Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020 Introduced

By Hon. William Houston Brown, Adviser, Academy for Consumer Bankruptcy Education and Margaret A. Burks, Chapter 13 Trustee (Cincinnati, OH)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D. Mass.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D. N.Y.) have introduced the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020. Introduction of the Act is only the beginning of the legislative process, and no action toward enactment is expected until the new Congress is sworn in in 2021, when the Act could be reintroduced. In that event, opportunities will arise in the legislative process for Chapter 13 trustees and practitioners in the consumer bankruptcy arena to participate in discussion of the Act and to point out positive aspects of current Chapter 13 relief that need to be preserved and enhanced. Many provisions of the proposed Act will be controversial, including merging the existing two chapters of relief into one new Chapter 10.

If congressional action on this proposed legislation continues next year, the Academy will conduct webinars and pending legislation would be discussed at the annual NACTT seminar in DC, July 8-10, 2021.

Click here for a summary of the Act.

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burksMargaret A. Burks, Esq. was appointed as the Chapter 13 Trustee for the Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati in July of 1992. Ms. Burks received a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati in 1977, magna cum laude. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Juris Doctor from Salmon P. Chase, College of Law in 1985. While at Chase College of Law, Ms. Burks was a member of the Law Review. She was Law Clerk to Honorable J. Vincent Aug, Jr., U.S. Bankruptcy Judge from 1988 to 1991, and Counsel to PNC Bank in the areas of bankruptcy and commercial law. Ms. Burks has served as Chairperson of the CBA Bankruptcy Committee. She is a past President of the National Association of Ch. 13 Trustees and currently serves on the Board. She has also co-chaired the ABI Consumer Bankruptcy Committee.

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Bill-BrownThe Honorable William Houston Brown retired in 2006 as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and he had been designated to sit also in the Middle District of Tennessee, Southern District of Florida, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Kentucky. Judge Brown served a four-year term on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit from 1999 through 2002. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he was Order of the Coif. Judge Brown is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, having served on its Board and Executive Committee, and he is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. He is the author or co-author of several texts, including Bankruptcy Exemption Manual, 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Legislation with Analysis 1st and 2d editions, Bankruptcy and Domestic Relations Manual, The Law of Debtors and Creditors, as well as bankruptcy form books, all published by Thomson West. He is also a principal contributing editor for Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice 3rd, published by Thomson West. Judge Brown prepares a quarterly update of consumer cases for the Federal Judicial Center, which distributes those materials to all bankruptcy judges, and he is a speaker at the Federal Judicial Center’s annual seminars for bankruptcy judges. He also speaks regularly at seminars throughout the United States, on consumer bankruptcy topics. Judge Brown co-authors Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 4th ed., a digital publication, available at ch13online.com. Judge Brown also acts as a mediator in bankruptcy-related disputes, has conducted mock trials, and has testified as an expert witness in bankruptcy court proceedings.

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