Settling Debts: A Cautionary Tale

By William E. Brewer Jr.

He Began to Cry

My dental hygienist recently brought her father to consult with me to discuss filing bankruptcy. We will call him Steve. Steve had approximately $75,000.00 of credit card debt. He had retired from the State of North Carolina, at age 58, after working as a school teacher for thirty years. He had health issues that prevented him from working more than a part-time job. His wife did not work due to health reasons and had no income. He was supporting himself and his wife on his $3,500.00 State pension and $750.00 of take-home pay from his part-time job. He had accumulated $50,000.00 in the State’s optional 401-K plan. He and his wife had $50,000.00 equity in their jointly-owned residence.

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Civil Contempt in Bankruptcy: Exploring the Limits of the Bankruptcy Courts’ Subject Matter Jurisdiction

By Landon G. Van Winkle


Many of us are familiar with the famous, albeit purportedly apocryphal, quote by former president Andrew Jackson, who, upon hearing of the Court’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832), is supposed to have famously declared of Chief Justice John Marshall: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” See, e.g., Edwin A. Miles, After John Marshall’s Decision: Worcester v. Georgia and the Nullification Crisis, 39 J. Southern Hist. 519, 519 (1973). But See Paul F. Boller, Jr. & John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions 53 (1989).

Regardless of whether these words were ever uttered, the sentiment is clear: absent cooperation from the coordinate branches of the federal government, even the U.S. Supreme Court would be forced to rely on its contempt powers to enforce its rulings. What is perhaps less well-known about Andrew Jackson is that he was, at one time, on the receiving end of a federal court’s civil contempt power, a mark on his record he regretted until his dying days. Eberhard P. Deutsch, The United States Versus Major General Andrew Jackson, 46 A.B.A. J. 966, 971–72 (1960).

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41st Annual Bankruptcy Institute Awards Recognize Recipients for Outstanding Achievement and Service

Every year, the Bankruptcy Section Lifetime Achievement Award Committee and the Bankruptcy Section Pro Bono Committee are tasked with the privilege of selecting an attorney to receive their respective awards. The awards are presented at the Annual Bankruptcy Institute, so the recipients may be recognized by their peers for their outstanding commitment and service to the profession.

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Eviction Diversion Programs and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

By Edward C. Boltz

With the publication of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, author Matthew Desmond has brought increasing attention both nationwide and in North Carolina to the growing eviction crisis. See Evicted, (last visited Dec. 7, 2018). With increasing housing prices and gentrification, stagnant incomes, and slashed budgets for public housing, this problem is especially acute in North Carolina. Among large cities in the United States — those with populations greater than 100,000 — there were eight North Carolina cities in the worst 100 cities by eviction rate in 2016. Eviction Rankings, Eviction Lab, (last visited Dec. 7, 2018). In Greensboro, which had the 7th highest eviction rate among large cities in the nation, 8.4 percent of renters were evicted in 2016, with nearly 1,400 Summary Ejectment filings every month. Stephen J. Sills, Greensboro’s Eviction Crisis, UNC Greensboro Ctr for Housing & Cmty. Stud., (Aug. 15, 2018). Winston-Salem and Fayetteville were among the worst twenty large cities; Charlotte, High Point and Durham in the worst fifty; and Wilmington and Raleigh in the worst 100.

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41st Annual Bankruptcy Institute Recap

By Brian R. Anderson

As Co-Chair for the Bankruptcy Section’s CLE Committee, I wanted to say a few words about the 41st Annual Bankruptcy Institute before we set our sights on next year.

First, I want to say thank you to all of the speakers who volunteered their time and expertise to make the Institute a success.  As many of you know, researching an issue, drafting a manuscript, and preparing a presentation that is both timely and interesting is a time-consuming process.  Collectively, our speakers prepared program materials totaling over 1000 pages! These materials are a tremendous resource for a plethora of issues.  All of our speakers did a tremendous job.


The 41st Annual Bankruptcy Institute CLE programs are available via video replay or on demand through the NCBA website at this link.

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Insolvency Clients and a Potential IRS Trust Fund Penalty Interview

By Kenneth B. Dantinne

You have a client that calls you in a panic. She owns a small business that is currently in a chapter 11 case. Things have been going well for the client as you proceed towards confirmation of a plan. The automatic stay has helped tremendously in keeping company creditors at bay while increasing revenue and reducing expenses. So why the panic-stricken call?

I received one such call not long ago: the client had an IRS Revenue Officer (“RO”) appear at her business — unannounced — and demand an interview due to unpaid taxes. According to the RO, it did not matter that my client was in bankruptcy; the automatic stay did not apply, and the IRS had asked the RO to go to my client’s office. The RO was there to conduct a “Trust Fund Interview,” and there was nothing to prevent her from moving forward. After a brief discussion, the RO agreed to move the interview back a few days so I could attend the interview with my client. I had two days to figure out what, exactly, a Trust Fund Interview entailed.

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Seeking Nominations for the 2018 Bankruptcy Pro Bono Award

By Rebecca F. Redwine

Is there a member of your firm or a fellow attorney who should be recognized for his or her pro bono service this year? Have you participated in pro bono projects throughout the year?

If so, please consider submitting a nomination for the 2018 Bankruptcy Pro Bono Award!

The Pro Bono Committee for the Bankruptcy Law Section is now seeking nominations for the 2018 Pro Bono Award to be presented at the 41st Annual Bankruptcy Institute in Pinehurst Nov. 2-3. The outstanding individual achievement award will be given to at least one Bankruptcy Section member who has actively participated in pro bono activities during 2018. All nominations must be submitted by Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 to Rebecca F. Redwine ( Please see the nomination form that can be downloaded via this link for more information. Self and third-party nominations will be accepted. We look forward to honoring this year’s award winner in Pinehurst!

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Welcome To the Bankruptcy Section Blog!

By Anna B. Osterhout

I am pleased to be part of the Bankruptcy Section’s initial blog post. While the Bankruptcy Section’s newsletter, the Disclosure Statement (and before that, the Bankruptcy Lawyer), served us well for decades, I am excited that the Bankruptcy Section has launched a more modern and updated way to communicate with our members. Many thanks to all Bankruptcy Section members who served on the Newsletter Committee or who contributed to the Disclosure Statement over the years!

The newly formed Communications Committee is planning at least two blog posts each month. If you are interested in providing content for the blog, please contact Jennifer Lyday, Communications Committee Chair (

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