Third Stop: Houston

Other Hot and Not-so-Easy Issues in Consumer Cases
A Roundtable Discussion Featuring Debtor's Counsel, the U.S. Trustee, Chapter 13 Trustee, Chapter 7 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."

April 30, 2008
2:00 p.m. Central (3:00 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/chapter 7 trustee 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.

Moderator

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.

Speakers

Hon. Marvin A. Isgur was appointed to the bankruptcy bench for the Southern District of Texas in 2004. Previously, Judge Isgur practiced with Floyd, Isgur, Rio & Wahrlich, P.C. and prior to that, Kirkendall & Isgur, L.L.P. He concentrated his practice in business litigation, insolvency law and municipal insolvency. Judge Isgur received his law degree with high honors from the University of Houston Law Center in 1990 and his MBA from Stanford University in 1978. He has taught various courses at Rice University’s business school and the University of Houston Law Center. He speaks on bankruptcy issues on many occasions for CLE courses.

David G. Peake was appointed chapter 13 trustee for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division in 1998.  He was a former consumer bankruptcy practitioner for 15 years prior to his appointment.  Mr. Peake graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., in 1978.  He is currently a member of the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Janet Northrup is of counsel with the law firm of HughesWattersAskanase in Houston, where she has more than 25 years of high-level bankruptcy experience and is widely recognized as one of the top consumer bankruptcy experts in the State of Texas. She is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, has been a chapter 7 trustee for the Southern District of Texas since 1986, and has been named a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Monthly magazine. Ms. Northrop is a prolific speaker and author on bankruptcy topics, and is also a certified mediator. She has authored several articles as well as spoken for different organizations over the years, including: "Chapter 13 for Business and Working with the Trustee" and "Impact of Bankruptcy Discharge on Income Tax Liability" for the Houston Chapter Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (speaker and author), "Business 13's" for the Second Annual International Bankruptcy Law Seminar—2005 (speaker and author), "Bankruptcy after BACPCA" for the Association of Women Attorneys—2006 (speaker), "Domestic Support Obligations" for the Fourth Annual International Bankruptcy Law Seminar—2007 (speaker and author), and "Bankruptcy Mediation" for the Houston Bar Association (2007) and Texas Association of Mediators (2008) (speaker and co-author). She also was co-chair of the Consumer Bankruptcy Advisory Committee for the Southern District of Texas in 2000, and a director, author and speaker for the First Annual Consumer Bankruptcy Bench Bar for the Southern District of Texas in 2002. Ms. Northrop attended the University of Houston Law Center.

Ramona D. Elliott is Deputy General Counsel for the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees.  Prior to rejoining the Department of Justice, Ms. Elliott served for six years as Counsel for Bankruptcy and Redress for the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission.  Ms. Elliott represented the FTC in bankruptcy and collection matters before district and bankruptcy courts, including the chapter 11 cases of AmeriDebt, Inc., Epixtar Corp., Stewart Finance Company, First Alliance Mortgage Company and Triad Discount Buying Service, Inc.  Before joining the FTC in 2001, Ms. Elliott served for seven years as a trial attorney and Acting Assistant U.S. Trustee with the Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee, handling cases before bankruptcy courts in Florida, Puerto Rico and Md.  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

Materials for this webinar included a paper prepared by ABI that outlines each issue, including the relevant rulings from the Southern District of Texas and other parts of the country.