News & Resources

Weltman Judges 2013 Mock Trial Invitational at Yale University

NEW HAVEN - Partner Richard E. Weltman sat as a judge for the 18th Annual Yale Mock Trial Invitational on December 7 and 8, 2013. Details about the 2013 Yale Mock Trial Invitational can be found here.

The two-day event in New Haven, Connecticut fielded 42 teams from undergraduate colleges and universities across the United States. The student competitors, who serve as both attorneys and witnesses, emulate a jury trial based upon a fictional case using rules similar to the Federal Rules of Evidence. The 2013 competition results can be found here


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Rent Stabilization & Bankruptcy: Nightmare for NYC Tenants or Boon for Landlords and Owners?

We recently re-tweeted an article published in The New York Times on Monday October 21, 2013, entitled “Widow’s Bankruptcy Case Poses Risk to Rent-Stabilized Tenants.” 

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ALERT - William K. Harrington to replace Tracy Hope Davis as U.S. Trustee for Region 2

William K. Harrington, the U.S. Trustee for Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island (Region 1), has been designated by Attorney General Eric Holder also to serve Region 2 replacing Tracy Hope Davis effective Nov. 27. 

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Chapter 13 Creditor’s Success Story Starts With Engagement of Skilled NY Bankruptcy Law Team

One of our lender clients, a New York City-based Federal Credit Union, came to us with a dilemma.

It seems the credit union was not receiving post-petition mortgage payments from its borrower, a chapter 13 debtor. Nor was the client receiving distribution payments from the debtor’s chapter 13 trustee. The lender had relied upon foreclosure counsel to handle the chapter 13 filing. Unfortunately, foreclosure counsel, not familiar with chapter 13 practice, only filed a Notice of Appearance and nothing else, not even a proof of claim.


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Loss Mitigation: How Borrower Bankruptcies Impact Lenders

Between 1998 and 2007, home mortgage debt nearly tripled from 4 trillion dollars to 10 trillion dollars. This mortgage boom resulted from easy lending and questionable subprime market practices. When the housing bubble burst, the economy tumbled. Many borrowers found themselves both unable to make mortgage payments and owners of real property worth less than what they owed. In response, many homeowners filed bankruptcy petitions either under chapter 7 to surrender their home, or chapter 13 to stop a foreclosure, repay pre-petition arrears, and hold on to their home.

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ALERT – Judicial Committees Publish Proposed Amendments to Bankruptcy Procedures and Forms

By Michael L. Moskowitz

On August 15, 2013, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States released their proposed amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules and Forms. The proposed amendments, rules committee reports, and other information are posted on the Judiciary’s website.  

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Debt Collection Firm Sanctioned for ‘Unintentional Error’ Under FDCPA

In a recent Southern District of New York decision, Judge Lorna Schofield held that Kucker & Bruh, LLP (“K&B”), a debt collection firm, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), by misrepresenting the character, amount and legal status of rent arrears allegedly owed by 82-year-old tenant Rafael Lee.

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Ediscovery Update: Sanctions Imposed For Less Than ‘Innocent’ Destruction Of Emails

A third revisit to purposeful evidence destruction—even when found to be “not malevolent”—was not a charm for the party doing the damage, according to a recent decision by Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin, who practically invented the “spoliation of evidence” sanction in New York’s federal district court for the Southern District about 10 years ago.

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“Shadow Docket” Reform Moves New York Foreclosure Cases to Settlement Conferences

On July 31, 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the so-called “Shadow Docket” Bill in connection with New York residential foreclosure actions. The bill adds a new section 3012-b to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”). The new law also amends CPLR § 3408.

The new law is intended to promote the honesty and transparency in the residential foreclosure process by clarifying the obligations of lenders’ attorneys to the court and eliminating the growing number of “shadow docket” cases. Such cases are held in legal limbo while awaiting critical information necessary to trigger the scheduling of mandatory settlement conferences.  The Office of Court Administration estimates that as of July 7, 2013, there are between 5,000 to 7,000 shadow foreclosure cases.

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ALERT: Peninsula Hospital Trustee Files Multiple Adversary Proceeding Cases

On August 15, 2013, Lori Lapin Jones, as Trustee of Peninsula Hospital Center, a chapter 11 bankruptcy case pending in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn Vicinage), filed more than three dozen adversary proceeding cases seeking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in money or property for the benefit of the debtor’s creditors.

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Student Loans in Bankruptcy Update

In re Marlow, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee affirmed that the debtor failed to demonstrate that paying his graduate and law school student loans constituted an undue hardship pursuant to the Brunner test, which was adopted by the Sixth Circuit.  In re Marlow, 2013 WL 3515726, at * 3 (E.D. Tenn. 2013).

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Second Circuit Confirms Madoff Trustee Lacks Standing to Assert Common Law Claims against Third-Party Financial Institutions

In Picard v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (In re Bernard L. Madoff Invest. Secs. LLC), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held last month that the “doctrine of in pari delicto" precluded Irving H. Picard, the trustee under the Securities Investor Protection Act (“SIPA”), from pursuing JP Morgan Chase & Co., HSBC Bank PLC, and other third-party defendants, on behalf of defrauded customers for certain common law claims.  In re Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC, 2013 WL 3064848 (2d. Cir. June 20, 2013).

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Tide May be Turning for Student Loan Dischargeability in Bankruptcy

Several recent decisions demonstrate that courts are reconsidering the treatment of student loan debt dischargeability in bankruptcy under the “undue hardship” exception of section 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code. If the trend continues, the long-standing Brunner test may become a mere “relic of times gone by.” Roth v. Educational Credit Management Corp., 490 B.R. 908 (9th Cir. BAP 2013).

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Lenders Who Fail to Comply With CPLR 3408 Risk Significant Penalties

As lenders are aware, foreclosure proceedings in New York have changed considerably subsequent to the enactment of CPLR § 3408 and similar legislation, which placed additional obligations on lenders commencing a foreclosure action with respect to a homeowner’s primary residence. 

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Last month the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (“Second Circuit”) issued a decision of interest to all secured lenders. The case, Christopher Weber v SEFCU, rejected the reasoning of the District Court for the Northern District of New York in the Alberto case that had allowed a secured creditor to essentially sit on repossessed collateral until the debtor makes an offer of adequate protection.  This decision now becomes the law of New York and Connecticut, unless the matter is appealed and reversed by the United States Supreme Court which is highly unlikely.

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CPLR §3215(c) Mandates Moving For Entry of Judgment Within One Year After Default Or Face Dismissal – A Cautionary Tale and A Success Story

Our client, a major New York-area Credit Union, hired outside counsel to file a residential foreclosure action involving a home loan. The complaint, filed by another law firm, was not verified by an officer or employee of the foreclosing lender.  Rather, it was signed only by the attorney.  Defendant homeowner failed to file an answer to the complaint...

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A Lawyer Representing Herself in a Commercial Dispute May Well Have a Fool for a Client

In a tangled commercial dispute, a law firm and its principal owner, without counsel, sued a well-respected New York City business equipment and technology services company for breach of contract.  Problem was, the law firm targeted the wrong party in a grudge match over a faulty printer...

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As authorized in Section 603(a) of Public Law 109-8, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), the United States Trustee Program (USTP) established procedures for independent audit firms to audit petitions, schedules, and other information in consumer bankruptcy cases. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 586(f), the USTP contracted with independent accounting firms to perform audits in cases designated by the USTP.  Due to budgetary constraints, the USTP has indefinitely suspended its designation of cases subject to audit and has notified the independent accounting firms performing the audits.  Pursuant to Section 603(a) of BAPCPA and 28 U.S.C. § 586(a)(6), after the conclusion of the fiscal year the USTP will make public information concerning the aggregate results of the debtor audits performed during fiscal year 2013.

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Weltman & Moskowitz, LLP, a New York City-based business and bankruptcy law firm, has announced the ribbon-cutting for its extensively renovated midtown east location near Grand Central Station.

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On March 20, 2013, Michael L. Moskowitz, a founding member of Weltman & Moskowitz, LLP, participated as one of the judges in the Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School’s 25th Annual Marvin Hazan Moot Court Competition.

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9 Videos About Bankruptcy Basics

The United States Courts created 9 videos to help explain the basics of filing for bankruptcy relief. Whether you are a debtor or a creditor, these resources will be helpful to understand bankruptcy process.

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