Three of the four before today were easy. The fourth was postponed until September. The rest of my week before this morning was just assorted running-around on other matters in between this wire mesh of commitments, plus preparing for the final three, all in one place out of town, with one of today's flagged for "issues" and all of them assigned to a Grumpy McGrumperson of a court official.
I know his schtick. I can virtually repeat it to my clients before they even hear it: "Zero tolerance." "I've never lost a motion if you don't cooperate." Yada yada yada. One at 9 this morning, the other two at 10. But I left one of the three files in my office on the other side of Rochester, so I was out the door before 6:30 to pick it up and print out the needed useless forms that nobody else this week asked for.
Two of the three had significant-enough-to-discuss issues. We knew what they were, we were prepared for them, we will work through them. But the third: move along, nothing to see here. The client owned nothing, earned nothing, was entitled to nothing worth a piss and a half about. So naturally G McG got testy with him.
You have to list your bank accounts when you file bankruptcy. We did. You also have to list, and in most cases get to keep, the money in those accounts under various permitted "exemptions." Which we also did. But I've tired of the drill where you list, a day to a week before filing, what you think is in the account. I know, everybody knows, that the only figure that matters is what is on the bank statement(s) as of the date of filing- which, by definition, is unavailable until after you file. So I now list those assets as of an "unknown" value, that value properly and by official form permissibly determined as exempt as "100% of fair market value, up to an applicable statutory limit.” This option was expressly permitted by the Supremes in a 2010 case which allowed it, and was expressly incorporated into the current bankruptcy forms.
The trustee is still entitled to check on how much was in such accounts as of the time of filing. I ask clients for that information as soon as they receive it. Unfortunately, some banks, particularly credit unions are (and this is a technical term) dicks when their members file for BK. This client had his credit union checking ("share draft," technically) account closed when they got notice of his filing; they essentially said, "Take your $75 worth of toys and go home." And they shut off access to his account information so he couldn't provide the needed proof of the amount of his toys. So Grumpy got grumpy: he stared my client down, and asked him to state, "on the record, under penalty of perjury, that he did not have more than $3,000 in his accounts in the 90 days before he filed bankruptcy." The client gave it some brief thought, then confirmed that this was the case. (PS: He could have had closer to $10 freaking thousand in that account before it would have exceeded his exemption, but let's not go there.)
I finished my one case after his, with minor but resolvable issues, did a few other things in the office near there, and got out of Dodgechester by 1:30. I was on the drive home when the email came in: OMG am I going to jail? The credit union finally deigned to send him a paper statement, and for one brief moment, his balance was about $60 above the $3,000 he'd testified to. My crest fell: my one easy case of the day, suddenly kiboshed by FACTS. I would've emailed him asking for the statement information, but:
(a) I was driving, and THAT WOULD BE WRONG (not to mention how unlawful texting would've conflicted with the new labeling on my car)-
- and (b) my stupid new Speculum internet provider won't send emails from my phone if I'm using cellular data, only if I'm connected to (most, not all) wifi networks. So I had to wait until I got back to the Buffalo office to see his actual attached statement- which showed, conclusively, that client's illegal perjorous deposit didn't occur until about two weeks after he filed his case. Which, in bankruptcy terms, is "nunya bee-yai-business." So his case will close out without any issues, and Grumpy will have to commiserate with the other six dwarfs about cases other than mine:P
Next week: another four straight days of hearings, but only one on the road, and while it, too, is with Grumpy, I know exactly what to expect out of him. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho,....