Exciting times for your bankruptcy attorney

Exciting times for your bankruptcy attorney

The Supreme Court began its annual session today. Newly appointed Justice Elena Kagan took the bench for the first time after having been sworn in to replace retired Justice John Paul Stevens.

Yes, feminists–there are now three women on the bench. But that is not what gets me so excited.

Last year’s term brought bankruptcy attorneys like me three cases that change the way we practice law and assist clients navigate the Code. This year’s term will result in more of the same.

Today kicked off with a case that will determine a key deduction on the means test. The case is Ransom v. FIA Card Services N.A., fka MBNA America Bank, N.A.

Here’s a summary of the case from USA Today published October 4, 2010.

This case is exciting to me because the outcome could open up another deduction on the means test that could reduce the amount of “disposal monthly income” available to payback creditors in Chapter 13. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the debtor, it could also open up another deduction that might allow more Georgians to qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge.

I have a hard time imagining that the court will ultimately rule in favor of the debtor. The Bankruptcy Court, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals all agreed with the creditors. Ransom went to the Supreme Court because there was a different interpretation of the Code in another circuit.

And, on the other hand, the court LOVES to rely on the so-called ‘plain language of the statute.’ There is at least some hope that the plain language will be interpreted to allow the deduction. We won’t know the court’s decision until late next spring.

Also bolstering the idea that the Supreme Court will side with the debtor is last year’s decision in Hamilton v. Lanning, which stated that the means test must contemplate ‘known or virtually certain’ expenses when determining the debtor’s disposable monthly income–the core of the Chapter 13 plan payment. You better believe I’ve been using Lanning as a sword and a shield since it was decided.

Who do you want handling your Chapter 13 my friends?

Call me, Attorney Shannon McDuffie to arrange your consultation. (404) 418-8879