American Bankruptcy Institute Update

September 13, 2005

In This Issue



Fifth Circuit Extends Emergency Order

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has issued an emergency order detailing its operations in the immediate future. The court system has been closed since Aug. 26 due to Hurricane Katrina.

All bankruptcy filing deadlines are extended until Oct. 10, 2005. Trial and hearing dates will be rescheduled at a later date.

For questions regarding the local U.S. Trustees Office, go to For information about local chapter 13 cases, check the Web site for S.J. Beaulieu Jr., the chapter 13 trustee, at

Congress Considers Katrina Bankruptcy Relief Legislation

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and 27 additional Democratic co-sponsors introduced legislation on Sept. 8 to provide bankruptcy relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. H.R. 3697, the “Hurricane Katrina Bankruptcy Relief and Community Protections Act of 2005,” is designed to provide flexibility in BAPCPA for victims of natural disasters. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and 14 other Democratic senators, introduced similar legislation in the Senate. Because provisions in existing law already allow courts to grant exceptions for “special circumstances,” congressional action is uncertain.

The new bills would provide a one-year grace period for hurricane victims. Cases filed within one year of the effective date of the new law by people who live in the natural disaster area declared by the President will be handled under the law in effect on Aug. 29, 2005-- the date of the hurricane.

While focusing on the problems of individual debtors, the bill gives the courts additional flexibility to extend the deadlines for small business seeking to reorganize under chapter 11.

Find Disaster Relief Links on ABI’s Katrina Page

The ABI World homepage contains links to ways that members can assist victims of Hurricane Katrina []. Listed are local legal charitable organizations, offers of office space donations, court links and messages from ABI members in the region. The site is updated daily.

Banking and Credit Unions Testify on Katrina Relief Tomorrow

Banking and credit union industry representatives from Louisiana and Mississippi are scheduled to testify tomorrow at a House subcommittee hearing on efforts to improve hurricane victims' access to financial resources, CongressDaily reported today. Lawmakers, regulators and banking industry groups have noted that many hurricane evacuees have lost their personal identification and financial records. "While regulatory agencies and financial institutions are working together to ensure victims' cash and credit are readily accessible, we in Congress must immediately provide the tools these institutions need to continue this vital effort," Financial Services Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) said today. Bachu's panel is considering several legislative ideas for helping victims of Katrina, such as increasing deposit insurance coverage limits, easing prompt corrective action requirements for financial institutions whose capital levels have temporarily dropped because of the hurricane, and providing indemnity for institutions that accept checks from consumers with limited identification.


JPMorgan airline analyst Jamie Baker estimated in a research note that Atlanta-based Delta will reduce capacity by 15 percent from current levels, similar to the shrinkage of the two other major airlines in bankruptcy, United and US Airways, the Associated Press reported today. The comments came as Delta prepares to file for bankruptcy. Delta shares continued to fall yesterday. An industry consultant who has been informed of the company's plans told the Associated Press that the filing was expected to come Wednesday afternoon, but could be pushed to Thursday depending on when Delta secures roughly $2 billion in debtor-in-possession financing it is seeking.

Delta has racked up nearly $10 billion in losses since January 2001. In downgrading his rating on Delta to underweight from overweight, Baker said he believes Delta will continue to retire, sell or swap certain aircraft types as it simplifies its fleet. "While it may ultimately be reported that Katrina knocked Delta from the sky, management's apparent inability to vigorously pursue asset sales, debt-for-equity exchanges, credit card processor replacement, wage reductions and all-around liquidity raising in light of dramatically higher fuel prices rank among the primary reasons for our updated outlook," Baker wrote in his research note. Full story.


Join ABI for the 17th Annual Winter Leadership Conference in beautiful Indian Wells, California at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa, one of the Palm Springs area’s most luxurious hotels.

The program of 14 CLE credit hours (including 3 hours of ethics) features a faculty of renowned scholars, judges and practitioners from across the United States. A wide variety of committee educational sessions will be offered. 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:
    Allow ability 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 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, tennis, The Living Desert, hot air ballooning, a Joshua Tree Jeep Eco-tour, off-road quad tours and a cooking class.

Register by September 16 and save $50 on registration!


The program features the views of 18 U.S. bankruptcy judges from across the country. Timely topics—all updated with the latest legislative revisions—include:

  • First-day Issues: Changes in procedures under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA)
  • Section 363: New Developments Including Precision Industries Inc. v. Qualitech—Sales Free and Clear of Leases and Other Valuable Rights?
  • Mass Tort Problems: Including Prepacks, Legislation, Future Claims and Combustion Engineering
  • Separate Topical Break-out Lunches with the Judges: A unique opportunity for attendees to follow up on the morning’s topics in small groups with the judges and speakers.
  • Pension and Employee Issues: Reconciling the Interests of Unions/Employees, the PBGC and the Estate: §1113 and Terminating Underfunded Pension Plans.
  • Legal Ethics: Examination of Issues Involving Representation of the Creditors’ Committee, Conflicts and Solicitation for Appointment.
  • BAPCPA: How Will the Act Affect Business Bankruptcies, including Reclamation, Preferences, Exclusivity, Property of the Estate, Plan Modification, and Discharge of Debtors Under Chapter 11?

Register Now!

“Best of Central States” Bankruptcy Conference Registration Now Open

The “Best of ABI” Webinar, “Preclusion Issues: Been There, Done That” will be held on September 21, 2005, at 1:00 p.m. Central / 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

Among the featured presenters will be:

  • Hon. Susan Pierson Sonderby
    U.S. Bankruptcy Court
    Northern District of Illinois
    Chicago, Ill.
  • Timothy F. Nixon
    Godfrey & Kahn SC
    Green Bay, Wis.
  • Robert B. Millner
    Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, LLP
    Chicago, Ill.
  • Robert D. Gordon
    Clark Hill, PLC
    Detroit, Mich.

Click here to register!

The “Best of ABI” series brings the highest-rated sessions from each ABI conference right to your office. We provide a special Web interface for this program, allowing participants to interact online with presenters through Q&As, file-sharing and dynamic polling. ABI offers the latest distance learning technology in order to provide you with this innovative learning experience. CLE/CPE credit will be available in certain states.


ABI’s new and improved Consumer Education Center is up and running at

The user-friendly Consumer Education Center Website contains information critical to the decision-making process for consumers considering bankruptcy, including:


  • “Should I File for Bankruptcy?” – complete with the “Consumer Bankruptcy Checklist” of important considerations
  • Comprehensive bankruptcy FAQs that take the consumer from the decision-making process all the way through exiting bankruptcy
  • Links to pertinent resources, including major credit counseling organizations and a host of “financial literacy” sources
  • A directory of certified bankruptcy attorneys
  • An ABI-produced video program, “Taking Charge of your Finances,” on the basics of household budgeting and bankruptcy options

Check it out today!

Prepare for the Certification Exam

The new bankruptcy law provides that courts will take into account board certification when awarding attorney fees under Section 330. The American Board of Certification is offering its exams several times this fall (2005 exams will cover current law). You can prepare for the exams with a handy and affordable CD-ROM prepared by board-certified ABI members. The CD includes materials on consumer bankruptcy, business bankruptcy, ethics and creditors’ rights. Sample exam questions and answers are also included. Member price is $195. Buy Now!

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: