Fourth Stop: Denver

Other Hot and Not-so-Easy Issues in Consumer Cases
A Roundtable Discussion Featuring Debtor's Counsel, the U.S. Trustee, Chapter 13 Trustee and the Bench

A Webinar Series Just for Consumer Practitioners!

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"This was an excellent and timely program. I appreciate all that the ABI does to help me
in my practice."
- Leonard K. Welsh, Bakersfield, CA
  An ABI member who attended the first webinar "in Atlanta."

July 23, 2008
2:00 p.m. Mountain (4:00 p.m. Eastern)

ABI's Deputy Executive Director, Felicia S. Turner, moderated a two-hour roundtable discussion among a judge, a chapter 13 trustee, a U.S. trustee representative and a debtor attorney regarding some current and challenging issues facing consumer debtor attorneys in their every-day practice. The panelists discussed issues such as: (i) how to obtain a discharge in chapters 7 and 13, including the BAPCPA time limits between discharges and the new requirements for a chapter 13 discharge; (ii) paying debtor’s and creditors’ counsel in chapter 13 cases; (iii) BAPCPA’s credit counseling requirement, including the 180-day requirement, the proposed new bankruptcy rule regarding section 109(h)(3), dismissal versus striking a case, and waivers; (iv) BAPCPA’s debtor education requirement, including the timing, case reopening and the potential effect on a discharge; and (v) post-confirmation modifications in chapter 13, including what standards apply. The discussion included citations to relevant cases.


Felicia S. Turner became the deputy executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute in September 2007.  Immediately prior to that, she was the U.S. Trustee for Regions 20 and 21, managing 12 offices covering 13 federal judicial districts and four federal circuits in Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. She oversaw the coordination of the U.S. Trustee Offices’ participation in bankruptcy cases under all chapters to preserve the integrity of the judicial system, including the development and implementation of policy and ensuring regional and national consistency in and appropriateness of the federal government’s legal positions.  Prior to her appointment in 2003 as the U.S. Trustee for Region 21, Ms. Turner was a partner in the Atlanta-based law firm of Troutman Sanders, LLP, where she was a member of the bankruptcy practice group and the litigation section, mainly representing creditors and debtors in chapter 11 cases.  Before joining Troutman Sanders in 1999, she practiced with Sullivan, Mountjoy, Stainback & Miller, PSC, in Owensboro, Ky., where her work ranged from representing debtors and creditors in consumer cases to serving as debtor-in-possession counsel for Big Rivers Electric Corporation.  Ms. Turner is a frequent panelist and speaker at ABI and bar meetings all over the country and served on the ABI’s Caribbean Insolvency Symposium Advisory Board.  During 2005 she served on the U.S. Trustee Program’s committee for implementation of the provisions of BAPCPA.  Until taking her new position, she also served on the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges’ liaison committee with the U.S. Trustee Program.  Ms. Turner received her law degree from Duke University School of Law in Durham, N.C., in 1994 and her undergraduate degree in mathematics magna cum laude from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., in 1991.


Hon. Howard R. Tallman was appointed a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the District of Colorado in Denver on Dec. 6, 2002. Prior to taking the bench, he served as the U.S. Trustee for Region 19, covering Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, from March 2000. Previously, Tallman practiced with the Denver firm of Block Markus & Williams, L.L.C., where he specialized in the representation of debtors, creditors, trustees, committees, asset purchasers and other parties in workouts, restructurings, commercial litigation and bankruptcy cases and proceedings. He was also a member of the chapter 7 panel of trustees for Colorado from 1996 until becoming U.S. Trustee. From 1986-1995, Tallman practiced with the Denver office of the regional Rocky Mountain firm of Holland & Hart, L.L.P., representing creditors and debtors in chapter 11 reorganizations. Beginning in 1980, he worked as an attorney/analyst in the Denver office during the pilot phase of the U.S. Trustee Program, and served as Assistant U.S. Trustee for Colorado and Kansas from 1982-86. From 1977-80, Tallman was an assistant professor and member of the legal staff of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, an educational joint venture among Rutgers University Law School, Seton Hall Law School and the New Jersey Bar Association. Judge Tallman received his B.A. summa cum laude in 1972 from Villanova University, his J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law in 1975 and his M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1984. He is admitted to the Colorado and New Jersey state bars and is a member of the Colorado and Arapahoe County Bar Associations. Judge Tallman has served as president and a member of the Board of Directors for Continuing Legal Education of Colorado, Inc., the nonprofit legal education arm of the Colorado Bar Association and the Denver Bar Association, and has been a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He has participated in the Bankruptcy Subcommittee of the Business Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association and the Bankruptcy Liaison Committee of the Faculty of Federal Advocates, and has lectured and authored articles on bankruptcy and related topics for many state bar and trade/industry associations. Judge Tallman is an ABI member and is certified in Business Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.

Sally J. Zeman has served as chapter 13 trustee for the District of Colorado in Denver since October 1989. She earned her law degree in 1985 from the University of Denver, and immediately thereafter she was employed with a small consumer bankruptcy firm that represented debtors in chapters 7 and 13 cases. She has participated and sponsored numerous continuing legal education classes and has served on various committees related to local procedure, rules and forms. The enactment of BAPCPA did not dramatically impact the active cases administered by the Colorado trustee’s office when compared to chapter 13 trustees nationwide. The office currently administers approximately 5,300 cases compared to 5,108 on Sept. 30, 2005.

Ellen R. Welner is an associate in the law firm of George T. Carlson & Associates in Englewood, Colo., where she concentrates her practice in the area of consumer bankruptcy. Ms. Welner earned her B.A. from the University of Colorado (Phi Beta Kappa) and her J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law and is admitted to State Bar of Colorado and U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. She has coauthored articles on consumer bankruptcy in numerous publications and has lectured at ABI, Colorado Bar Association CLE and chapter 13 trustee seminars, and the National Business Institute. She has been an advisory board member of ABI's Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference since 2005.

Ramona D. Elliott is General Counsel for the Executive Office for United States Trustees. Prior to rejoining the Department of Justice last year, Ms. Elliott served for 6 years as Counsel for Bankruptcy and Redress for the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission, representing the FTC in bankruptcy and collection matters before district and bankruptcy courts. Before joining the FTC in 2001, Ms. Elliott served for 7 years as a trial attorney and Acting Assistant United States Trustee with the Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee. Before entering public service, Ms. Elliott was an associate at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston in Baltimore, Maryland, and concentrated her practice in the areas of bankruptcy reorganizations and workouts representing debtors, lenders, creditors’ committees and trustees. Ms. Elliott graduated from Emory University School of Law, where she served as the Recent Developments Editor of the Bankruptcy Developments Journal.


Materials for this webinar include a paper prepared by the ABI Resident Scholar that outlines each issue, including the relevant rulings from the District of Colorado and other parts of the country.