In re Martin, 464 B.R. 798, 802–07 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 2012) (Perkins)

Applicable commitment period is temporal; debtor with CMI greater than applicable median family income who has zero or negative projected disposable income must propose a five-year plan. “[U]nder BAPCPA, the applicable commitment period is 3 years for a below-median debtor and 5 years for an above-median debtor. Those periods may be shortened only to the extent that unsecured claims may be paid in full more quickly. . . . All four courts of appeal that have considered the issue agree that section 1325(b) is a temporal requirement that sets a minimum plan duration . . . of five years for above-median debtors who have positive disposable income . . . . The Sixth Circuit in [Baud v. Carroll, 634 F.3d 327 (6th Cir. Feb. 4, 2011) (Cole, Clay, Katz),] and the Eleventh Circuit in [Whaley v. Tennyson (In re Tennyson), 611 F.3d 873 (11th Cir. July 16, 2010) (Tjoflat, Wilson, Ebel),] have held that the five-year term applies equally to those above-median debtors who have zero or negative projected disposable income. The Eighth Circuit in [Coop v. Frederickson (In re Frederickson), 545 F.3d 652 (8th Cir. Oct. 27, 2008) (Wollman, Beam, Riley),] declined to decide the issue. The Ninth Circuit in [Maney v. Kagenveama (In re Kagenveama), 541 F.3d 868 (9th Cir. June 23, 2008) (Pregerson, Siler, Bea),] held that the requirement does not apply if the debtor has zero or negative projected disposable income. . . . [A] 0% plan may be permissible, but the 5-year duration requirement for above-median debtors is not affected. . . . A step-down in payments to $0 once secured and priority claims are paid based solely on a negative number on line 59 is a novel proposition that would run afoul of other applicable confirmation standards. . . . In agreement with Baud, Tennyson, Frederickson and Kagenveama, this Court holds that the ‘applicable commitment period’ as that phrase is used in section 1325(b) establishes a temporal or durational standard for plan confirmation purposes, once an objection is filed. In agreement with Baud and Tennyson, this Court also holds that a chapter 13 debtor who is above-median status under the means test calculation, is required as a condition of confirmation to propose a plan with a durational term of five years, without exception for zero or negative projected disposable income.”

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