October 21, 2019

Interim Bankruptcy Rules Published for Public Comment

On February 19, 2020, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019, P.L. 116-54 (SBRA) will go into effect – long before the normal three-year rules amendment process runs its course. As a temporary measure, the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules has drafted interim bankruptcy rules and amendments to the official bankruptcy forms to address the new law that are now available for public comment through Nov. 13, 2019.

The proposed amendments and instructions on how to submit comments are posted on uscourts.gov.

When an advisory committee recommends an amendment to its rules or forms, it must obtain the approval of the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to publish the proposed amendment for public comment. During the comment period, the public is encouraged to submit written comments and may also request to testify at public hearings on the proposed amendment.

There are two rules packages out for review.

August 19 Package

On June 25, 2019, the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (Standing Committee) approved publication of proposed amendments to the following:

  • Appellate Rules 3, 6, 42, and Forms 1 and 2;
  • Bankruptcy Rules 2005, 3007, 7007.1, and 9036; and
  • Civil Rule 7.1.

The comment period is open from August 19, 2019 to February 19, 2020. Read the text of the proposed amendments and supporting materials:

Preliminary Draft of Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, and Civil Procedure (pdf)

Public Hearings on the August 19 Package

Members of the public who wish to present testimony may appear at public hearings on the proposed amendments.

How to Submit or Review Comments on the Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules & Forms (August 19 Package)

Written comments are welcome on each proposed amendment. The advisory committees will review all timely comments, which are made part of the official record and are available to the public. The comment period closes on February 19, 2020.

Comments and supporting files must be submitted electronically using the regulations.gov portal. After choosing the appropriate link below, click the “Submit a Comment” link. This will display the comment on the web form. You can then enter your submitter information and attach your comment as a file (up to 10MB), or type your comment directly on the web form. When you have finished attaching or typing your comment, click the “Preview Comment” link to review. Once you are satisfied with your comment, click the “Submit” button to send your comment to the relevant advisory committee. Upon completion, you will receive a tracking number for your submission.

Detailed instructions on how to submit a comment are given in the Regulations.gov FAQs.

October 16 Package

On February 19, 2020, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019, P.L. 116-54 (SBRA) will go into effect – long before the normal three-year rules amendment process runs its course. As a temporary measure, the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules has drafted Interim Bankruptcy Rules that can be adopted by courts as local rules or by general order when the SBRA goes into effect. The Advisory Committee has also drafted amendments to the Official forms to address the SBRA. The Standing Committee now seeks comment on the proposed SBRA rules and forms for a short four-week period prior to making final recommendations.

  • Interim Bankruptcy Rules 1007(b), 1007(h), 1020, 2009, 2012(a), 2015, 3010(b), 3011, and 3016.
  • Official Forms 101, 201, 309E, 309F, 314, 315, 425A, and new Official Forms 309E2, and 309F2

The comment period is open from October 16, 2019 to November 13, 2019. Because of the short publication period for the Interim Rules and related Official Forms, there will be no public hearings.

Read the text of the proposed amendments and supporting materials:

Preliminary Draft of Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure – Interim Bankruptcy Rules and Official Forms (pdf)

How to Submit or Review Comments on the Interim Bankruptcy Rules & Forms (October 16 Package)

Written comments are welcome on each proposed amendment. The Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules will review all timely comments, which are made part of the official record and are available to the public. The comment period closes on November 13, 2019.

Comments and supporting files must be submitted electronically using the regulations.gov portal. After choosing the appropriate link below, click the “Submit a Comment” link. This will display the comment on the web form. You can then enter your submitter information and attach your comment as a file (up to 10MB), or type your comment directly on the web form. When you have finished attaching or typing your comment, click the “Preview Comment” link to review. Once you are satisfied with your comment, click the “Submit” button to send your comment to the relevant advisory committee. Upon completion, you will receive a tracking number for your submission.

Detailed instructions on how to submit a comment are given in the Regulations.gov FAQs.

SOURCE

History of Labor Day

Labor Day 2019

On September 2, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor celebrates and honors the greatest worker in the world – the American worker. Labor Day 2019 is the 125th anniversary of Labor Day being celebrated as a national holiday.

Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than a century after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

A Nationwide Holiday

Women's Auxiliary Typographical Union

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has changed in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics, and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor

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SCRA: Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act applies in bankruptcy cases. It provides protection to members of the military against the entry of default judgments and gives the court the ability to stay proceedings against military debtors.

Background

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) is found at 50 U.S.C. app. §§ 501 et seq. The purpose of the SCRA is strengthen and expedite national defense by giving servicemembers certain protections in civil actions. By providing for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions that may adversely affect servicemembers during their military service, the SCRA enables servicemembers to focus their energy on the defense of the United States. Among other things, the SCRA allows for forbearance and reduced interest on certain obligations incurred prior to military service, and it restricts default judgments against servicemembers and rental evictions of servicemembers and all their dependents. The SCRA applies to all members of the United States military on active duty, and to U.S. citizens serving in the military of United States allies in the prosecution of a war or military action. The provisions of the SCRA generally end when a servicemember is discharged from active duty or within 90 days of discharge, or when the servicemember dies. Portions of the SCRA also apply to reservists and inductees who have received orders but not yet reported to active duty or induction into the military service.

General Provisions

There are three primary areas of coverage under the SCRA: (1) protection against the entry of default judgments; (2) stay of proceedings where the servicemember has notice of the proceeding; and (3) stay or vacation of execution of judgments, attachments and garnishments. 50 U.S.C. app. §§ 521, 522 and 524.

Protection Against Default Judgements

Section 521 of the SCRA establishes certain procedures that must be followed in all civil proceedings in order to protect servicemember defendants against the entry of default judgements. These procedures are outlined below:

  • If a defendant is in default for failure to appear in the action filed by the plaintiff, the plaintiff must file an affidavit (1) with the court before a default judgment may be entered. The affidavit must state whether the defendant is in the military, or that the plaintiff was unable to determine whether the defendant is in the military.
  • If, based on the filed affidavits, the court cannot determine whether the defendant is in the military, it may condition entry of judgment against the defendant upon the plaintiff’s filing of a bond. The bond would indemnify the defendant against any loss or damage incurred because of the judgment if the judgment is later set aside in whole or in part.
  • The court may not order entry of judgment against the defendant if the defendant is in the military until after the court appoints an attorney to represent the defendant.
  • If requested by counsel for a servicemember defendant, or upon the court’s own motion, the court will grant a stay of proceedings for no less than 90 days if it determines that (1) there may be a defense and the defense cannot be presented without the defendant’s presence; or (2) after due diligence the defendant’s attorney has not been able to contact the defendant or otherwise determine if a meritorious defense exists.
  • The court may, in its discretion, make further orders or enter further judgments to protect the rights of the defendant under the SCRA.
  • If a judgment is entered against the defendant while he or she is in military service or within 60 days of discharge from military service, and the defendant was prejudiced in making his or her defense because of his or her military service, the judgment may, upon application by the defendant, be opened by the court and the defendant may then provide a defense. Before the judgment may be opened, however, the defendant must show that he or she has a meritorious or legal defense to some or all of the action.

    Stay of Proceedings Where Servicemember Has Notice

    Outside the default context, and at any time before final judgement in a civil action, a person covered by the SCRA who has received notice of a proceeding may ask the court to stay the proceeding. 50 U.S.C. app. § 522. The court may also order a stay on its own motion. Id. The court will grant the servicemember’s stay application and will stay the proceeding for at least 90 days if the application includes: (1) a letter or other communication setting forth facts demonstrating that the individual’s current military duty requirements materially affect the servicemember’s ability to appear along with a date when the servicemember will be able to appear; and (2) a letter or other communication from the servicemember’s commanding officer stating that the servicemember’s current military duty prevents his or her appearance and that military leave is not authorized for the servicemember at the time of the letter. The court has discretion to grant additional stays upon further application.

    Stay or Vacation of Execution of Judgements, Attachments and Garnishments

    In addition to the court’s ability to regulate default judgments and stay proceedings, the court may on its own motion and must upon application: (1) stay the execution of any judgment or order entered against a servicemember; and (2) vacate or stay any attachment or garnishment of the servicemember’s property or assets, whether before or after judgment if it finds that the servicemember’s ability to comply with the judgment or garnishment is materially affected by military service. 50 U.S.C. app. § 524. The stay of execution may be ordered for any part of the servicemember’s military service plus 90 days after discharge from the service. The court may also order the servicemember to make installment payments during any stay ordered.

    Additional Protections

    Several additional rights are available under the SCRA. For example, when an action for compliance with a contract is stayed under the SCRA, contractual penalties do not accrue during the period of the stay. 50 U.S.C. app. § 523. The SCRA also provides in most instances that a landlord cannot evict a servicemember or dependants from a primary residence without a court order. In an eviction proceeding, the court may also adjust the lease obligations to protect the interests of the parties. 50 U.S.C. app. § 531. If the court stay the eviction proceeding, it may provide equitable relief to the landlord by ordering garnishment of a portion of the servicemember’s pay. Id. Under the SCRA a servicemember may terminate residential and automotive leases if he or she is transferred after the lease is made. 50 U.S.C. app. § 535. A court may also extend some of the protections afforded a servicemember under the SCRA to persons co-liable or secondarily liable on the servicemember’s obligation. 50 U.S.C. app. § 513.

Applicability to Bankruptcy Proceedings

The language of the SCRA states that it is generally applicable in any action or proceeding commenced in any court. 50 U.S.C. app. §§ 521, 522 and 524. Therefore, absent contravening language with respect to bankruptcy proceedings, the SCRA applies to all actions or proceedings before a bankruptcy court.

The applicability of the SCRA in bankruptcy proceedings is also evident in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. For example, the advisory committee note to Federal Rule for default judgments, Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b), states that it is directly affected by the SCRA. (2) Under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7055 and 9014 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Fed. R. Civ. P. 55 is applicable in bankruptcy adversary proceedings and contested matters. Thus, the default judgment protections of the SCRA clearly apply in bankruptcy cases.

The bankruptcy court clerk’s office is aware of the requirement that the plaintiff must provide an affidavit stating whether the defendant is in the military before default may be entered against the defendant. Bankruptcy Procedural Forms B260, B261A, and B261B, and their accompanying instructions, provide additional guidance concerning the applicability of the SCRA to default judgments and related procedural requirements.

SOURCE: SCRA. Servicemembers’ Civil Relief, Federal Courts Bankruptcy Basics Page

New Case Law Regarding Acceleration

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY,TRUSTEE v.JOSEPH R. PONGER ET AL.(AC 41014) DiPentima, C. J., and Moll and Sullivan, Js.

Syllabus

The plaintiff bank sought to foreclose a mortgage on certain real property owned by the defendant T and her former spouse, P. T and P had executed a mortgage deed, and P had executed a note in favor of a predecessor in interest of the plaintiff. The note was later assigned to the plaintiff. After P failed to make payments pursuant to the note, the plaintiff advised him that the note and mortgage were in default, and mailed notice of the default addressed to him, but not to T, at the address of the property at issue, at which P no longer lived at the time that the plaintiff mailed the notice to him there. In the absence of a cure of the default, the plaintiff thereafter elected to accelerate the amount due under the note. T claimed that the plaintiff had failed to provide herewith proper notice of the default and acceleration of the note when it sent notice to the property that was addressed to P. The trial court rendered judgment of strict foreclosure for the plaintiff, concluding,inter alia, that the notice of default and acceleration was sent to T as a joint tenant of the mortgaged property and a joint obligor on the mortgage deed. On T’s appeal to this court,held that the trial court properly rendered judgment of strict foreclosure for the plaintiff, as that court correctly concluded that the notice requirement under the mortgage was satisfied because notice to one joint tenant or joint obligor constitutes notice to the other; because T conceded that, at all relevant times, she and P were joint tenants with respect to the subject property,it was not in dispute that T and P continued as joint obligors under the mortgage, and T did not dispute that her signature was on the mortgage,notice to P constituted notice to T.Argued November 29, 2018—officially released July 2, 2019Procedural History Action to foreclose a mortgage on certain real property of the named defendant et al., and for other relief,brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, where the court,Mintz, J., granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to liability as against the named defendant; thereafter, the court,Hon. A. William Mottolese, judge trial referee,accepted the parties’ stipulation of facts, and the matter was tried to the court,Hon. A. William Mottolese, judge trial referee; judgment of strict foreclosure, from which the defendant Theresa Ponger appealed to this court.Affirmed.Colin B. Connor, for the appellant (defendant Theresa Ponger). Christopher J. Picard, for the appellee (plaintiff).

Opinion

SULLIVAN, J. The defendant Theresa Ponger appeals from a judgment of strict foreclosure rendered by thetrial court.1On appeal, the defendant’s principal claim isthat the court erred when it concluded that the plaintiff, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee, in Trust, for Registered Holders of Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-WL3, Asset-Backed Certificates, Series2006-WL3, had provided notice of default and acceleration to her when it sent notice to the subject property addressed to her former spouse, Joseph R. Pongern (Ponger), who no longer resided at the property.Because the court correctly held that the notice requirement under the mortgage was satisfied because notice to one joint tenant or joint obligor constitutes noticeto the others, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.The parties stipulated to the following relevant facts.On September 7, 2005, Ponger executed a note in favor of Long Beach Mortgage Company in the principalamount of $420,000. The note was endorsed in blankand supplied to the plaintiff prior to the commencement of this action. Also on September 7, 2005, Ponger andthe defendant executed a mortgage deed in favor ofLong Beach Mortgage Company on property located at23 Macintosh Road, Norwalk. The mortgage was recorded in the Norwalk land records on September13, 2005.2The plaintiff is the present holder of the note.On or about December 6, 2013, by letter addressed to Ponger at 23 Macintosh Road, Norwalk, Connecticut06857, the plaintiff advised him that the note and mort-gage were in default due to his failure to make therequired monthly payments.3Notice of the aforemen-tioned default was not addressed to the defendant.4Inthe absence of a cure of the default, the plaintiff electedto accelerate the amount due under the note. On April15, 2014, the plaintiff provided Ponger and the defen-dant notice of their rights under the General Statutes as they relate to the Emergency Mortgage AssistanceProgram. See General Statutes § 8-265cc et seq. Therecord further indicates that Ponger failed to make pay-ments pursuant to the note from July 1, 2013, to thedate of the joint stipulation, May 9, 2017.The present action was commenced on October 13,2015, approximately eighteen months after the Emer-gency Mortgage Assistance Program notice was mailedto the subject property. On May 5, 2016, after the expira-tion of the court approved foreclosure mediation period, the defendant filed a timely answer asserting,as a special defense, that the plaintiff had failed toprovide her with proper notice of default and accelera-tion. Thereafter, on June 2, 2016, the plaintiff filed amotion for summary judgment as to both Ponger and the defendant. The court granted the motion with respect to Ponger but denied the motion with respect to the defendant. On May 16, 2017, the parties filed a joint stipulation of facts with the court as to the remaining issues in dispute. On September 6, 2017, the court issued its memorandum of decision finding in favor of the plaintiff. The court determined that ‘‘[r]esolution of this issue is controlled squarely byCiticorp Mortgage,Inc.v.Porto, 41 Conn. App. 598, 600–604, 677 A.2d 10(1996),’’5and, thus, concluded in relevant part that the‘‘notice of default and acceleration was sent to [the defendant] as a joint tenant of the mortgaged property and a joint obligor on the mortgage deed.’’ Thereafter,the court rendered judgment of strict foreclosure against both Ponger and the defendant, and set thelaw day for January 16, 2018. This appeal followed.Additional facts and procedural history will be set forthas necessary.The defendant’s principal claim on appeal is that the court erred when it concluded that the notice require-ment provision of the subject mortgage had been satis-fied as to the defendant when the plaintiff provided notice addressed exclusively to Ponger.6Specifically,the defendant claims that, because she is a ‘‘[b]orrower’’under the terms of the mortgage, and because the noticeprovision of the mortgage requires notice of defaultand acceleration to be given to the ‘‘[b]orrower,’’ the plaintiff was required to provide her individually withnotice. The defendant further claims that the courtimproperly applied the legal principles set forth inCiti-corp Mortgage, Inc. v.Porto, supra, 41 Conn. App. 600,because the present case is distinguishable, and, as aresult of the improper application ofCiticorp Mortgage,Inc., a necessary condition precedent to the foreclosure action was not met.7We disagree.As an initial matter, we note that the defendant’sclaim presents a mixed question of law and fact. ‘‘Wherethe question whether proper notice was given depends upon the construction of a written instrument or the circumstances are such as lead to only one reasonable conclusion, it will be one of law, but where the conclu-sion involves the effect of various circumstances capa-ble of diverse interpretation, it is necessarily one offact for the trier.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.)Sunset Mortgagev.Agolio, 109 Conn. App. 198, 202,952 A.2d 65 (2008). Because the plaintiff claims ‘‘thatthe facts found were insufficient to support the court’slegal conclusion, this issue presents a mixed question of law and fact to which we apply plenary review.’’Winchesterv.McCue, 91 Conn. App. 721, 726, 882 A.2d143, cert. denied, 276 Conn. 922, 888 A.2d 91 (2005).We begin by addressing the defendant’s claim thatthe court erred when it applied the legal principles setforth inCiticorp Mortgage, Inc., to the present case. InCiticorp Mortgage, Inc., this court addressed whether notice to one joint tenant constituted notice to the oth-ers under similar, but not identical, circumstances.

There, the defendant and his spouse were living apart,and neither the defendant nor the spouse resided at the subject property at the time notice was delivered.Similar to the notice provision in the present case, the relevant notice provision provided: ‘‘Unless applicable law requires a different method, any notice that must be given to me under this note will be given by deliveringit or by mailing it first class to me at the property address above or at a different address if I give thenote holder notice of my different address.’’ (Internalquotation marks omitted.)Citicorp Mortgage, Inc. v.Porto, supra, 41 Conn. App. 600 n.4. Unlike like thepresent case, in which the defendant is a signatoryonly on the subject mortgage, the defendant inCiticorpMortgage, Inc., was both a signatory on the note anda signatory on the corresponding mortgage.This court concluded that, although ‘‘proper noticeof acceleration is a necessary condition precedent toan action for foreclosure . . . the plaintiff provided thedefendant with proper notice by mailing the notice ofacceleration to [a joint tenant of the defendant].’’ Id.,603. This court further concluded that, ‘‘[w]hile itappears that service of a notice upon one tenant incommon is not usually regarded as binding upon theothers, unless they are engaged in a common enterprise,the rule is different where the relation is that of a joint tenancy. In such a case, it is said that notice to one ofthem is binding upon all. 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Cotenancyand Joint Ownership § 113 (1995).’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.)Citicorp Mortgage, Inc. v.Porto, supra,41 Conn. App. 603.Largely informed by our Supreme Court’s decisioninKatzv.West Hartford, 191 Conn. 594, 600, 469 A.2d410 (1983), which reaffirmed long-standing precedent that ‘‘[i]n the case of cofiduciaries [and joint tenants]notice to one is deemed to be notice to the other,’’this court’s decision inCiticorp Mortgage, Inc., alsorestated the long-standing principle that ‘‘[n]otice toone of twojoint obligorsconveys notice to the otherwith respect to matters affecting the joint obligation.United Statesv. Fleisher Engineering & ConstructionCo., 107 F.2d 925, 929 (2d Cir. 1939).’’ (Emphasis added.)Citicorp Mortgage, Inc. v. Porto, supra, 41 Conn. App.603–604. Despite the foregoing, the defendant claimsthat the trial court misapplied the aforementioned stan-dards because, unlike the defendant inCiticorp Mort-gage, Inc., who was both a signatory on the note and corresponding mortgage, she was not a signatory onthe subject note. We find the defendant’s claim unper-suasive.In a recent decision, this court addressed a similarclaim. SeeCitibank, N.A. v. Stein, 186 Conn. App. 224,199 A.3d 57 (2018), cert. denied, 331 Conn. 903, 202A.3d 373 (2019).8InCitibank, N.A., the defendant argued that, because he was a signatory on the subject mortgage but not a signatory on the corresponding note,notice to his former spouse, who was the sole signatory on the note, was not effective as to him. Id., 250 n.21.This court held that, because the defendant signed the mortgage instrument, thereby pledging the property as security for the debt obligation created by the note,which was signed by the former spouse, the defendantwas a joint obligor as to the mortgage and that the notice provided to his former spouse, despite their contrasting endorsements, satisfied the notice requirements under the mortgage. Id., 249–50, 250 n.21.Critically, at oral argument before this court, the defendant conceded that, at all relevant times, she andPonger were joint tenants with respect to the subjectproperty. 9SeeKatzv. West Hartford, supra, 191 Conn.600. Furthermore, it is not in dispute that the defendant and Ponger continued as joint obligors under the sub-ject mortgage. SeevCiticorp Mortgage, Inc. v.Porto,supra, 41 Conn. App. 603–604. Further still, the defen-dant has not challenged the stipulation or otherwise disputed that her signature is on the mortgage. Accord-ingly, we conclude that the present case falls squarely within the ambit of this court’s decision inCiticorpMortgage, Inc., and, therefore,the notice to Pongerconstituted notice to the defendant.The judgment is affirmed and the case is remanded for the purpose of setting new law days.In this opinion the other judges concurred.1Joseph R. Ponger was also a defendant at trial but does not appeal fromthe judgment of strict foreclosure. In this opinion, we refer to Theresa Pongeras the defendant and to Joseph R. Ponger as Ponger. Several encumbrances also were named as defendants, but they are not parties to this appeal.2By virtue of assignments of the mortgage from Long Beach Mortgage Company to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Trust 2006-WL3, dated April 7, 2010, and recorded June 11,2010, in volume 7200 at page 113 of the Norwalk land records, and thereafter from Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Trust 2006-WL3 to the plaintiff, dated August 20, 2015, and recordedOctober 9, 2015, in volume 8244 at page 101 of the Norwalk land records,the plaintiff became the mortgagee of record.3The notice provision of the subject mortgage provides in relevant part:‘‘Any notice to Borrower provided for in this Security Instrument shall be given by delivering it or by mailing it by first class mail unless applicablelaw requires use of another method. The notice shall be directed to the Property Address or any other address Borrower designates by notice toLender.’’ The subject mortgage defines the ‘‘[b]orrower’’ as ‘‘Joseph Pongerand Theresa Ponger.’’4Relatedly, the defendant claims that the court erred when it concluded that the plaintiff’s admission that notice was not individually addressed tothe defendant did not preclude judgment of strict foreclosure. Because the plaintiffs admission is not legally significant as to the defendant’s claim onappeal, we decline to address it.5The principal issue before the trial court essentially was identical to the issue now presented on appeal, namely, whether the plaintiff was required to provide the defendant with individual notice of default and acceleration pursuant to the notice provision in the subject mortgage.6In addition, the defendant claims that, even assuming arguendo that she received the notice sent by the plaintiff to Ponger, the notice failed to comply with certain requirements set forth in the mortgage deed and, thus, was deficient. The defendant failed to raise this distinct claim before the trial court and, therefore, we decline to review it. See DiMiceliv.Cheshire, 162

Conn. App. 216, 229–30, 131 A.3d 771 (2016) (‘‘Our appellate courts, as a general practice, will not review claims made for the first time on appeal.We repeatedly have held that [a] party cannot present a case to the trial court on one theory and then seek appellate relief on a different one . . . .[A]n appellate court is under no obligation to consider a claim that is not distinctly raised at the trial level. . . . [B]ecause our review is limited to matters in the record, we [also] will not address issues not decided by the trial court.’’ [Internal quotation marks omitted.]).7Additionally, in her brief the defendant argues that the court erred when it concluded that she and Ponger were joint tenants as to the subject prop-erty. At oral argument, however, the defendant conceded that, at all relevant times, she remained a joint tenant to the subject property.8Citibank, N.A. v. Stein, supra, 186 Conn. App. 224, was officially released two days prior to oral argument. We note that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant chose to submit invited post argument memoranda to address its relevancy. See Practice Book § 67-10.9See footnote 7 of this opinion.

This is no April Fools’ Joke: Means Test Numbers are Going Up as of April 1, 2019!

After your initial consultation, I will analyze your financial circumstances and perform your Means Test. A Means Test is an assessment used to determine if you qualify to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Before 2005 it was easy to file for bankruptcy; virtually anyone could do so. In 2005 Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA)1 and added the Means Test requirement to prevent abuse of the Bankruptcy process. Simply put if you “pass” the means test, you are a qualified candidate and can file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition. If you “fail” the means Test, you may not file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy but you may enjoy other alternatives such as a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

The Means Test primarily encompasses a two-step analysis:

STEP ONE: Your (the “debtor’s”) gross income is calculated on an average over a six month period prior to filing for Bankruptcy. Gross income for means testing purposes includes wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime and commissions. It does not include social security benefits. The figure derived from taking the average is than considered the Debtor’s Current Monthly Income which is then compared to the median income for your state and household size. If your current monthly income is less than the median income for your state and household size, than you “pass” the means test and are allowed to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition. If, however, your current monthly income is greater than the median income for your state and household size, you may proceed to Step Two.

STEP TWO: If your current monthly income is greater than the median income for your state and household size, there is, in technical terms, a “presumption of abuse.”2 In order to rebut the presumption, or in other terms, to pass the means test by using the second step, the means test’s second section allows you to subtract from your current monthly income certain allowable and deductible expenses.3 These allowed deductions include, but are not limited to, expenses for living (mortgages and property taxes), transportation (car loans and car taxes), health insurance and charitable donations. After the calculations are performed, and the allowable deductions are taken, and if you then have no disposable monthly income available, you will then have passed the Means Test and may file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If, on the other hand, you do have remaining disposable income, you may consider a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

The discussion above is an overview of the Means Test in basic terms and is in no way intended as a specific analysis of your personal financial circumstances.

For an analysis of your own financial circumstances, please contact Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray, to schedule your free consultation today!

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1See: 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)

2See: 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(2) and 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(3)

3See: 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(2)(A)

GOOD NEWS: Updated Census Bureau Median Family Income Data

March 14, 2019

The Census Bureau’s Median Family Income Data accessible through the “Means Testing Information” page has been updated. The U.S. Trustee Program will apply the updated data to all cases filed on or after April 1, 2019.

SOURCE: https://www.justice.gov/ust

BANKRUPTCY COURT OPEN DURING PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

EVERYONE NEEDS A WILL!

If you are over the age of 18, you need an “Estate Plan,” especially if you have children.

A basic estate plan consists of three documents:

  1. A “Power of Attorney,” which appoints someone you choose who will have the power to do things on your behalf such as banking, real estate and other transactions if you are unable to do them yourself; please note that the only “power” this documents does not include, is the power to make health care decisions;
  2. A “Living Will,” which does two main things: appoints a health care agent (or someone to make your health care decisions) and designates organ donation; and
  3. A “Last Will and Testament.” This document only operates upon your death and it has two or three main functions, depending on your circumstances. First, it designates an “executor” to administer your estate in the Probate Court. Secondly, it directs your executor how to distribute your possessions. And lastly, if you have minor children, it appoints a guardian for your children to make sure they are taken care of by someone you trust instead of someone you don’t want to care for your children, like the state/DCF.

 

Contact Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray to discuss your personal Estate Plan today!

 

Frequently Asked Connecticut Bankruptcy Law Questions

Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray

Q: What is bankruptcy?

A: Bankruptcy is a legal process for people who cannot afford to pay their bills, and offers them a fresh start. The right to file for bankruptcy is granted by federal law, and all Connecticut bankruptcy cases are handled in federal courts located in New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford.

Q: How can Bankruptcy help me?

A: Bankruptcy can eliminate unsecured debt, end collection harassment, stop foreclosures, prevent repossessions, stop wage garnishments and bank executions, and/or restore utility service.

Q: How often can I file bankruptcy?
A: You can file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy every eight (8) years. Chapter 13 Bankruptcies can be filed every six (6) years.

Q: What is the difference between a consumer bankruptcy and a corporate bankruptcy?

A: A consumer bankruptcy is for individuals or married couples that have personal, and not business, debt. A corporate bankruptcy is for a corporation, or non-human entity.

Q: What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?

A: A Chapter 7 results in a total discharge of most unsecured debt. A Chapter 13 is a repayment plan. Please see our Laws Page for an extended discussion on this topic.

Q: What does it cost to file for Bankruptcy?
A: We charge a fee for our services which will be quoted at our initial consultation. In addition to our fee for services, the bankruptcy court also charges filing fees.

Q: How can I pay for my Bankruptcy?

A: We offer affordable payment plans and accept all forms of payment, including cash, check, and debit cards from the person filing for bankruptcy. If a non-filer wishes to pay for our fees for their family member or friend, we will accept a credit card from that person. We honor MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express.

Q: What property can I keep?

A: You may keep all “exempt” property like your home, car, wedding rings, home furnishings, etc. All property that is not exempt is subject to liquidation and the resulting monies used to pay back your creditors. Do Not Be Alarmed: we strive to maximize your exemptions and protect all of your property.

Q: Will bankruptcy wipe out all my debts?

A: Yes, both Chapter 7 and 13 are designed to give you a fresh start with a clean slate.

Q: What is a discharge?

A: A discharge is a court order that says you do not have to repay your debts, but there are some exceptions, such as child support.

Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: Yes, in a Chapter 7 case, you will have to attend a proceeding once which is like a “court hearing,” although, it is very informal and presided over by a trustee and not a judge. A Chapter 13 case may require more than one court appearance, usually two or three.

Q: Will bankruptcy affect my credit?

A: Yes, but there are easy ways to rebuild your credit in a relatively short period of time following your final discharge.

Q: Will I be able to keep any credit cards?

A: No, you will have to fully disclose all of your debts and accounts, which will be closed and discharged. Bankruptcy is an all or nothing process. Full disclosure of your assets and liabilities is required and subject to penalties of perjury.

Q: Can I keep and use my debit card?

A: Yes, a debit card is not a credit card.

Q: Can I get a credit card after bankruptcy?

A: Yes, and you will be counseled on how and when to apply, and which type of card works best to rehabilitate your credit.

Q: Are utility services affected?
A: Current services will not be affected if the account is current or near current. Requests for new services after a bankruptcy may result in the utility company requiring a deposit.

Q: Can I be discriminated against for filing bankruptcy?

A: Absolutely not. Filing bankruptcy is a right given and protected by Federal Law.

Q: I am married, can I file by myself?

A: Yes, you may file as a married individual.

Q: If I am married and I file individually, will my spouse’s credit be affected?
A: No, your spouse’s credit will not be affected if he or she does not file.

Q: Can filing bankruptcy stop bill collectors from calling?
A: Yes, they will be prohibited from harassing you.

Q: Can I discharge my student loans by filing bankruptcy?

A: Generally student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. There are a few exceptions to this general rule.

This firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief amongst other things, under the Bankruptcy Code.

Mindful Money Management: 3 Strategies for Financial Success | By Caroline Wetzel, CFP®, AWMA®

How do you feel when you think about your financial situation? If you experience anxiety, uncertainty, or other unpleasant symptoms, you are not alone. Finances are a significant concern for many people. A 2017 study by Guardian Life Insurance Company of America entitled “Mind, Body, and Wallet,” found that money is cited as the #1 source of stress for a majority of American workers. The same survey showed that worry about personal finances is the leading cause of emotional stress and contributes to lower physical wellness.

But managing your money does not have to be an upsetting experience that negatively impacts you. Applying mindfulness techniques to your finances can help you cultivate a deeper awareness of your total financial picture, enabling you to approach your financial decisions with greater conviction and calculated risk.

What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an intentional focus on the present moment. It has evolved over time to become a secular, psychological practice of developing and sustaining attention to thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and environmental stimuli that impact our experience of “now”.

Non-judgmental awareness of each moment is cultivated through mindfulness. Practitioners challenge themselves to attain a heightened sensitivity to the present through a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, meditation, pauses, and gentle movements. The impact of mindfulness on physical, mental, and social well-being is documented widely through scientific and academic studies.

Strategy 1: Create Space
Mindfulness promotes a consistent, ongoing process of using our senses to become more attuned to what is going on inside our bodies and outside us in our surrounding environment. This disciplined activity of “creating space” on a regular basis enables practitioners to experience feelings of groundedness and centeredness in the midst of racing thoughts and life’s busyness.

Try incorporating this strategy of “creating space” to your approach to your finances. Do you think about your finances beyond just paying the next bill that’s due? Do you know what you save and spend and check your statements? Do you review your insurance policies and ensure they continue to make sense for your needs?

Consider dedicating time – it can be as brief as a few minutes, or as long as 30 minutes, as long as it’s recurring – to pay your bills and consider questions like this as part of understanding your total financial picture. Formally reserve this time in your calendar and don’t cancel the appointment.

In the same way you go to the gym on a regular basis to take care of your physical health or ensure that you get a certain number of hours of sleep for your mental health, “create space” in your lifestyle to take care of your financial health.

Strategy 2: Plan with a Purpose
Mindfulness emphasizes awareness and non-judgment. Through mindfulness, we discover that our thoughts are narratives that we create as a result of our own unique perceptions and life experiences. Repeated practice of mindfulness empowers us to let go of the constant chatter – especially the negative thoughts – that monopolize our focus, and just be.

Adopt this same open, curious awareness to your financial situation. Without worrying about how you’ll do it, ask yourself “What do I want to do with my money?” Reflect on this question repeatedly during the spaces that you have created in your schedule, and observe what bubbles up for you. If the same priorities emerge each time you reflect on this question, these could be the goals that form the foundation of your unique financial plan.

When you are able to articulate clearly without judgment what is important to you and what you want to do with your money you can formulate a purpose-filled financial plan comprised of actions and behaviors that you can implement to make your financial goals a reality.

Strategy 3: Invest with Intention
Mindfulness facilitates sustained focus. It enables practitioners to cultivate greater clarity and improve their capacity to tune out distractions. As a result, mindfulness facilitates the ability to make decisions.

Apply this objective, intentional focus to your investment strategy. Do you know what you have invested your money in? Do you know why you chose the investments you selected? Are your investments in line with your values, comfort level with risk, and do they consider your tax situation?

When you invest with intention, you know what you invest your money in and why. This disciplined approach provides comfort and structure when the financial markets – and life – inevitably surprise us.

When you apply techniques promoted through mindfulness to manage your money, you can obtain greater control over your finances, confidence with your financial goals, and comfort that you are taking steps to realize your financial dreams.

By Caroline Wetzel, CFP®, AWMA®

Disclosure:

Caroline Wetzel is a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) and Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor with Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC.  Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC and Procyon Institutional Partners, LLC (collectively “Procyon Partners”) are registered investment advisors with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This article is provided for informational purposes only and for the intended recipient[s] only. This article is derived from numerous sources, which are believed to be reliable, but not audited by Procyon for accuracy. This article may also include opinions and forward-looking statements which may not come to pass. Information is at a point in time and subject to change. Procyon Partners does not provide tax or legal advice.

For more information:

Caroline Wetzel, CFP®, AWMA®

Vice President

Private Wealth Advisor

Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC

1 Corporate Drive. Suite 225  |  Shelton, CT  06484

M: (844) Procyon |  D: (475) 232-2713 |  F: (475) 232-2736

cwetzel@procyonpartners.net   |  www.procyonpartners.net   |  https://www.linkedin.com/in/caroline-wetzel/

This firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief amongst other things, under the Bankruptcy Code.