American Bankruptcy Institute Update

May 17, 2005

In This Issue

Highlights

Legislation Update

Bill to Amend Chapter 7 Means Test Introduced

On May 6, Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-Md.) introduced H.R. 2201, to amend chapter 7 to exclude medically distressed debtors from the application of the means test, to amend the Truth in Lending Act to require certain disclosures in connection with credit card applications and solicitations, and for other purposes. The bill was jointly referred to the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees.

House Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing tomorrow on "Enhancing Data Security: The Regulators’ Perspective."

Senate to Resume Asbestos Legislation Markup

The Senate Judiciary Committee will resume marking up the asbestos bill tomorrow. Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R–Pa.) hopes to finish work on it before the Memorial Day recess. So far, five Republicans and two Democrats support the legislation. The markup session is expected to continue on Thursday and possibly next week.

Boehner Might Look Beyond PBGC to Find Budget Savings

House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio) might find savings in ways other than upping premiums that companies pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.(PBGC), CongressDaily reported. The committee has until Sept. 16 to report back to the Budget Committee on how it plans to achieve savings. Under the FY06 budget resolution, the Education and the Workforce Committee must trim more than $12.6 billion in spending between FY05 and FY10 from programs within its jurisdiction, with nearly $1 billion of that coming between FY05 and FY06. When Congress was negotiating the budget agreement, insiders suggested that $6.6 billion would come from an increase in the pension premiums to the PBGC.

But Boehner is insisting the committee might find other ways to accomplish those savings. Companies have protested about the premium increases, arguing that increasing premiums without taking other steps to overhaul pension-funding rules would simply cause more companies to dump their defined benefit plans on the PBGC. Boehner is planning to introduce a wide-ranging pension bill with Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.). That bill might include some premium adjustments in addition to other policy proposals, such as setting a permanent interest rate that companies will use to calculate pension payments.

Lagging Behind the Wealthy, Many Use Debt to Catch Up

More and more Americans are turning to debt to pay for lifestyles their current incomes can't support, the Wall Street Journal reported today. To some, the expansion of credit gives middle- and lower-income people financial flexibility that only the rich used to enjoy. Others see the borrowing as a way for average households to make up for sluggish growth in income over the past several decades. Since 1990, income for the median American household has risen only 11 percent after adjusting for inflation, while median household spending has jumped at 30 percent, according to an analysis by Economy.com. Median household debt outstanding leaped by 80 percent. U.S. households with at least one credit card owed $9,205 in 2003, a 23 percent increase from five years earlier after adjusting for inflation, says CardWeb.com Inc. Financial firms have turned credit for the masses into a huge business, aided by better technology for analyzing credit risks. Read the full article at www.wsj.com (subscription required).

Register for ABIís Teleseminar Series on the New Bankruptcy Law

Register for ABI’s teleseminar series examining details of the new bankruptcy law. The first teleseminar on business bankruptcies will be held on June 15 and will feature new small business rules, expansion of reclamation claims, broadened preference defenses, trade creditor strategies, new grounds for the appointment of a trustee, single-asset cases and limits on exclusivity. Confirmed faculty are: Andrew Caine of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones & Weintraub PC (Los Angeles), Alec Ostrow of Salomon Green & Ostrow (New York), Michael Richman of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (New York), George Singer of Lindquist & Vennum PLLP (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Deborah Thorne of Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Chicago).

The first teleseminar of the consumer bankruptcy series will be held on June 23 and will cover mandatory credit counseling, means testing for chapter 7, other changes in chapter 7 practice, attorney verification and sanctions, dismissal, limits on the automatic stay and new creditor notice requirements. Confirmed faculty are: Prof. Jean Braucher of the University of Arizona college of Law (Tucson , Ariz.), James Cossitt, attorney and counselor at law (Kalispell, Mont.), Stuart Gold of Gold Lang & Majoros PC (Southfield, Mich.), Hank Hildebrand of Lassiter Tidwell & Hildebrand PLLC (Nashville, Tenn. ) and Bob Waldschmidt of Howell & Fisher (Nashville, Tenn.).

There are a total of three programs devoted to the details of consumer practice under the new law and three business programs. The final session will be a judges' roundtable. To view the full schedule of the 90-minute programs or register online click here.

Central States Bankruptcy Workshop to Feature Reform Update

More than 350 are already registered to attend the 12th Annual Central States Bankruptcy Workshop June 16-19, 2005, at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, in Traverse City, Mich. The event will feature a special reform update presented by U.S. Trustee Program Acting Director, Clifford J. White III, plus Immediate Former Director, Lawrence A. Friedman.  All workshop presentations will incorporate the new legislation. Learn the latest on the auto supplier industry, post-petition transfers, preclusion issues, secured property in chapter 7, client control and education in consumer cases, claims objections, case administration, forbearance agreements, the consumer credit and mortgage industries, conversion issues between chapter 7 and chapter 13, Supreme Court, Sixth and Seventh Circuit case review and a special judges' roundtable discussion. Register online today.

LoPucki Venue Debate Available Online

UCLA Prof. Lynn LoPucki debated forum-shopping last Monday at the New York Bankruptcy Conference with a panel of experts, including ABI Immediate Past President Michael Richman of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (New York), ABI Director Robert Rosenberg of Latham and Watkins (New York), Prof. G. Ray Warner, Director, LLM in Bankruptcy, St. John’s University (Jamaica, New York) and Marcia Goldstein of Weil, Gotshal & Magnes LLP (New York). View the program here.

New Opinions Posted Online

Western District of Pennsylvania
In re: Stacy L. Miller - May 2005

Western District of Arkansas
In re: Keith and Karrie Bailey - May 2005

Eighth Circuit Case Update

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: