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Your Bankruptcy Discharge Doesn’t End Your Case

Isn’t my case over?

I got my discharge.  Why’s the bankruptcy trustee still  hounding me?, my client asks.

People who’ve filed bankruptcy are focused on the discharge as their goal.

With their discharge in hand, they think it’s all over.

They lose sight of the fact that the administration of a bankruptcy estate by the trustee runs on a parallel track to the one that leads the debtor to a discharge.

Different tracks.  Different timelines.

Trustee’s job

The Chapter 7 trustee’s job doesn’t necessarily end at the 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors in each case, usually about 30 days after the filing, where the debtor appears and answers questions.

Most Chapter 7 cases end for the trustee with the first meeting of creditors.  There are no assets for the trustee to administer and no unanswered questions.

But the trustee may have responsibilities that remain after the meeting.

The trustee is charged with investigating the debtor’s right to a discharge and with turning any nonexempt assets of the debtor  into cash for benefit of creditors.

How exemptions work

The trustee may need to know about bank balances on the date of filing or transfers that he may be able to recover.

If he has assets to distribute, he needs to review the claims filed by creditors.  If the bankruptcy estate has income, he may need to file a tax return.

There can be lots of work for the trustee in an asset bankruptcy case.

Road to discharge

For the debtor, the track is usually far shorter.

The Bankruptcy Code was structured to let the debtor know very quickly after the filing of the case whether he will get a discharge.

Or rather, it’s set up to let the debtor know whether there’s a dispute about getting a bankruptcy discharge or about the dischargeability of a particular debt.

The notice that goes out to creditors right after a bankruptcy case is filed sets out the deadline for creditors to challenge the discharge or the dischargeability of a particular debt.  That date is usually 60 days after the date of the first meeting of creditors.

Anyone challenging the discharge must file an adversary proceeding with the bankruptcy court in that time.

Absent the filing of an adversary, the court issues the discharge.  The debtor heaves a sigh of relief and thinks it’s all over.

Trustee work continues

The trustee’s work is not ended by the debtor’s discharge.

If there are assets, he’s still got work to do.  He may need information or other forms of cooperation from the debtor to do his job as trustee.

The debtor’s failure to provide that cooperation can lead to an action to revoke the discharge.  So the debtor still has some skin in that game.

The administration of some bankruptcy estates goes on for years.  It all depends on the nature of the assets the trustee is administering.

No asset cases

The vast majority of bankruptcy cases are no-asset cases.

That’s a shorthand way to say that there are no assets for the trustee to administer and there will be no distribution to creditors.  Even though  Chapter 7 is termed a liquidation proceeding, there may be nothing of value worth liquidating.

In those cases, the trustee may file his no-asset report and close his file long before the debtor gets the discharge.

So the trustee and the debtor proceed down the tracks of a bankruptcy case, in parallel, but not intersecting.

Creditor Governance

Creditor Governance

By William R. McCumber (College of Business, Louisiana Tech University) and Tomas Jandik (Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas)

A traditional view of creditors is that they are largely passive investors unless a borrower violates the terms of a loan agreement or misses a payment. However, like institutional shareholders, creditors hold concentrated positions in firm securities (loan shares), are sophisticated investors, and have access to senior management and non-public information. Since debt financing is much more common than equity financing, and because the great majority of credit agreements are honored, it is important to better understand how creditors advise and monitor portfolio (borrower) firms. We find that creditors play a significant role in corporate governance under normal circumstances, i.e. when firms are not in technical violation or default. Borrower firms are less likely than non-borrowers firms to file for bankruptcy in the intermediate future, and borrowers shift financial and investment decisions away from value-reducing policies and toward value-creating investments. Importantly, these changes are profitable for borrower firms since both cash flows and returns on assets improve at least three years after loan origination, which in turn decreases creditor portfolio risk. We also find that when creditors retain a larger proportion of the loan on their books, changes in borrower firm financials are more pronounced, providing evidence that creditors exert a greater governing force when more exposed to borrower risk.

[SOURCE]

 

First Meeting With Your Attorney

First Meeting With Your Attorney

What do you do when you are involved in an automobile accident that is not your fault and the insurance company for the person who hit you is calling? You need an attorney.  The insurance company for the guy who hit you is not calling to ask how much your check should be.  The insurance companies do not want you to get legal advice because once you know your rights, they cannot take advantage of you.

Set an appointment to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. The attorney will have numerous questions about the case that involve information only known by you.  There are documents you should get and information you should have in mind prior to this meeting.

First, get your automobile insurance and health insurance information. That information is important for payment of medical bills and possible claims under your uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) portion of your policy.

Second, have a list of all known witnesses to the accident. Addresses and phone numbers are very helpful.  If you have the Traffic Collision Report or police report, always bring it.  If you do not have a report you should have been given a card that contains the report number.  Bring that card to the meeting with our attorney.  Information about the other party who caused the accident is important including name, address and phone number.  If known, bring any information you have concerning the insurance of the other party.

Third, take photographs of property damage and personal injuries and bring whatever photographs you do have. If they are on your cell phone, bring the telephone.  We will need to know where the car is located or where it was fixed.  If you have given a statement to any insurance company or investigator, bring the name, address and telephone number of the person with whom you spoke.

Lastly, if you have had earlier civil claims, lawsuits or workers’ compensation claims involving the same parts of your body or injuries similar to the ones in this accident, bring your old legal paperwork or medical records. If you have medical records from the present accident, bring those records.

These documents will help your case proceed more rapidly. Bring these documents and make that first appointment with your attorney much easier and productive for you and the attorney.

Personal Injury Plaintiff Can’t Hide Post-Accident Instagram Posts, Judge Finds

A plaintiff who brought a lawsuit over injuries she allegedly suffered in a motor vehicle accident—injuries she says have caused her a loss of enjoyment in life—has failed in her bid to keep photos from her Instagram account from being admitted in her case.

The defendants are seeking an admission from plaintiff Christina Smith that photos and a video posted on Instagram after her March 21, 2015, motor vehicle accident, in which a young woman is depicted engaging in various activities, such as rock climbing and strolling on a boardwalk, are indeed of Smith.

The majority of the photos for which the defendants seek admissions are “selfies,” said acting Bronx Supreme Court Justice John Higgitt. For those who don’t know what a selfie is, the judge cites an entry from the Oxford English Dictionary: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”

On the day of the accident, Smith was being driven upstate to visit her father in Gowanda Correctional Facility in Erie County in a van being driven by defendant Stafford Brown, which collided with a vehicle being driven by defendant Frank Pasquale on a ramp for Interstate 86 in Cattaraugus County.

Smith claims she suffered injuries to her spine and her knee and has sued both Brown and Pasquale for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life. Earlier this year, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Julia Rodriguez denied Brown’s bid for summary judgment.

Pasquale moved to admit in August, arguing that the Instagram photos show that, if they depict Smith, her injuries aren’t as severe as she claims, as well as an admission that she changed her account from public to private at some point after the accident.

Scott Rynecki of Rubenstein & Rynecki, who represents Smith, did not answer Pasquale’s motion to admit and responded instead with a motion for a protective order.

But Higgitt denied Rynecki’s motion, finding that the motion to admit concerns “clear-cut matters of fact”: either Smith has an Instagram account or she doesn’t, the judge said.

Ralph Schoene of Collins, Fitzpatrick & Schoene represents Pasquale; Theresa Mariano of the Law Office of Dennis C. Bartling appeared for Brown.

Rynecki declined to comment and Schoene did not respond to a request for comment.

[SOURCE]

Attorney General Underwood Urges Federal Action To Stop Illegal Robocalls And Spoofing Plaguing Consumers In New York And Across The Country

Bipartisan Coalition of 34 Attorneys General Urges FCC to Let Phone Companies Do More to Block Illegal Robocalls – Including Neighbor Spoofing

NEW YORK – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood – part of a bipartisan coalition of 34 Attorneys General – today called on the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules to allow telephone service providers to block more illegal robocalls being made to unsuspecting consumers in New York and across the country.

In formal comments filed with the FCC, the Attorneys General explain that scammers using illegal robocalls have found ways to evade a call blocking order entered last year by the FCC. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million illegal robocall complaints – two and a half times more than in 2014.

Last year, at the urging of a coalition of Attorneys General, the FCC granted phone service providers authority to block certain illegal spoofed robocalls; the Attorneys General now seek added authority for the providers to work together to detect and block more illegal spoofed robocalls – including “neighbor spoofing.”

“Unwanted robocalls aren’t just a nuisance – they’re a means for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Underwood. “New Yorkers have been bombarded with these illegal robocall scams – including the all-too-common spoofed calls that appear to come from a neighbor – and it’s time for federal action.”

“Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, making it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice. “Virtually anyone can send millions of illegal robocalls and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer, inexpensive software and an internet connection,” the Attorneys General wrote in the comments filed with the FCC.

One tactic on the rise is “neighbor spoofing,” a technique that allows calls – no matter where they originate – to appear on a consumer’s caller ID as being made from a phone number that has the same local area code and exchange as the consumer. This manipulation of caller ID information increases the likelihood that the consumer will answer the call.

In November 2017, the FCC issued the 2017 Call Blocking Order, which will give phone service providers the ability to authenticate legitimate calls and identify illegally spoofed calls and block them. The added authority sought by the Attorneys General today will allow service providers to use new technology to detect and block illegal spoofed calls – even those coming from what are otherwise legitimate phone numbers. Service providers will be ready to launch this new authentication method in 2019.

To date, the FCC has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning additional provider-initiated call blocking. The Attorneys General anticipate that further requests for comments will take place on this subject.

The comments were signed by the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.

[SOURCE]

Google did not disclose security bug because it feared regulation, says report

 

  • Google discovered a software bug that gave third-party developers access to the private profile data of users of its Google+ social network.
  • In response, Google will shut down the consumer functionality of the service over the next ten months.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Google didn’t disclose the breach when it first discovered it in March to avoid regulatory scrutiny and reputational damage.

Google did not initially disclose a Google+ security bug when it first discovered it this spring because it feared regulatory scrutiny and reputational damage, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing documents and people briefed on the incident.

Google wrote in its own blog post on the incident that it determines when to notify users about privacy and security bugs based on the type of data involved, whether it can accurately identify who to inform, whether there is evidence of misuse, and whether there is any action that a user can take in response, and that based on that criteria it didn’t immediately alert users of the Google+ bug.

However, a memo prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and seen by the Journal shows that leadership was also concerned about causing a potential privacy scandal. The memo allegedly warned senior executives that news of the bug would cause “immediate regulatory interest” and draw comparisons to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

It’s been a rocky summer for big tech: In the past year, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other technology companies have all testified before various House and Senate committees about their data and privacy practices, the risk of election meddling, and their possible conservative bias, among other topics. President Donald Trump has made critical comments about both Google and the other tech platforms, but the administration has not yet proposed any sort of actual regulation. Google has gotten in trouble overseas though: The European Union slapped the company with a $5 billion fine for antritrust abuse of its mobile operating system, Android.

With this bug, the possibly exposed data included the names, email addresses, birth dates, profile photos, and gender of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts, though not any information related to personal communication or phone numbers. Google says that 438 apps may have used the application programming interface, or API, that made the private data available, but that it found no evidence that any developers misused the information.

The company plans to shut down all consumer functionality of Google+ over the next ten months, although it will maintain the enterprise version used by its G Suite business customers. Since the social network first launched in 2011, it failed to gain popular appeal and was broken up into separate products in 2015. The blog post states that the consumer version currently has low usage and engagement and that 90 percent of user sessions last less than five seconds.

Google discovered the bug during a comprehensive review of third-party developer access to all Google account and Android device data. In its blog post revealing the bug, Google also said that it’s going to make it easier for users to see and control exactly what data they share with apps,

Google shares fell more than 2 percent to $1134.23 on the news, though recovered several hours after the report initially published, to less than a percent down.

Alphabet didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

[SOURCE]

Ridesharing accidents can happen in Corpus Christi. Timothy Raub can help you understand your rights if it happens to you.

     Timothy Raub is a personal injury lawyer in Corpus Christi that can help you understand your rights when using a rideshare service. Rideshare operations such as Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular in Corpus Christi and other cities throughout the United States. It’s easy to see why they have become popular. Looking a ride through your smartphone is faster, easier, and often less expensive than hailing a cab. Also, many people believe that rideshare services are safer. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft accidents still often happen in the Corpus Christi and surrounding areas.

     Uber/Lyft does insure drivers and passengers involved in car crashes. However, when drivers are using their vehicles for personal use, they are covered under their personal auto insurance policy. If a driver is using the app but has yet to start a trip, they are covered under their personal insurance policy and Uber’s/Lyft’s contingent liability policy, which provides up to $50,000 per injury for a total of $100,000 and up to $25,000 in property damage in the event the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the issue. If an Uber/Lyft driver has accepted a fare or is on a trip with a passenger, they are are covered by a one million dollar liability policy and a one million dollar uninsured/underinsured policy. The UM/UIM coverage protects drivers and passengers in event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

     If you are a third party, such as a pedestrian or the driver or occupant of another vehicle, you may only claim compensation from Uber /Lyft if the driver was carrying a passenger at the time of the crash or in route to pick up a fare. If the driver was between fares or using his or her car as a personal vehicle, you must file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance company or your own insurance company if the driver had no personal coverage.

     In theory, all passengers are covered under Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, Uber/Lyft classifies its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, which allows them to claim that they are not liable for the actions of their drivers. Therefore, if a case has damages that exceed Uber’s or Lyft’s one million dollar policy limit, an injured party may face some difficulty in pursuing a claim.

     While Uber/Lyft does have a significant insurance policy, you have to keep in mind that its insurance carrier is a business, and like any other insurance carrier they are going to look to limit their liability and pay you as little as possible for your injuries. Therefore, it is important that you seek out an experienced personal injury attorney, such as the Raub Law Firm, for advice on your specific situation. We offer free consultations and you can contact us at anytime, at 361-880-8181.

Treat Consistently for the Best Case Results

It’s important when you’re injured to treat consistently. This means: 1) get care soon after the accident; 2) get continuing care as prescribed; 3) follow doctor’s orders; 4) don’t miss appointments; 5) see a specialist if more generalized care is not fixing the problem within two or three months; 6) if a doctor releases you and says to report back for problems, report back for problems. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will always use gaps or problems in treatment against you.

To avoid making costly mistakes during your personal injury claim, take a moment to learn about some of the most common ones, so you can take the proper measures to prevent yourself from making them as well:

  • You delayed medical treatment: Many individuals feel fine or assume their injuries are minor after being involved in an accident. Unfortunately, many also later find that what seemed insignificant is actually a real medical problem. If you delayed seeking medical treatment, your personal injury claim is going to take a major hit and the insurance company will likely try to argue that, since you put off treatment, you are either exaggerating your injuries or did not actually sustain them in the accident. Moreover, you are putting your health at risk when you fail to see a doctor. Head injuries, for example, have the potential to produce life-altering effects, though they do not always produce immediate symptoms. Protect your health and your claim and see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • You ignored your doctor’s advice: So, you went to the doctor, but then you failed to follow his or her advice. That is another huge mistake. Not only can this harm your health and ability to recover from your injuries, but it is going to hurt your case and make you seem as though you are not as injured as you claimed to be.You represented yourself: We trust professionals to do an endless number of tasks for us. You take your clothes to the dry cleaner, drive your car to a mechanic, trust plumbers and other maintenance crew to make sure your home is in tip-top shape, and so much more. Why would you take care of something as important as your personal injury claim on your own? A lot is at stake, particularly if you were severely injured and are in desperate need of compensation to cover the cost of your medical bills or lost wages. Assuming that you have the ability to represent yourself regarding a complex legal matter which typically requires years of education, training, and experience is a major mistake that no one should make.
  • You did not seek legal advice: Plenty of people are hesitant about hiring a personal injury attorney after an accident, but this does not mean you should not seek legal advice. Before you make any decisions, you should absolutely obtain some legal advice first, especially since many personal injury law firms provide free initial consultations.
  • You gave a written statement or consented to a recorded interview: Insurance adjusters are quick to call injury victims after an accident and, as part of their predatory behavior, they will urge you to provide a statement in some form. They might even make it sound as though it is your obligation to do so. You are not legally obligated to provide a written or recorded statement! This will only do your personal injury claim harm, so politely refuse to consent to this.
  • You post on social media: Even if you are not posting specifically about your case or your injury, any social media activity can be taken out of context and potentially used against you. For example, if you post a picture of yourself having a good time at a friend’s birthday party, it could be argued that since you seem to be enjoying yourself, the injury is not impacting your life as much as you claim it has. Why risk it? Just halt your social media activity until your case reaches a resolution and closes.

 

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