate the look of the apps! Finally figured out how to close background apps.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Figueroa v. Szymoniak et al

The text below is from an article (that was) on Mandelman Matters:

The suit alleges that Szymoniak, and other lawyers with whom she worked, committed legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and fraud…. against a fellow homeowner at risk of foreclosure.

The plaintiff in the suit alleges that in 2010, over a period of roughly six months, Lynn Szymoniak was his attorney, and that she led him to believe that she would be filing a “Qui Tam,” or False Claims action in which HE was to be the “RELATOR,” and SHE, his legal counsel.

Had that been what occurred, the $18 million award would have gone to the plaintiff… and not to Ms. Szymoniak… but instead the Qui Tam lawsuit that was filed named Lynn Szymoniak as the “RELATOR,” and so Lynn and her lawyers divided up the multi-million award without ever mentioning anyone else being involved.!

Qui tam Defention:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

US Government to Recognize Same Sex Couples

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced August 29, 2013 that when it comes to taxes, it will recognize same-sex couples' marriages even if they live in a state that does not

Monday, September 16, 2013

In re Bradley

In re Bradley:  A debtor's attorney, his firm, and the owners of the firm would be individually sanctioned for filing documents without obtaining the debtor's signature, verification, or authorization and for utilizing "appearance attorneys" in the representation of their clients.

Kagenveama overturned

An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Appellate Court overturned Maney v. Kagenveama in Danielson v. Flores. 

ObamaCare- Employer Penalties

Penalties associated with not offering appropriate coverage (the $2,000 penalty) or not offering affordable coverage (the $3,000 penalty), what can get overlooked is the myriad of "daily" penalties that come with non-compliance. Take the October 1 exchange notice requirement as an example. While the regulations do not identify a specific penalty for failing to comply with the notice requirement, PPACA has a $100 a day general "non-compliance" penalty. This general penalty requires employers to correct compliance failures within 30 days of discovery or self-report a $100 a day penalty for failing to comply on IRS Form 8928 for each day the employer failed to comply with a PPACA mandate. So failing to provide notices can get expensive.

Some other $100-a-day-penalties:

  1. Violating the non-discrimination rules (when they are finally written for insured plans)
  2. Violating the limits restrictions
  3. Failing to extend coverage to dependents to age 26
  4. Having retroactive rescission of benefits
  5. Failing to cover preventative care
  6. Failing to have a revised appeal process (including external appeals)
  7. Failing to provide timely notices
  8. Violating the restrictions on emergency room visits
  9. Violating restrictions on designation of primary care physicians
  10. Improper pre-existing condition exclusions
  11. Having excessive out-of-pocket costs
  12. Violations of the 90-day waiting period limit

Chase to Stop Making Student Loans

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYS:JPM) will stop making student loans in October, according to a document reviewed by Reuters on Thursday, after the biggest U.S. bank concluded that competition from federal government programs limits its ability to expand the business.

The student loan business is not among those that JPMorgan has publicly said are being probed by government authorities for possibly illegal practices. Those under investigation include mortgage banking, credit card collections, rate-setting for floating-rate business loans and hiring for investment banking in China.

Remaining private loan players in the market, are; Sallie Mae, (SLM.O), Wells Fargo & Co (NYS:WFC) and Discover Financial Services (NYS:DFS).

Pay Day Loans Can Charge up t0 500%

Western Sky Financial, owned by a tribal member of the Cheyenne River Sioux — has just announced that it will stop financing loans next month after numerous states have challenged their lending practices. 

Fifteen states have banned usurious payday lending to protect workers from the servitude of compound interest fees worthy of loan sharks. In reaction, lenders are now looking for other ways to ply their abusive trade — by conducting business offshore via the Internet or through ties with American Indian groups invoking their sovereign nation status. 

Western Sky Financial’s retreat is a significant step forward in the government crackdown on payday lending. The company faces usury law challenges in five states, most recently in New York where Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit this month charging the company with levying interest rates of more than 300 percent in violation of state law that caps interest at 25 percent. New York authorities have ordered 34 other online and American Indian lenders to stop providing online payday loans in the state, prompting American Indian groups to begin lawsuits in the name of their sovereignty. Complaints of abuses by Western Sky Financial are being pressed by authorities in Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota and Oregon as officials focus on lenders’ increasing resort to the Internet. 

Borrowers averaged 10 payday loans a year and paid $458 in fees. Firm standards and controls can rein in the abuses of payday lending. 

Tampa Based Pay Day Loan Scheme

Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has halted a Tampa, Fla.-based operation that promised to help consumers get payday loans.

The FTC alleges that defendants Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga and five companies they controlled used websites with the names Vantage Funding, Ideal Advance, Loan Assistance Company, Palm Loan Advances, Loan Tree Advances, Pacific Advances, and Your Loan Funding to collect consumers’ information. They collected names, Social Security numbers, bank routing numbers, and bank account numbers, which allowed them to access consumers’ checking accounts.

The defendants victimized tens of thousands of consumers, taking more than $5 million from their bank accounts, the agency alleges.

In two previous cases, American Credit Crunchers, LLC and Broadway Global Master Inc., the defendants allegedly attempted to collect on payday loan debts that either didn’t exist or weren’t owed to them.
For additional consumer information on payday loans, see, Online Payday Loans.

Banks Are Still Breaking Knocking Down Doors

Safeguard Properties is breaking into homes on behalf of BoA nationwide. The scrutiny threatens to ensnare JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and other lenders that depend on the firms. Legal aid offices in California, Nevada, Florida, Michigan and New York say calls about Safeguard’s aggressive tactics rank among the top complaints.On Monday, Illinois became the first state to take on the property management firms legally, contending in a lawsuit that Safeguard wrongfully dispossessed hundreds of homeowners in the state.

In suing Safeguard, Lisa Madigan, the attorney general, contends that the company broke into homes despite stark evidence that homeowners still lived in them, bullied tenants into leaving even though they had no legal obligation to do so and, in some instances, damaged the very homes they were sent to protect, according to the suit. Once a homeowner is more than 45 days late on mortgage payments, lenders typically send out the maintenance firms to determine whether the properties have been abandoned. As of June, more than 800,000 properties were in foreclosure or owned by banks, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data provider. Safeguard alone has had about 14 million work orders this year. which have “failed to supervise these firms.”

Under the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement, reached between five of the nation’s biggest banks and 49 state attorneys general, mortgage lenders are required to increase oversight of third-party vendors. The lenders said that they diligently monitored Safeguard’s performance

If they do not have a writ of possession they do not have a right to enter an occupied home.

Banks Violating Spirit of Foreclosure Settlement

FHA eases rules for borrowers after bankruptcy, foreclosure

The Federal Housing Administration wants to make it easier for people who have defaulted on their mortgages to get a new home loan with FHA backing.

But there's a catch, to qualify borrowers must show that their foreclosure or bankruptcy was caused by external economic factors, reducing their income by 20% or more for six months. You can't have quit your job or have been fired for cause.

If you can demonstrate such a pay cut, job loss or decline in business income now must spend only one year making timely rent and credit-card payments before they can apply to buy a home with an FHA-insured loan.

Generally borrowers are not eligible for a new FHA loan until three years after a foreclosure or two years after a bankruptcy. Previously, the death of a spouse or a medical emergency had been exceptions that could cut the wait to a year; now loss of income is listed as an extenuating circumstance as well.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wells Fargo is Freezing ALL accounts for Chapter 7 Debtors

Wells Fargo use to freeze the accounts of Debtors who had a checking or savings account with them and  also had a credit card or car loan with them. This is called a set off.  A lot of banks due this which is why I always tell my clients if you have a bank account with a bank you owe money to, you need to move your account before filing.
Well now, Wells Fargo is freezing all of their account holders who file Chapter 7  regardless if they owe wWells or not.  Wells Fargo's authority to do this comes from a United State Supreme Court Case, Citizens Bank of Maryland v. Strumpf, 516 U.S. 16 (1995).  Where the Supreme Court ruled that a deposit account is “nothing more or less than a promise to pay, from the bank to the depositor” and the bank’s “temporary refusal to pay was neither a taking of possession of … property nor an exercising of control over it, but merely a refusal to perform its promise.”  Accordingly, the Court ruled that the freeze was allowed and did not sanction the bank for its conduct.  Strumpf involved the bank’s right to “set-off” funds – taking funds from a checking or savings account held at the bank to pay for a debt owed to that bank. 
The Middle District of Florida has adopted this interpretation in cases where the debtor merely has a bank account at the deposit institution, even when there is no corresponding debt that triggers a right to set-off.  In the case In re Young, 2010 WL 3965698 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2010), the Court quoted the language in the Strumpf case and ruled there was no violation of the automatic stay.
The Middle District covers residents of Pasco, Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and other counties in and around Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, Fort Myers, and Naples, Florida.  

Carol A. Lawson,Esq., is a Clearwater-based boutique bankruptcy law firm that helps client navigate the Bankruptcy Code, providing our clients with a fresh start and relief from debt.  We assist clients with bankruptcy Chapter 7 and Chapter 13,  loan modifications, foreclosure defense, and estate planning, for clients in Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Oldsmar, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Tampa, Westchase, Carrolwood, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Reddington Beach, Kenneth City, Gulfport, Seminole, Lutz, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, and other areas that comprise the greater Tampa Bay area.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Loan Modification Update

August 19, 2013
We  executed a permanent loan modification agreement with Nation Star on behalf of BOA for a client today- $36,194 principal reduction with 4% interest. (in house modification).

July 26, 2013
Loan modification BAC principal write off $66147.91 interest 7.7% (in house)

May 13, 2013
Wells Fargo modification 4% no principal reduction (in house)

March 7, 2013
We got a HAMP TIER II from Ocwen for a client
Principal balance is $ 66,500.00 new int rate 4.250% fixed  loan now 287 mos. principal reduction was $146,250.27.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Effective July 1, 2013 in 6th Circuit

FFor each residential mortgage foreclosure case, the Plaintiff/Lender’s attorney must:

a.       File a verified complaint in accordance with Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.110(b) and §702.015, Fla. Stat. (2013).

b.      File with the complaint a verified Form A - Plaintiff’s Certificate.  If the case involves multiple plaintiffs, only one Form A - Plaintiff’s Certificate must be filed.  The Form A - Plaintiff’s Certificate, which must be used, is Attachment A to this Administrative Order.  Previous versions of Form A must not be used.  The forms and information needed by the Plaintiff/Lender should be listed in Form A and uploaded to the web enabled information platform maintained by the Foreclosure Program Manager.  The forms should not be filed with Form A and are not required to be served with Form A.

c.       File with the complaint a Form B - Notice to Homeowner, which contains information for the homeowner on mediation, information on how to request mediation, the options that might be available at mediation, and other resources for the homeowner.  Form B – Notice to Homeowner, is Attachment B to this Administrative Order.  Previous versions of Form B must not be used.

d.      Within one business day of the assignment of a case number but not later than five  business days after the filing of the foreclosure case, electronically upload to the web enabled information platform maintained by the Foreclosure Program Manager, a verified Form A, with the forms needed by the Plaintiff/Lender; the case number, including the section judge number; and the contact information for the Plaintiff/Lender and the Defendant/Borrower, including telephone numbers and email addresses if known.
2.      The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall not issue a summons in a residential mortgage foreclosure case until a Plaintiff/Lender files a verified complaint, a Form A – Plaintiff’s Certificate, and a Form B - Notice to Homeowner.

3.      For every residential mortgage foreclosure case filed, the process server must note on the return of service that the summons was served with the complaint, Form A – Plaintiff’s Certificate, and Form B - Notice to Homeowner.

II.                 MEDIATION

A.      Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases

1.      Any party may file a Motion for Mediation of a residential mortgage foreclosure case in accordance with section 44.102, Florida Statutes, and Rules of Civil Procedure 1.700- 1.730.  Attachment F-1, Plaintiff/Lenders’ Motion for Foreclosure Mediation, or Attachment F-2, Defendant/Borrower’s Motion for Foreclosure Mediation may be used to for that purpose.  Residential mortgage foreclosure cases referred to mediation will be referred to Mediation Managers, Inc., the Court’s contracted residential Foreclosure Program Manager.

2.      For every residential mortgage foreclosure case where a party files a Motion for Mediation or the Court on its own motion decides to order a case to mediation and notifies the Foreclosure Program Manager accordingly, the Foreclosure Program Manager must:

a.   Prepare an Order of Referral to Mediation and provide it to the Court along with a Case Status Sheet as directed. A sample Order of Referral is Attachment C to this Administrative Order.  The Order of Referral may be modified by the Court without amendment to this Administrative Order.

b.   If issued by the Court, provide a copy of the Order of Referral to the Plaintiff/Lender and Defendant/Borrower.  Service may be made by e-mail in accordance with Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516.

c.   Assign a mediator unless the parties:
(i) notify the Foreclosure Program Manager in writing within 10 days of the service of the Order of Referral that they have agreed upon a mediator other than through the Foreclosure Program Manager, or 
(ii) file a joint stipulation with the Court with a copy to the Foreclosure Program Manager requesting to opt out of mediation.
As permitted by Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720(j) the appointment of mediators to foreclosure cases will not be by strict rotation, but rather will be assigned by the Foreclosure Program Manager.  Only certified circuit civil mediators who are trained in mortgage foreclosure cases may be assigned by the Foreclosure Mediation Program.  
d.   Encourage the Defendant/Borrower to participate in voluntary financial counseling.

e.   If the Defendant/Borrower does not have an attorney, inform the Defendant/Borrower of his or her right to consult with an attorney and also advise of the availability of pro bono, lawyer referral, and legal aid services.

f.    Explain mediation procedures to the Defendant/Borrower, time limits for participation in mediation, and the consequences of non-compliance.
g.   Collect the mediation fee of $650 from the Plaintiff/Lender, except as otherwise provided in the Order of Referral.
h. In order to prepare for mediation and reduce obstacles to communication in mediation, and consistent with Florida Rule for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators 10.220, within 30 days from service of the Order of Referral, 
(i)   confirm with the Plaintiff/Lender that the only forms and documents needed by the Plaintiff/Lender to participate in mediation were identified in Form A.  If additional information or forms are needed by the Plaintiff/Lender to participate in mediation, convey that information to the Defendant/Borrowers and their attorney, if any.
(ii)  obtain from the Defendant/Borrowers or their attorney, if any, all the forms and information required by the Plaintiff/Lender that are necessary to conduct the mediation. 
(iii) submit the forms and information provided by the Defendant/Borrowers to the Plaintiff/Lender.
(iv) if the Defendant/Borrower submitted Defendant/Borrower’s Request for Plaintiff/Lender’s Disclosure for Mediation, which is Attachment D to this Administrative Order, obtain the information from the Plaintiff/Lender and provide it to the Defendant/Borrower. 
These preparations for mediation may be done in person, by telephone, or by electronic submission as determined by the Foreclosure Program Manager.  The Foreclosure Program Manager must provide the forms and information by uploading them to a secure web platform, by encrypted email, or by other secure means to protect the confidentiality of the information.
i.    Within 30 days from the submission of the required documents to the Plaintiff/Lender, conduct a mediation conference.  If the Plaintiff/Lender requests additional information that was not identified in Form A or in subsequent communications to the Foreclosure Program Manager, do not begin the mediation conference but reschedule the mediation conference. 
j.    If the Plaintiff/Lender fails to appear at the mediation conference, or appears at mediation but requests additional information that was not identified in Form A or in subsequent communications to the Foreclosure Program Manager, assess a $200.00 rescheduling fee. 
k.   Facilitate arrangements for the Plaintiff/Lender’s representative to appear by telephone at the mediation conference if authorized by the Court in the Order of Referral.
l.    Ensure that the mediator’s report is timely submitted to the Court;

mIf the Defendant/Borrower has obtained a stay of the foreclosure action from the United States Bankruptcy Court, suspend activities under the Order of Referral.  When the stay is lifted, continue with the mediation process.
n.   If the Defendant/Borrower does not timely provide the information necessary to participate in mediation or does not appear at mediation and does not cooperate in timely rescheduling the mediation, submit a Notice of Defendant/Borrower Nonparticipation in the Foreclosure Mediation Program to the Court, which is Attachment E to this Administrative Order.

o.   If the Plaintiff/Lender does not timely provide the forms and information necessary for mediation, does not provide the Plaintiff/Lender’s Disclosure for Mediation, or does not appear at mediation and does not cooperate in timely rescheduling the mediation, prepare an Order to Show Cause for the Court as directed.
p.   Prepare statistical reports to the Court as required.

q.   Notify the Court as directed of all cases where a Notice of Defendant/Borrower Nonparticipation was filed and all cases that reached impasse at mediation.

3.      The Plaintiff/Lender, Foreclosure Program Manager, information technology provider, and any other third-party vendor must keep confidential all personal financial information and any other protected information disclosed by the Defendant/Borrower.  This information may not be released except as authorized or permitted by federal or state law, or with the written consent of the Defendant/Borrower, or as authorized by the Court.  Any violation of this provision will subject the violator to all available civil and criminal sanctions.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Free Million Dollar Condo

It is a condominium association’s version of winning the lotto. US Bank missed its deadline to file for foreclosure on a million-dollar condo unit by 10 days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DOJ suit against Countrywide

Get Forms and information at the above site

Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Scott Fast Tracks Foreclosures

Your foreclosure defense just got shot down!    My advise file Chapter 13 and do a  31% payment on your mortgage with your plan listed as  modify/surrender and request mediation.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A look at a Foreclosure Mill

 Hillsbourogh CountyFester v Gilbert Garcia Group PA
Law Suit by Former Employee- Labor - Fair Labor Standards Act

Middle District of Florida
Langlois v. Traveler's Insurance Company et al
Assigned to: Judge Richard A. Lazzara
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli
Demand: $270,000
Case in other court: usca, 10-10308-B
Cause: 31:3731 Fraud

Middle District of Florida
Andrade v. Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. et al
Assigned to: Judge Steven D. Merryday
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Jenkins
Cause: 29:201 Denial of Overtime Compensation
Andrade v. Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. et al
Assigned to: Judge Steven D. Merryday
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Jenkins
Cause: 29:201 Denial of Overtime Compensation

Next up:

Florida Foreclosure Mill Sends Man Bogus Demand Letter

The lawyer who signed the form Ables received is Laura Walker with Tampa’s Gilbert Garcia Group. She didn’t return repeated phone calls over three days and declined to come out of her Tampa office to speak with a reporter. The only other attorney listed on their door, Michelle Garcia Gilbert, also didn’t return calls.

Rate Them,34.htm

Foreclosure Mill List


Have any other articles or cases?   Send us a link.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced an online sign-up portal for companies to receive complaints submitted to the CFPB regarding the company.

The online sign-up portal is accessible here:

The CFPB states: 
Every day, consumers submit complaints to us. Companies can respond to those complaints using a secure website. Sign up to start reviewing and responding to any complaints we have about your company.  After you sign up, we’ll call your point of contact for more detailed information and make sure you have the information you need to respond effectively to your complaints.

The CFPB describes the complaint and response process here:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Home Prices Rise

Existing-home sales rose 0.6 percent in April to an annual sales rate of 4.97 million, the highest level since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had expected a 1.6 percent increase to 5.0 million from March’s original report of 4.92 million sales. March sales were adjusted upward to 4.94 million.

The median price of an existing single-family home jumped 11 percent year-over-year to $192,800, the highest since August 2008.

Friday, May 17, 2013

ProSe wins Against BOA!!!

In Hillsborough County Case No. 10-CA-20354, Bank of America declared a homeowner in default, then sued for foreclosure.  The homeowner represented himself in court, arguing, essentially, that he was not in default and that BOA had applied payments to his account improperly.

Shapiro, Fishman & Gache, L.L.P was BOA attorney

Monday, May 13, 2013

Magistrates to handle Florida Foreclosure Cases

The Florida Supreme Court just issued this opinion, which amended Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.490 to authorize the use of magistrates (i.e. lawyers who are not judges) to preside over foreclosure hearings.  This sounds like a big change in foreclosure-world, and in some ways I suppose it is.  The prospect of a non-judge deciding a mortgage foreclosure case is certainly a big change for many consumers.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

HARP Update

Refinances through the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) remained strong as mortgage rates stayed near record-low levels, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) most recent refinance report. In February, 97,738 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were refinanced under the program, bringing the total to 2.3 million since HARP's April 2009 inception. Underwater borrowers also continued to represent a large share total HARP refinance volume.

In Nevada, Arizona, and Florida, the share was even greater with underwater borrowers representing 65 percent or more of HARP volume over the first two months of the year. In California and Georgia, the share of HARP refis for underwater borrowers was 58 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Among the underwater borrowers, 18 percent opted for shorter-term 15-and 20-year mortgages, which build equity faster than traditional 30-year mortgages.

HARP, which was set to expire at the end of this year, will live on for two more years after receiving an extension into December 31, 2015.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Acceleration Notice

Florida law required only the bank “substantially comply” with the conditions precedent in paragraph 22,(sometimes paragraph 9) of the mortgage and the letter of acceleration which was sent comported with that standard.  

Verification of Complaint

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal just issued an opinion in U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Wanio-Moore which seems to indicate that anyone can verify a foreclosure complaint consistent with the requirements of Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.110(b).  In fact, that person need not specify his/her position or title with that verification, as a mere signature is sufficient.  In the words of the Fifth District, “the trial court erred in concluding that a foreclosure verification must state must state the signer’s position” and “the rule does not require any information about the signer’s positional authority.”

Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Prevratil, where the Second District ruled that Deutsche Bank could satisfy its obligation to verify the foreclosure complaint under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.110(b) by having its servicer and attorney-in-fact, Select Portfolio Services, sign the verification.,%202013/2D12-2030.pdf

Florida courts have long required some type of evidence – certainly something more than the filing of a complaint – to support a conclusion that one is “likely” to prevail.  See City of Jacksonville v. Naegele Outdoor Advertising Co., 634 So. 2d 750 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994).

What about when the Bank wrongly forecloses?

So you got a Summary Judgment in favor of the Homeowner that the Bank should not have foreclosed- now what?

In the bank’s view, the homeowner can’t resume making normal, monthly mortgage payments – not without paying all of the late charges, attorneys’ fees, and default interest since the alleged default, not to mention the monthly payments that accrued since the last payment was made.

The homeowner’s view, doing that would be ridiculous.  Why should a homeowner who was wrongly declared in default have to pay default interest, late charges, and attorneys’ fees where those charges would have been unnecessary if the bank hadn’t wrongly declared the default

Judge William Levens of Hillsborough County 's  Final Judgment not only denied a foreclosure, but it required the bank to reinstate the mortgage as of the date that payments stopped being accepted.  All default interest, late charges, attorneys’ fees – POOF, GONE.  The homeowner could resume making monthly, mortgage payments today as if the mortgage were never in default.

The Second District makes this ruling, it is binding law for every circuit judge in Florida and affirmed Judge Levens position of putting the parties back in the financial positions they would have been in had the foreclosure not occurred. The appellate court affirmed the judge’s ruling that the mortgage should be reinstated retroactive to the date that the bank wrongly stopped accepting monthly mortgage payments.


Motion to Dismiss

As long as a motion to dismiss is pending, the homeowner need not file an Answer, and without an Answer in place, the case isn’t “at issue” under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.440 and can’t be set for trial.  Hence, a motion to dismiss prevents a trial from being set.

On April 22, 2013, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal issued a written opinion in Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Bokatka, Case No. 1D11-3356 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  The lower court dismissed the foreclosure suit with prejudice and the First District reversed that ruling.  

The Court stated: In this case, we do not fault the trial judge for dismissing the bank’s initial complaint, which facially created a contradiction between who the bank alleged was the owner of the note (the bank) and whom the attached note and mortgage identified as the owner (Option One). The parties’ attempts to interject or examine materials outside the pleadings, dismissal without prejudice was appropriate simply to allow the bank an opportunity to amend its initial complaint to address this discrepancy and to fortify its allegations and attachments.

Even given this I do not favor Motion to Dismiss unless the plaintiff's error is egregious as they tend to angery the Court.

Motion to Dismiss

As long as the motion to dismiss is pending, the homeowner need not file an Answer, and without an Answer in place, the case isn’t “at issue” under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.440 and can’t be set for trial.  Hence, a motion to dismiss prevents a trial from being set.

On April 22, 2013, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal issued a written opinion in Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Bokatka, Case No. 1D11-3356 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  The lower court dismissed the foreclosure suit with prejudice and the First District reversed that ruling.  

The Court stated: In this case, we do not fault the trial judge for dismissing the bank’s initial complaint, which facially created a contradiction between who the bank alleged was the owner of the note (the bank) and whom the attached note and mortgage identified as the owner (Option One). The parties’ attempts to interject or examine materials outside the pleadings, dismissal without prejudice was appropriate simply to allow the bank an opportunity to amend its initial complaint to address this discrepancy and to fortify its allegations and attachments.

Bank Induced Default-Defense

Any homeowner who was duped to stop making payments under the auspices of a loan modification (only to ultimately realize the modification never came). See La Boutique of Beauty Academy, Inc. v. Meloy, 436 So. 2d 396 (Fla. 2d DCA 1983) (“because the mortgagee, by its own conduct, led appellees to believe acceleration would not occur following a late payment … we affirm the order granting summary judgment for the mortgagors”); Dale v. Jennings, 107 So. 175 (Fla. 1926); Kerber v. Chadan, Inc., 364 So. 2d 1264 (Fla. 4th DCA 1978). When a bank leads a homeowner to believe acceleration/foreclosure won’t occur after a default in payments – as it does when it tells a homeowner to default in order to get a loan modification – then it should not be able to foreclose.  In Meloy, the Fourth District affirmed a summary judgment for the homeowners where the bank led the homeowners to believe a foreclosure would not occur after the default. 

Florida HB 87

This legislation changes the landscape of foreclosure defense in some significant ways.

1.  Finality of Judgment:  Once a final judgment is entered in a mortgage foreclosure case, the property is sold to a third-party, and the appeal time has run, the mortgagor is precluded from getting title to the property back, even if the foreclosure was wrongful.  Instead of being able to ask for the judgment to be vacated under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.540 up to a year after the judgment was entered – or, in some circumstances, many years post-judgment - the homeowner’s remedy is now limited to claims for money damages.
For obvious reasons, the title insurance industry was the driving force behind this aspect of the bill.

2.  Order to Show Cause:  Expedited Foreclosure:  Any lienholder (to include condo associations and homeowners’ associations) can ask the Court to issue an Order to show cause, forcing the homeowner to come to court and convince the Court not to enter an expedited foreclosure judgment.  If the homeowner doesn’t file the appropriate paperwork/defenses, a foreclosure judgment is entered at that hearing.  This sounds bad, but it’s similar to the existing version of Fla. Stat. 702.10, except it now enables any lienholder (as opposed to just the bank) to request the show cause hearing.

The condo and homeowners’ associations were the driving force behind this aspect of the bill.  They believe this will give them leverage to accelerate the mortgage foreclosure lawsuit when the bank is slow to prosecute the case. If you’re current on your association dues, the association probably won’t feel a reason to make this request.  If you’re behind on those payments, however, you run the risk that the association will cause that hearing to be set.  If you’re paying your dues and taking care of the house, they probably don’t care if the house is in foreclosure.  If you’re not paying your dues, however, then the association likely prefers that you get foreclosed so a new owner – who pays his dues – will get put in the house.
Don’t let a rather nominal association payment cause you problems on your mortgage foreclosure case.  Pay those dues!

3.  Order to Show Cause:  Monthly Mortgage Payments:  If a residential property is not owner-occupied, the plaintiff can ask the court to require the mortgagor to make normal monthly mortgage payments to the plaintiff during the foreclosure case.  If those payments are not made, then the mortgagor is removed from possession of the property even before the case is over.  If this happens, the homeowner can still defend the lawsuit, but will be removed from possession before the case is over. Similar to requesting rents be deposited into the Court with a  twist.

4.  Statute of Limitations:  On claims for deficiency, reduced to one year from five.

5.  Pleading requirements:  The new bill imposed a few new pleading requirements for plaintiffs.
(a)  The foreclosure plaintiff must plead it is the “holder” or its specific factual basis to foreclose in its Complaint.  This codifies what defense attorneys have been arguing in motions to dismiss for many months – it’s not enough to say you’re entitled to foreclose, you have to plead ultimate facts.
(b) If the plaintiff is suing on behalf of another entity, it must identify the document which sets forth that authority.
(c)  The plaintiff must file a certification under oath, upon filing suit, that it possesses the original Note.  If the note is lost, it must file an affidavit detailing the chain of assignments/transfers and must attach documents showing how ownership was acquired.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Stone V BankUnited

2013 Fla. App. Lexis 7207
May 3, 2013
2nd DCA
Case 2D12-980


1. Date of allonge
2. evidence of transfer of equitable interest
3. assignment from payee
4 receivership agreement

Hann v. Educational Credit Management Corp.

 Creditors cannot ignore claim objections, even when the debt is a nondischargeable student loan.  Debtors objecting to a claim on the merits should be prepared to put on a prima facia case in support of the objection - even if the creditor does not respond. The prevailing party preparing an order, especially ones involving the treatment of a claim, should draft the order with such specificity that its effect cannot be challenged even after completion of the bankruptcy case.  Final orders of the bankruptcy court cannot be ignored with impunity

Loan Modification Update

New Modification Program

The Federal Housing Finance Agency will require mortgage servicers to offer a streamlined modification program to borrowers with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, starting in July. The offers will be sent to homeowners who are at least 90 days behind on their loans but no more than two years behind. To qualify, borrowers must owe at least 80 percent of the home's value.
The modification reduces the loan's interest rate and extends the loan term to 40 years.
Minimal paperwork:  Borrowers won't be required to submit any financial documentation to the lender to get approval. The loan modification becomes permanent after three payments are made during the three-month trial period.

Ginnie Mae Loans

Your just screwed- no mod for you!

Borrowers seeking low-payment mortgages will be charged for mortgage insurance for the life of their loans if they don't get their Federal Housing Administration mortgages by June 2.

The FHA currently requires borrowers to pay for mortgage insurance on FHA loans until the balance reaches 78 percent of the original value of the home.
Pay forever:  Once the change goes into effect, all new FHA loans with less than a 10 percent down payment will carry mortgage insurance until the loan is refinanced or paid off. Loans with a 10 percent down payment or greater will have to pay for mortgage insurance for at least 11 years.
For borrowers who plan to stay in their homes for less than 10 years, the new rules won't make that much of a difference, says Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans. That's because normally, it takes borrowers about 10 years to reach the required loan level for the insurance to cancel anyway.

Mortgage Rates

The Mortgage Bankers Association estimates the 30-year fixed rate will reach 3.9 percent by the end of the first quarter this year. That's not as good as the superlow rates that borrowers got in December 2012, when the 30-year fixed hit a record low of 3.5 percent in Bankrate's weekly survey

Florida Faster Foreclosures

Florida lawmakers sent Gov. Rick Scott a bill Friday that is aimed at speeding up the residential mortgage foreclosure process in a state where the real estate market went into a tailspin during the national housing crisis. (HB 87)

The bill cleared the Senate on a 26-13 vote on the final day of the Legislature's 60-day session. It passed the House recently 87-26.

One key provision would reduce from five years to one year the amount of time for banks to go after foreclosed homeowners on deficiency judgments. Deficiencies are the difference between the money obtained from selling a foreclosed home and what the original homeowner still owes on it.

Homeowners could have limited time to show "a genuine issue of material fact or law" to avoid foreclosures.

Foreclosure Settlement Checks

The compensation payment checks, which range from $300 up to $125,000, are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement announced in January between federal regulators and 13 mortgage servicing companies, which were subject to enforcement actions for “deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.”  Deficient practices have included errors and misrepresentations and the “robo-signing” of documents.

The regulators are the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The recipients of the checks are mortgage loan borrowers whose homes were in any stage of a foreclosure process during 2009 or 2010, and whose mortgage servicers were among the 13 companies, or their subsidiaries or affiliates.  Compensation payment checks, which began going out April 12, have so far been sent to 3.7 million homeowners. In all, 4.2 million eligible mortgage loan borrowers will receive them.
The 13 servicers are: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.

According to the OCC’s online FAQ about the agreement, the servicers agreed “to provide more than $9.3 billion in cash payments and other assistance to help borrowers. The sum includes $3.6 billion in direct cash payments to eligible borrowers and $5.7 billion in other foreclosure prevention assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.”

By comparison, the five largest banks alone – Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorganChase, Bank of America – earned $60 billion in total profits last year.

The largest payouts – $125,000 – are going to 1,082 members of the military wrongly foreclosed upon, and to just 53 homeowners across the country foreclosed upon even though they never missed a mortgage payment.  But most of the recipients – almost 2 million homeowners – will get the smallest payments of $300 to $600.

“In determining the payment amounts,” reads a recent OCC press release, “borrowers were categorized according to the stage of their foreclosure process and the type of possible servicer error.  Regulators then determined amounts for each category, using the financial remediation matrix published in June 2012 as a guide, incorporating input from various consumer groups.”)

So far federal regulators have refused to release information – about what the consultants’ reviews had found about mortgage servicers’ “deficient” practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing – to the public, or even to Congress -- claiming the servicers’ documents are "trade secrets."

Wells Fargo Slammed $3,1712,154 for Misapplying Payments in Chapter 13

Judge Elizabeth W. Magner’s  imposition of punitive damages  of $3,1712,154 against Wells Fargo Bank was recently affirmed by the district court in Jones v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc. 2013 WL 1155248 (E.D. La. 1/19/13).

The district court held that the bankruptcy court’s ruling was substantially supported by the record.  Wells Fargo had initially agreed to a systematic audit of its accounting of home loan payments after misapplying Chapter 13 payments against undisclosed post-petition fees and costs.

In awarding punitive damages, the bankruptcy court said: “After considering the compensatory damages of $24,441.65 awarded in this case, along with the litigation costs of $292,673.84; awards against Wells Fargo in other cases for the same behavior which did not deter its conduct; and the previous judgments in this case none of which deterred its actions; the Court finds that a punitive damage award of $3,171,154.00 is warranted to deter Wells Fargo from similar conduct in the future. This Court hopes that the relief granted will finally motivate Wells Fargo to rectify its practices and comply with the terms of court order, plans and the automatic stay.”

The district court agreed and stated, “Wells Fargo was on notice that its actions were impermissible and could incur significant legal penalties and assessing punitive damages at ten times the amount of compensatory damages is within the constitutional limits.”

michaela whiteProfessor of Law, Michaela White is the source of information.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mortgage foreclosure -- Standing

Mortgage foreclosure -- Standing -- Plaintiff had standing to foreclose mortgage where initial lender had been placed in receivership by FDIC, and plaintiff acquired all assets of initial lender by virtue of the receivership and pursuant to a purchase assumption agreement.

Check Your Credit Report After Bankruptcy

A Creditor May Continue to Report a Debt

The most common way in which credit reporting errors are discovered is at the most importune time, a new credit application rejection. Old debt discharged in bankruptcy may still be reported as delinquent when the debts should have been removed or a settled debt is still listed as owed to the creditor.

The Inaccurate Reporting Maybe the Result of Credit Reporting Agency Negligence
While the Fair Credit Reporting Act was designed to protect consumers from faulty credit reporting there are often allegations of negligence against the three main credit-reporting agencies. You will need to send demand letters to each agency to clear up the errors.  If they refuse a suit may be necessary.

The Bottom Line, Check your Credit Report After Bankruptcy or Debt Settlement
Do not wait until you hear from a lender that there is a problem with your credit report. While experienced counsel can resolve these issues, the time for resolution may be outside the time constraints of a real estate purchase or new car loan application.
Home prices are rising at the fastest rate in seven years, as buyers are returning to a market where the number of properties for sale is in short supply, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Prices increased 9.3 percent in February from a year earlier while mortgage-interest rates hovered at near record lows in 20 major metropolitan areas.

Interest Rates Fall

Mortgage rates continued to creep down near record lows this week, according to reports from Freddie Mac and Rates fell all around in Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending May 2. According to the weekly survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.35 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from 3.40 percent last week. The all-time low average is 3.31 percent, set the week of November 21, 2012. For the second week in a row, the 15-year FRM reached a new low, falling to 2.56 percent (0.7 point).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bank Pay Day Loans

The banking version of payday lending, called deposit advance, is no better than its storefront cousin. For starters, the advance loan can carry an interest rate of over 300 percent. There is no fixed due date for repayment. Instead, the bank repays itself from an electronic deposit into the borrower’s account. A new study from by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says these transactions are anything but harmless, one-time deals. Three-fourths of the loan fees are generated by consumers who borrow more than 10 times in a 12-month period. Overdraft fees deplete the borrowers’ meager resources, causing them to borrow again and again — and pushing them deeper into the debt trap.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Domestic Partner Registration

Beginning April 15, any two people over the age of 18 will be able to register as domestic partners in Pinellas County, subject to certain limitations.

Domestic partnership registrations will be accepted at the following Clerk of the Circuit Court offices during regular office hours:
  • Clearwater County Courthouse - 315 Court St., Room 150, Clearwater
  • North County Branch Office - 29582 U.S. Highway 19 N., Room 101, Clearwater
  • St Petersburg Branch Office - 545 First Ave. N., Room 153, St. Petersburg
  • Clerk's Tyrone Branch Office - 1800 66th St. N., St. Petersburg
The filing fee for registering as domestic partners is $50, although a reduced fee may apply for those applicants who have already registered their partnerships in a Pinellas County municipality.
More information about the domestic partnership registry may be found online at and forms relating to the domestic partnership registry may be found online at

For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit, now with LiveChat, or create a shortcut to on any smartphone. Pinellas County government is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Court Rejects Ponzi Scheme Victim Payment Plan

The bankruptcy case is In re Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, 09-bk-34791, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale). The criminal case is U.S. v. Rothstein, 12- cr-60204, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Means Test Income Data

1 person $41,915
2 people $51,760
3 people $54,934
4 people $65,260
for cases after April 1, 2013 add $ 8,100 for each additional person after 4

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bankruptcy Form Changes April 1, 2013

Dollar amounts in title 11 and title 28 of the U.S. Code will be increased for cases commencing after April 1, 2013. Seven Official Bankruptcy Forms (1, 6C, 6E, 7, 10, 22A and 22C) and two Director's Forms (200 and 283).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Liability for Employee Cellular Phone Use

Cell Phone Usage and Personal Injury Lawsuits
Cell phone usage has increasingly become the cause of accidents or a contributing factor, resulting in an increase in personal injury litigation involving cell phones. When a driver is using a cell phone at the time of an accident and the accident happens while the driver is on company business, the phone call is a business one, or the cell phone was provided by the company, that company will often be sued along with the driver/employee, under a theory of "vicarious liability" for the actions of its employee. Actual examples include:
  • A jury in Miami awarded a 78 year old woman and her husband $20.78 million against a driver and his employer for injuries suffered in an automobile crash. The driver initially admitted owning a cell phone but denied using it at the time of the accident. Cell phone bills indicated otherwise and the driver finally admitted making a sales call "before" calling 911 about the accident.
  • The state of Hawaii paid $1.5 million to the family of a New Jersey tourist struck by a car driven by a public school teacher, who was using her cell phone at the time.
  • Salomon Smith Barney paid $500,000 in settlement to the family of a motorcyclist killed in a collision with a broker, who was on his cell phone at the time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Consumer Debt Rises for Young Adults

According to the Wall Street journal A typical young U.S. household—defined as one led by someone under age 35—had $15,000 in total debt in 2010, down from $18,000 in 2001 and the lowest since 1995, according to a recent Pew Research Center report and government data. Total debt includes mortgage loans, credit cards, auto lending, student loans and other consumer borrowing. In addition, fewer young adults carried credit card balances, and 22 percent did not have any debt at all in 2010—the most since government tracking began in 1983.

Bankruptcy Filings on the Rise

While bankruptcies were down from a year ago, February’s bankruptcy filings trended upward from January. Total bankruptcy filings for the month of February represented a 5 percent increase over the 78,565 total filings registered in January 2013. The total noncommercial filings for February also represented a 5 percent increase from the January 2013 noncommercial filing total of 74,831.