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COA: student loan funds exempt from garnishment

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The Court of Appeals today found that student loan funds that had been deposited in a personal account were exempt when it came to whether those funds could be taken from a defendant’s bank account to satisfy a judgment regarding legal fees the defendant owed to the plaintiff.

In the case Nikki Brindle v. Patrick J. Arata , No. 02A05-1004-SC-239, in June 2009, Nikki Brindle and Patrick Arata “entered into an agreed judgment in favor of Arata on a debt incurred for provision of legal services,” wrote Court of Appeals Judge Cale J. Bradford.

On March 11, Arata initiated proceedings to seek funds from Brindle’s bank account at National City Bank. The bank replied March 22 that she had $3,367.01 in her account.

But on March 17, Brindle filed an exemption claim and requested a hearing where she introduced a voucher, dated Feb. 10, from the Academy of Art University.

That voucher indicated she would receive a check for $3,268, the amount left over after her student loan provider paid tuition to the university. Her bank records indicated a deposit for $3,271 into her account that occurred on March 1. She said the deposit was from her student loan.

On March 26, the trial court denied her exemption claim and ordered National City Bank to send to the Allen County Clerk of Courts all funds in her account except $300.

Although the trial court found that by depositing her student loan check into an account with personal funds those funds lost their exempt status under federal law regarding wage garnishments, section 1095a, the Court of Appeals disagreed.

“Simply put, the plain language of section 1095a exempts student loan funds and property traceable to those funds from garnishment or attachment, and there is no provision to which either party points us, or of which we are aware, that terminates this status, whether by deposit in a personal bank account or otherwise. … We believe that a contrary conclusion would effectively eviscerate the protections of section 1095a and render it all but meaningless, a result we doubt was intended by Congress. If the protections of section 1095a were lost upon deposit into a personal bank account, one is left to wonder what the point of the section is, when almost every recipient of student funds will surely do just that,” Judge Bradford wrote.
 

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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