American Bankruptcy Institute Update

May 3, 2005

In This Issue


Legislation Update

Bill to Amend Means Test Introduced

On April 26, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) introduced H.R. 1860, a bill to amend the just-signed Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (Public Law Number 109-8) to exempt from the means test for a limited period those who are called to active duty or to perform a homeland defense activity for not less than 60 days. The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Work on Asbestos Bill Postponed Until May 12

The Senate Judiciary Committee was forced to postpone work last week on a $140 billion asbestos compensation fund until May 12, after procedural fights halted the panel’s meeting. Before the forced recess, the committee by 12–5 declined to expand the fund to lung cancer sufferers who could not show their ailment was due to asbestos, after one senator warned the fund was already in danger of quick exhaustion from claims. By voice vote, the panel agreed to an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) regarding judicial review, and one by Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D–Ill.) clarifying that immediate family members of asbestos victims who died while their claims were pending would be treated the same as other “exigent,” or urgent claims. Judiciary Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) had hoped to have a final vote on the asbestos bill last Thursday. But he remained upbeat about getting final panel approval this month, despite dozens of amendments proposed by senators in both parties and an insufficient amount of publicly declared supporters.

Credit Counselors, Debt Plans Draw New Fire

Deceptive and unfair practices, high fees and "Do Not Call" violations are among frequent complaints involving unscrupulous debt management and credit counseling businesses reported. Read the full article.

Credit counseling issues and the provisions in the new law mandating credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy were addressed last week by Mark Taylor of Arent Fox PLLC, trustee in the AmeriDebt Credit Counseling bankruptcy case, at the Legislative Committee meeting at ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting. Credit counseling issues are also the focus of an article published in the April issue of the ABI Journal, “Credit Counseling Update: The "Perfect Storm" Brewing,” by Leslie E. Linfield of the Institute for Financial Literacy in Portland, Maine.

Separately, last month, the Senate Investigations Subcommittee released a report exposing abusive practices in the credit counseling industry. Read the report.

Register to Attend ABI’s Central States Bankruptcy Workshop by May 27 and Save!

Register to attend the ABI’s 12 th annual Central States Bankruptcy Workshop by May 27 and save $50 off the regular registration fee. More than 275 are already registered. This year’s conference, to be held June 16 – 19 at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Mich., offers attendees 10 hours of CLE credit. Topics include: post-petition transfers, evidence and procedure rules, secured property in chapter 7, client control & education in consumer cases, claims objections, case administration, forbearance agreements, leases, the consumer credit & mortgage industries, conversion issues between chapter 7 and chapter 13, Supreme Court, Sixth and Seventh Circuit case review and a special judges roundtable discussion.

The event will sell out! Register online today!

Audioconference Addreses “Deepening Insolvency” Issues Next Wednesday

ABI will present the second in a series of “Best of
ABI” audioconferences, the Best of 2005 Bankruptcy Battleground West
live audioconference, "Deepening Insolvency Issues," to be held May 11, 2005 at 1:30 pm (ET). The panel will explain the concept of “deepening insolvency,” as well as current trends in the law and the very practical and new potential forms of liability possible under this fast-evolving theory. To register, click here.

New York Area Members Invited to “Bankruptcy Pro Bono” Event May 18

The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44 th Street, will hold “Bankruptcy Pro Bono: From the Trenches to the Supreme Court ” on Wednesday, May 18, 2005. A CLE program will be offered from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, followed by a reception honoring bankruptcy judges and celebrating pro bono initiatives. There is no fee for the CLE program or reception. Program attendance is not required to attend the reception. For information on this event, click here.

Latest Job Postings at ABI Career Center

Check out the ABI Career Center. The Center is a one-stop site for job seekers and employers in the insolvency community. Career Center resources are available free to both employers and job seekers. New positions are featured daily. The latest listings include: