American Bankruptcy Institute Update

August 9, 2005

In This Issue


Legislation Update

Fed Raises Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate by a quarter-point today, CongressDaily reported. The action pushed the federal funds rate up to 3.5 percent. It marked the 10th consecutive increase in the rate that banks charge each other on overnight loans and left this benchmark rate at its highest level since August 2001. When the Fed started its credit-tightening campaign last year, the rate had been at a 46-year low of 1 percent.

Asbestos Bill Moves to Senate Floor, But Faces Hurdles

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R–Pa.) has said that he expects the Senate to take up asbestos-victim compensation legislation as soon as possible. While conceding that the exact schedule will be up to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R–Tenn.), Specter said the bill has “momentum in hand” and that “it would be very much in the national interest … to move ahead.” Sen. Frist included the bill in his long list of legislative priorities for the fall. The controversial legislation would create a $140 billion industry-funded trust from which to pay claims to workers with asbestos-related injuries.

Balances in 401(K) Plans Reach Five-Year High

A survey finds that 401(k) balances have reached a five-year high, MarketWatch reported Friday. Those findings come from Fidelity, the largest U.S. provider of 401(k) plan services to employers. The Fidelity survey covers more than 10,000 plans and hundreds of thousands of workers, so its results are fairly indicative of what’s going on in the retirement-savings realm.

Paradoxically, this follows news last week that the overall U.S. savings rate is at zero percent. Too many people who should be taking advantage of these savings plans still don’t participate, and the modest gains in accounts still leave most Americans a long way short of prudent goals. Read the full story.

Register Now for ABI’s Winter Leadership Conference and Save!

Join ABI for the 17th Annual Winter Leadership Conference in beautiful Indian Wells, Calif. The meeting will be set at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa, one of the desert’s most luxurious hotels. Register before Sept. 16 and save $50!

The program of 14 CLE credit hours (including 3 hours of ethics) features a faculty of outstanding scholars, judges and practitioners from across the United States. More than 700 will attend! Timely topics—all updated with the latest legislative revisions—include:

  • The Year in Review (other than legislation) and Emerging Issues for 2006
  • Solemn Promise or Past Sin? Implications of Pension Terminations
  • Pre-petition Sanctions, Contempt (Civil/Criminal), Penalties and Punitive Damages: Allowability and Enforceability
  • Ten Hints to Surviving the New Consumer Bankruptcy Law
  • A Gift by Any Other Name: Absolute Priority Rule after Armstrong World
  • New Realities for Financial Advisors under the New Law and Other Emerging Problems
  • Right Without a Remedy?: Individual and Small Business Chapter 11 under the New Code
  • Breakfast Educational Program: New Law in Practice
  • Ethics: Swearing Contest—Certifications of Information and Other Ethical Quandaries of the New Law
  • Ethics: Special Conflicts Counsel: Best Practice or Big Case Aberration

This year’s meeting will also feature stand-up comedian Steve Bridges (a.k.a. “Mr. President”) and the all-ABI member rock-and-roll band, the Indubitable Equivalents. Optional events will include golf and tennis tournaments, The Living Desert tour, hot air ballooning, a Joshua Tree Jeep Eco-tour, an off-road quad tour and a cooking class.

Register today!

Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Bankruptcy Webinar!

The next Webinar in our comprehensive series about the new bankruptcy law, Consumer Bankruptcy III, will be held tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The Webinar features such topics as debtor education, disposable income in chapter 11 individual cases, discharge and dischargeability, impact on domestic support claims, bankruptcy appeals and tax treatment in individual cases. Participants will listen to the program live via telephone. Materials will be provided online.

Click here to register!

“Best of New York” Bankruptcy Conference Coming Soon!

The “Best of ABI” series brings the highest rated sessions from each ABI conference right to your office via teleconference.

How do you put an insolvent chapter 11 debtor to rest? What are your alternatives if you cannot confirm a “normal” plan? Find out by participating in ABI’s “Best of New York Bankruptcy Conference” at 1:00 p.m. on August 31, 2005.

This audioconference will explore both traditional and unconventional ideas including case dismissal, entry of a “bifurcation order,” a “virtual” chapter 7 proceeding in the chapter 11 proceeding, taking a “shot” at operating an administratively insolvent chapter 11 proceeding without a bifurcation order and confirmation of a plan for an administratively insolvent estate. The program features Chief Judge Stuart M. Bernstein; attorneys Scott L. Hazan, Andrew A. Kress and Joseph Samet; and U.S. Trustee Deirdre A. Martini. Visit ABI World for more information and to register for this timely event.

ABI Releases New Edition of Health Care Insolvency Manual

ABI’s timely second edition of Health Care Insolvency Manual, Second Edition, includes the significant health care and nonprofit provisions of the newly enacted Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Written by leading health care and bankruptcy practitioners, it covers such topics as the structure of different types of health care providers, the unique executory contract issues involved in health care cases, fraud and abuse, Medicare and Medicaid fundamentals and much more. William W. Kannel (Mintz Levin et al, Boston) and David C. Hillman (Verrill Dana, Portland, Maine) are co-editors. The 224-page book is available for purchase at ABI World. Member price is $15 and non-member price is $20.

ABI World Tutorial Highlights Search Engine

A new online tutorial focuses on the capability of ABI’s search engine. The tutorial features a visual demonstration of how to use the online search engine and locate documents quickly and easily on a particular bankruptcy topic within the thousands of articles, reports, publications, court documents and many other sources available at the ABI World web site. This is the third in a series of tutorials that will highlight the many resources and services available at ABI World.

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: