Often times, people assume that their jobs are secure and their finances are well under control. They never think about what might happen if their jobs suddenly lay them off or if an unexpected injury occurs that leaves thousands in medical bills sitting around. Regardless of whether you are an average person trying to make ends meet or someone like Tisha Campbell-Martin and her husband Duane, no one is immune to financial problems. This is where a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Tampa can step in and help you out.
Everyone knows the seriousness of the attorney client privilege and just how fundamental it is within the framework of our legal system, but one thing that isn’t readily apparent is whether or not this privilege extends towards a client’s worksheets. This is a question that both debtors and chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers have asked themselves: does the other side get to see such important documents?
What exactly are these documents and why are they so important? These client worksheets are generally provided by the attorney whenever they take on a new client for a chapter 7 bankruptcy hearing. The client will fill the worksheet out, answering questions such as how much their assets are actually worth, what their income history looks like, what their living expenses are, and what kind of property transfers they’ve had over the years. Once the client completes this worksheet, the bankruptcy attorney will use it to fill out court documents.
Once the court documents are completed, the client signs these under oath at the law office before the lawyer files them in court. Afterwards, they’re available as public filings.
This may cause an issue if the creditor goes to the judge with a claim that the person who owes the debt may have been dishonest about how much property they actually own or what their assets are actually work. They can ask to have the worksheet disclosed in order to see if there are any sort of discrepancies between what is found on the sheet and what is found in the public documents.
Once this happens, the lawyer working on behalf of the debtor will tell the judge the sheet is protected under the attorney client privilege and is therefore completely immune from discovery. The common response to this is that because the worksheet was filled out specifically for the purpose of filling out court documents that will become public, there is actually no reason the creditor would have had an expectation that the information on the worksheet remain private.
While it’s true that the ruling for these sorts of situations can come down on either side, it’s important to understand that generally the bankruptcy attorney and client privilege will hold out in a court of law in most situations.
There was a recent case 2016 case in Florida (In re Stickle, No. 14-19551-BKC-PGH) involving a debtor who had been sued prior to the filing of their chapter 13 for some of their real estate trusts. The creditor argued that the payment plan that had been set up was based on allegedly false statements. Wanting to prove this in court, they wanted to use the worksheet. It was ruled that attorney-client privilege protected the worksheet as long as the client fills it out with the expectation of privacy. It was argued that it’s very possible for a debtor to have included information on the worksheet that was never actually intended to be made a part of a public record. While in this case, the debtor didn’t actually prove an expectation of privacy, they were given the option of submitting evidence that they filled out the sheet in an effort to obtain counsel.
A recent report by Deloitte finds evidence that 35% of Public Oil Companies around the world are at risk of going bankrupt owing to a combination of their internal financials and the global oil market. Deloitte finds that there are few options for over 1/3 of oil companies.
Deloitte surveyed 500 pure play companies around the world. The survey revealed that 175 of those firms are at risk because of a combination of low debt service coverage ratios and high leverage. The Deloitte report further paints a grim picture of extraordinarily low oil prices that make for few financial options.
Over the last several years, retaining a bankruptcy attorney has been the only alternative for many debtors. One or both parties to a marriage may have lost their jobs, and now they’re drowning in debt. The type of bankruptcy filing that they might want to make usually depends on their financial circumstances. Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcies are the most frequent filings.
This is the most common form of filing for people seeking bankruptcy protection. Any person, couple or company can file for chapter 7. A discharge in chapter 7 bankruptcy operates as a liquidation. The major benefit of a chapter 7 bankruptcy is that upon being discharged, debtors no longer have any obligations on any of their qualified declared debts. Note that it doesn’t wash away any mortgages or liens. Some of the debtor’s assets are even exempt from liquidation. A full and complete review of the debtor’s assets and liabilities should be made by their bankruptcy attorney. Another major benefit of chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the debtor is likely to revive their credit score more quickly than with other forms of bankruptcy relief.
As the economic situation in Florida continues to normalize after the tremendous upheavals of the financial crisis in 2008-09 and subsequent recession, businesses are finally feeling secure in the region. Business bankruptcy filings, which spiked in Florida in 2010, have come steadily down since that time and have even fallen 20 percent in the past year alone.
There are many reasons for this decline in businesses declaring bankruptcy. First of all, as the economy grows and improves, more Floridians are being put back to work. Decreased unemployment leads to more disposable income in the population, which means that businesses have an audience to buy their products. A business is only as good as the financial strength of its customers — if closed wallets and tight belts rule the day, even the most successful and ubiquitous businesses will suffer. Consumer spending always declines in a recession, but it steadily increases as market forces and government action correct the nation’s economic issues.
At the start of 2016, it was announced by Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, that the commonwealth of Puerto Rico would not be able to cover the principal and interest payments on its debt. Given that there was a comparable announcement six months earlier, i.e., that an obligation for $72 billion in bond payments could not be met at that time either, this new announcement clearly could not have been a surprise.
Yet still, six months later, why would a debt relief plan still be nowhere in sight? The problem is that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, not a municipality, so filing for U.S. Chapter 9 bankruptcy is not an option under current legal statutes. Additionally, the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund are not able to help either, because Puerto Rico is not a country. And a federal bailout package has been denied as well.
Traditional taxi and car service companies have another reason to feel uncomfortable about their futures these days, as one of their own will soon be filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
According to the San Francisco Examiner, Yellow Cab Co-Op, the largest yellow cab company in San Francisco, is taking steps to restructure, amid a changing business environment. Not only do they need to reduce debts brought on by claims and lawsuits, but they also need to position themselves better be able to compete against app-based ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, both also headquartered in San Francisco.
While “financial setbacks” is the main reason being cited for the reason for the potential bankruptcy filing, the undertone of a more competitive business environment can’t be ignored. While expenses are exceeding income, and the potential Chapter 11 filing is focused on restructuring of expenses, it is the income side of the equation where the new competitive environment is making its mark, too.
Despite being handpicked by President Obama as one of his favorite sustainable energy projects, Abengoa is facing bankruptcy. This Spanish company in declaring bankruptcy could leave the taxpayers with a massive debt rumored to be several billion dollars. In addition to this huge burden there is also the confirmation of the belief that the Spanish government continues to back lame horses when it comes to green energy.
Abengoa is known to most for their two renewable energy products in the United States. They have been creating massive solar power projects of which they have received an access of $2.7 billion in the form of a federal loan. They began receiving the loans in 2010 but just recently shared that they are most likely heading towards bankruptcy.
We’ve all heard of, and probably use, the popular music streaming service Pandora. Perhaps you prefer some of the competitors Spotify or Apple Music, but have you ever heard of Rdio? I doubt it. You may be surprised to find out that they were also a competitor of these other popular streaming services. Unfortunately, since no one was aware of their existence they have proven unable to compete and will be closing their doors.
The company has chosen to file for bankruptcy. Though things are looking up slightly as Pandora has sent in an offer of $75 million to purchase the property owned by the streaming service and to take on some of their employees. This leaves many wondering if they will also take on their customer base. It is believed that this is a real possibility but would be conducted in a second transaction.
While American Apparel was once the go-to source for cool, Made in America shirts and jeans, in October of 2015 the retailer filed for bankruptcy protection. This comes after a string of lawsuits, the firing of its founder, and a steady decline of sales.
From Stylemaker to Struggling Label
In the 90’s and early 2000’s, American Apparel had come to define the alternative look of those decades’ youth. They also scored points with young people for keeping their garment construction factories in Los Angeles and championing many progressive causes. The founder of the company, Dov Charney, brought his energy into his business dealings, which unfortunately started to cross a line.