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Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota Blog

Money is Fungible:  Safeguard the Character of Exempt Assets

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A bankruptcy case begins when a debtor files a bankruptcy petition in a bankruptcy court. The start of the case creates a bankruptcy estate, which contains “all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case.” 11 U.S.C. § 541(a)(1). However, specific property of a debtor is excluded from the bankruptcy estate via statutorily created safe harbors known as exemptions. 11 U.S.C. § 522. An exemption withdraws an interest from the bankruptcy estate, and consequently from the creditors, for the benefit of the debtors.

Extending the Automatic Stay to Co-Debtors

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The most beneficial protection provided to individuals and corporate entities filing during bankruptcy proceedings is the “automatic stay”. The automatic stay is immediately invoked upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition and prevents any creditor from taking actions to collect a pre-petition debt. This article will explore whether any other individual or corporate entity also obligated to the same debt (also know as a “co-debtor”) is protected by the automatic stay, even if they did not seek bankruptcy relief.

Using a Guardian Ad Litem for an Incompetent Individual During a Bankruptcy Proceeding

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While individual debtors are permitted to use power of attorneys during  bankruptcy proceedings, there are rare circumstances that obtaining a guardian ad litem for an incompetent individual may be beneficial to administering the bankruptcy estate. As such, this blog will analyze the law and rare request for a guardian ad litem for purposes of a bankruptcy proceeding.

New Jersey Bans Pre-Employment Salary History Inquiries

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Effective January 25, 2020, private employers in New Jersey will be prohibited from requiring applicants to provide wage and salary history in connection with an offer of employment. Specifically, the new law makes it unlawful for any private employer to screen a job applicant based on the applicant’s salary history (including an applicant’s prior wages and/or salary) or require the applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria for an offer of employment.

The Foreclosure Process and Bankruptcy: How to Save Your Home

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Most homeowners don’t pay enough attention to educating themselves about the foreclosure process. Look at it this way, if you’re buying a home and don’t know the foreclosure process and your options, you’re like a soldier without a rifle - you are flying blind my home-owning friend. Educating yourself about the foreclosure process and your options should be one of the first things a homeowner should do before or after buying a home. This blog will explore the foreclosure process and how you could save your home or investment property through a bankruptcy.

Should You Include Any Rights Arising from a Lawsuit or Potential Lawsuit in a Bankruptcy?

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When filing for bankruptcy, you must file a bankruptcy petition. The Bankruptcy Code requires that the bankruptcy petition contain all of your assets. An asset, which you might not think is an asset, includes a lawsuit or potential lawsuit that arises from an event that occurred prior to your bankruptcy filing.

SCURA, WIGFIELD, HEYER, STEVENS & CAMMAROTA, LLP SUCCESSFULLY MOVES FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN ADVERSARY PROCEEDING BROUGHT BY CREDITORs PURSUANT TO 11 U.S.C. § 523(A)(6)

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Recently, I successfully represented a debtor in an adversary proceeding brought by creditors (the Plaintiffs) seeking to have the debt owed to them declared non-dischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6). In this case, my client’s entity, in which he was the sole shareholder, formerly owned and operated a bar in Colorado for a short period of time. During the time that his entity owned the bar, employees complained of sexual harassment at the hands of the bar’s manager, who was the Debtor’s brother-in-law. This blog will explore the facts and circumstances of this case along with the legal standard to explore why the Judge ultimately found that the Debtor was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


ENFORCING INTERLOCUTORY ORDERS

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“Lawsuits are war. It’s as simple as that and they all begin the same way; a declaration of war: the complaint.” -John Grisham, A Civil Action. After the complaint, the war is waged through discovery until final judgment or settlement. Litigation attorneys are constantly strategizing, planning and calculating how to gain the competitive advantage. We are trained to wage these wars against our adversaries in a civil, professional manner. Sometimes civility and professionalism break down in the process. Regardless, during the lawsuit, one party may feel that the other party is not fighting fair by disobeying court orders. It is incumbent upon the aggrieved party to level the battlefield by forcing compliance with the court’s orders. This is especially true in the discovery context. This article details the usage of a Motion to Enforce Litigants Rights as a tool to keep you adversary honest.

Bankruptcy and Executory Contracts: You Have Options

Executory-ContractIn a recent experience with a client (“Jane Doe”), she began by telling me that after six months of infusing her franchise with cash directly from her retirement accounts, the franchise was doing poorly and she had no idea how to get out of the hole. To add salt to the wound, she had personally guaranteed i) the lease to the commercial space; ii) the franchise agreement; and the small business loan that the business needed to get started. This is obviously a worse case scenario for a business owners, especially if the business isn’t making any profit because its only a matter of time before the business shuts down and the creditors start coming after the business owner. After an hour of getting a sense of her personal and business finances, I began to explain to Mrs. Doe, the different options she had and how these “Executory Contracts” would be treated within her bankruptcy.


WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY CASE

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It is nearly impossible to predict what the future holds in life. Therefore, when you enter a five-year chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, you never know what life changes may be thrown your way during the plan period. You may lose your job, obtain a significant increase in income, or receive an inheritance amongst other possibilities. This blog will explore how common life changes will impact your chapter 13 plan and what your options are to react to those changes.

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