ILNews

Hoosier bankruptcy filings among highest

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Bankruptcy filings have increased so much in Indiana that some U.S. trustees handling Chapter 7 proceedings may want to add an extra session each month to hear new cases.

Attorneys statewide are seeing more clients from an uptick in filings, and as a result are not surprised to hear that federal filings across the country surged 38 percent in 2007. Nor are they surprised that Indiana ranked fourth highest in the nation overall and top in the country for the number of Chapter 7 filings last year.

"It doesn't surprise me that numbers are up," said Fort Wayne bankruptcy attorney Edward Craig. "Indiana isn't the best place to practice (bankruptcy) law in the world, but in terms of need there's no better place. This is still a lucrative practice."

Figures released Tuesday from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts show federal bankruptcy filings surged 38 percent last year, a significant jump following a year that saw sharp declines after the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Prevention Act took effect in October 2005.

A historic high came in 2005 prior to the federal law, when more than 2 million bankruptcies were filed. Overall filings fell sharply in 2006 to about 617,580 but started climbing again last year, reaching 850,912 filings, figures show. Chapter 7 filings increased 44 percent, from 360,890 to 519,364 filings; Chapter 13 filings increased 29 percent, from 251,179 to 324,773 filings. The Chapter 11 filings jumped 23 percent while the Chapter 12 filings rose by less than 1 percent, figures show.

Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama ranked first through third in total Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings, respectively. In Indiana, the Northern District Bankruptcy Court saw a surge greater than the national average while the Southern District closely mirrored what was happening nationally. The Northern District filings increased from 8,279 in 2006 to 11,764 last year; the Southern District jumped from 13,955 to 19,358 in 2007.

About 8,583 filings in the Northern District represented Chapter 7 bankruptcies, while 12,846 were in that category in the Southern District, the figures show.

In Indianapolis, bankruptcy attorney Jim Young with Rubin & Levin said his colleagues are not surprised by the increase in filings.

"We've been speculating as to when it would start picking up, and this shows that's happening," he said. "Normally, the Indianapolis panel (of trustees) would have two days a month when they'd hear new cases, but starting in May they are starting a third session. That's a consistent indication of how much the bankruptcy caseload is picking up for the trustees."

Young said that Indiana's economy, as in other states seeing similar high bankruptcy filings, is a main reason for the increase.

The current level of bankruptcy filings is probably close to where it should be, or is at least getting to that point, said Craig.

"You have to go pre-scare, not just pre-2005," he said. "That goes before 2001 or maybe even before the rumblings of bankruptcy reform in the late 1990s. Numbers now are close to that (2000) level, and 2008 is promising to turn out to be comparable."
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

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