Category: ‘Bankruptcy Law’

Yahoo Users Can Sue Over Data Breach

May 15, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A federal court has recently ruled that a lawsuit regarding Yahoo’s recent data breach, exposing the personal information of its nearly 3 billion users can go forward. The decision was announced on May 11, after U.S. District Judge, Lucy Kohl, rejected a request from Verizon Communications to dismiss many of the claims made against the company for negligence and breach of contract. Verizon Communications purchased Yahoo’s Internet business in June 2017.

The case stems from three different data breaches that occurred between 2013 and 2016. Yahoo has been criticized with how slowly it reacted to the breaches and informed their users. The breaches were not discovered and revealed until after Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo’s business. Upon discovering this news, Verizon demanded a $4.5 billion cut in the purchase price for the company.

Customers were later informed about the release of confidential information, which increased users’ risks of identity theft. Users were then required to pay for credit freezes and continued monitoring on their credit reports.

Kohl stated that, had customers been informed about the breach sooner, they would have taken measures against identity theft and fraud. By the time the company had informed users of the breaches, many of them had already had their identities stole by hackers who used their personal data to file fraudulent tax returns and make illegal credit card charges.

Initially, the company had said that one billion users were a part of the hack, but it later came out that three billion of the users were affected by the breaches. In fact, the complaint filed by plaintiffs had to be amended in October 2017 after it was revealed that the breach ended up affecting three billion users.

Kohl said the fact the complaint had to be amended to include these additional users highlighted just how serious the issue of security was in the plaintiff’s decision to use Yahoo as an Internet service.

In March 2017, two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers were charged by U.S. prosecutors for crimes connected with the Yahoo breaches. One of the accused hackers, Karim Baratov, pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy charges.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorneywho can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/yahoo-users-can-sue-over-data-breaches-031318.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-verizon-yahoo-breach/data-breach-victims-can-sue-yahoo-in-the-united-states-judge-idUSKCN1GO1TL

How Student Loan Debt Can Affect Your 401K

May 14, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Student loans and retirement planning may not seem like two things that would affect each other. Usually, the first thought after graduating is to get a job to start paying back student loan debt. However, student loan debt has become an increasing problem when it comes to saving and planning for retirement.

More and more students are graduating with student loan debt today.  And for those starting their careers fresh out of college, many are finding it hard to save for retirement along with meeting their monthly obligations, the biggest of these being student loan payments.

New research shows that families age 45 to 54 with zero student loan debt have an average 401(k) balance of $80,000. Take that same age demographic and add the issue of student loans, and the median balance for their 401(k) drops to $46,000. Families who have heads of household younger than 35 with student loans carry a median 401(k) balance of $8,000.

Some companies are helping their employees with student loan debt. In January 2016, Fidelity launched a program to help their own customer service associates pay up to $2,000 of student loan debt annually, with a lifetime maximum of $10,000. Fidelity employees responded well to the program with 8,400 employees taking advantage of it, the majority of them being in the younger demographic.

Another company, Gradfi, a fintech company, started a student loan repayment program, offering this service to 100 employers in 2016. Gradfi is now working with 350 companies across the United States, including Peloton and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Employers can use these programs to draw in key hires, but also work on retaining employees once they are hired.

One downside to these student loan repayment programs, however, is the fact that these employer payments must be considered as taxable income to employees.

For the time being, it is advisable to factor in both payments on student loan debt and contributions to retirement savings. Every bit helps and making those smaller contributions today will build up to larger contributions over time as student loan debt decreases. Take advantage of employer-matched money when making these contributions, and speak with your financial advisor to see how much you can contribute comfortably.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available.  Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

Second Landlord This Month Held in Contempt of Court for Willful Violation of the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

May 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Miami bankruptcy attorney Timothy S. Kingcade’s Motion Granted by Judge, Creditor Required to Cease and Desist all Eviction Proceedings and Pay Attorney’s Fees and Other Sanctions

MIAMI – (May 11, 2018) This is the second time this month Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade, founding partner of Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken and Attorney Kristina Gonzalez, have successfully obtained an Order for a client in a Chapter 7 case, requiring the creditor to  cease and desist all eviction proceedings and pay attorney’s fees.  The creditor in the case (In re Danny Looney Case No. 17-25332-LMI), Massmar Investments, LLC, was listed in the bankruptcy petition and was advised multiple times that the client was in bankruptcy.

“This is a victory today for our client. The landlord in this case chose to completely disregard the automatic stay put in place that protects bankruptcy clients from harassment and repossession of property. Despite having notice of the bankruptcy, the landlord continued with eviction proceedings, disregarded the law and harassed my client to no end,” Kingcade said. “Unfortunately, this is something we are seeing more of in my practice.”

The Order directs creditor, Massmar Investments, LLC to cease and desist any further eviction proceedings and dismiss the wrongfully filed eviction case, abide by the automatic stay, and pay attorney’s fees to Kingcade Garcia McMaken for having to bring forth the action.

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Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade Garcia McMaken specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

For more information visit, https://www.miamibankruptcy.com/.

Can Debtors Recover Damages for Emotional Distress for Violations of the Automatic Stay?

May 10, 2018 Posted by kingcade

One of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy involves the automatic stay, a measure that goes into effect as soon as the bankruptcy case is filed. This automatic stay puts a halt to any collections proceedings or efforts, giving the filer reprieve from the continually calls and communications from creditors seeking to receive payment on their debts. By law, creditors are bound to abide by the automatic stay, but many creditors do not always abide by the stay. When that happens, the question arises as to what kind of damages the filer is entitled to if a creditor violates the stay.

Actual and Punitive Damages

Under the Bankruptcy code, if an individual undergoing a bankruptcy is injured by a “willful violation of a stay provided by this section shall recover actual damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, and – in appropriate circumstances – may recover punitive damages.” 11 U.S.C. § 362(k)(1).  It is up to the court to determine whether “actual damages” includes damages for emotional distress, and this normally comes down to the question of whether the violation was accidental or intentional.

Was the Violation of the Automatic Stay Deliberate?

In some situations, a creditor can violate the automatic stay accidentally or unintentionally. Other times, the violation can be deliberate , and in complete disregard for the law. The stay is automatic, and many creditors, if they have a registered contact with the court, will find this out as soon as the stay is instituted. However, if the creditor is a smaller company, they may not find out quite so quickly, which means if the creditor continues to contact the debtor, that initial contact could be an accidental violation of the stay.

To seek damages for the violation, the filer needs to show the court that the creditor violated the automatic stay willfully. The creditor must have known that the contact or communication was prohibited but did so in spite of that knowledge. If the filer expressly gave someone employed by the creditor the information regarding the bankruptcy, then he or she has the evidence needed to show that the violation was willful.

Court Treatment of Violations of the Automatic Stay and Emotional Distress

Four circuits, including the first, third, ninth and 11th circuits, have affirmed that emotional distress damages are available if a creditor violated the stay. In recent cases, the courts have reviewed the legislative history and found evidence that the emotional consequences of the debtor were considered when creating the automatic stay. The history showed that Congress meant to protect not only the financial interests of those filing for bankruptcy, but the non-filing ones, as well. However, the fifth and seventh circuits have not been as strong in their rulings when it comes to emotional distress damages. These courts have been skeptical in the ability the bankruptcy court has to award emotional distress damages in a bankruptcy matter.

Filing a Claim

If a filer believes that he or she has been victim to a willful violation of the automatic stay, it is recommended that the individual consult a bankruptcy attorney before proceeding. The attorney can help determine what the best course of action is, given the circumstances of the case. A motion may be appropriate to request the judge to issue an “order to show cause,” requiring the creditor to provide the reason why the violation occurred. If damages were particularly significant, a lawsuit for these damages may be necessary and justified.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.thebalance.com/your-rights-when-a-creditor-violates-the-automatic-stay-316196

5 Ways to Erase Your Credit Card Debt

May 9, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt can be frustrating to no end and is easily one of the most common debts individuals who later file for bankruptcy find themselves battling. Every situation is different, and while there is not a single solution for getting out of credit card debt, certain tips and tricks can help individuals who find themselves drowning in this type of debt.

  1. Use All Resources to Pay the Debt

The most common method used in the past was to take all resources available to pay off the debt. While it is an effective method, it is one that requires a lot of dedication, as well as a lot of time. It starts with the individual cutting up their credit cards and using cash only to pay for essential living expenses. It is recommended that the person first sit down to make a list of all cards he or she has, writing down the interest rate for each card, as well as the minimum payment on each.

Utilizing what is known as the “debt avalanche” method, the person targets one credit card balance at a time. This means that the person pays the minimum payments on all other cards with the exception of the first card with the highest interest rate. To come up with the amount the borrower can afford to pay towards this car, he or she will need to create or revise a budget, eliminating all unnecessary expenses, and see what amount is left after all living expenses are covered. The person will throw all of the money towards the first debt, and as soon as that debt is paid, the card with the next highest interest rate is handled and so on until all debts are paid.

However, when the card’s interest rate is too high, the individual has too many debts to handle or he or she has no extra money to contribute to paying the cards off, other options may need to be used.

  1. Balance-Transferring Card

If the individual still has a good credit score, it is possible he or she could transfer the balance from one or more of these cards to a newer one with a lower interest rate. Many cards offer a limited-time 0 percent annual percentage rate for a certain period of time and waive a balance transfer fee during this period. This time period can allow the payer a chance to catch up without the debilitating interest rates preventing any progress. However, the key is the person needs a good credit score, as well as savings or funds available to pay off the balance during this period of time with 0 percent APR.

  1. Credit Card Consolidation Loan

Sometimes paying off the credit card debt can be too much to pay without help. In these situations, credit card consolidation loans are a possibility. According to Bankrate, the average rate for these loans is 16.84 percent for credit cards these debtors are facing, which can be near impossible to conquer. A credit card consolidation loan allows the person to pay off the credit card balance with a loan for the same amount but a lower rate. The rates for these loans start around 10.00 percent with lower fees than the credit cards. These personal loans are available for borrowers with less than perfect credit, but the borrowers will need someone to cosign the loan or at least put up collateral to cover the loan.

  1. Debt Management

Another option is for the borrower to enroll in a debt management program or plan (DMP) and receive assistance from a credit counseling service. A qualified credit counselor will work with the individual to put together a budget, create a plan to pay off the debt and to work with the creditors to negotiate the debt. Also, under a DMP, the person will consolidate the debt into one monthly payment with a small monthly fee that is capped by the state. This option is available for individuals with poor credit, and the process can take approximately four to five years.

It is important that the person find a company who is qualified, such as the Financial Counseling Association of America. If a company promises the debtor that it will be able to completely get rid of the debt, it is likely a scam. Do the homework before choosing a company.

  1. File Bankruptcy

Sometimes, the individual has no choice but to file for bankruptcy if the amount of debt is too much to handle. It is at this point that a bankruptcy attorney needs to be consulted. An attorney can help the person determine whether other options exist, and if no other option does exist, the attorney can advise the individual on what type of bankruptcy is best for his or her situation, whether that be Chapter 7, 11 or 13 bankruptcy.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com

Related Resources: http://blog.credit.com/2018/05/5-ways-you-can-erase-your-credit-card-debt-183081/