Posts Tagged: ‘Kingcade Garcia McMaken’

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/

 

Student Loan Debt is Doubling, Tripling, and Even Quadrupling for Some

May 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

For a number of individuals, what they borrow in student loans can end up being only a portion of what they wind of up owing.  Student loan debt stands at a staggering $1.5 trillion and outstanding student loan debt has tripled over the last decade in the U.S.  This is in part due to many borrowers seeing their balances spiral out of control. According to Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center, “There are ways these loans are structured that encourage this ballooning.”

Many schools have hired consultants to ‘encourage’ struggling borrowers to put their loans into forbearance, which provides a temporary postponement of payments, for a three-year window, according to an April report by the Government Accountability Office (GOA).  While forbearance prevents a borrower from defaulting and accumulating late fees, there are better options, such as income-driven repayment plans.

When a borrower’s student loans go into forbearance the interest on the debt continues to accumulate. Borrowers are often shocked by the new, higher balance.  Another disappointment is the 2007 program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows certain student loan borrowers in government or non-profit public service jobs to wipe out their remaining debt after 10 years of on-time payments. However, a number of students claim that after making 10 years of payments and trying to obtain forgiveness on the remaining balance, were told they did not qualify because they had the ‘wrong type’ of loan.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a report last year about how many people believe they are paying their way toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness only to learn they do not actually qualify for one technical reason or another.

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.

Cambridge Analytica to File for Bankruptcy After Misuse of Facebook Data

May 4, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that has found itself in a firestorm of controversy recently, announced on Wednesday that it would be closing operations and filing for bankruptcy. This announcement comes after the company has been the focus of political scrutiny due its business practices and the part it has allegedly played in the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

For those who are not already aware of the scandal, it was discovered two months ago that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were involved in the compromise of personal information of about 87 million individuals. It was alleged that this personal information was given to Russian bots or other companies and individuals who were a part of creating propaganda to help influence the Presidential election.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica said the controversy had driven away essentially all of its customers, resulting in having to file for bankruptcy in both the United States and Britain. It will also be shutting down the elections division of SCL Group, the Cambridge British affiliate.

However, now that the announcement has been made, many are questioning who will hold the company’s intellectual property, which includes the voter profiles that were a part of the data release from Facebook. Where will this information go now that the company is no longer in business?

The company said it conducted its own independent investigation, results of which were released on Wednesday. In its results, Cambridge Analytica seemed to downplay the assertions that were made by former employees about how it acquired the data from Facebook, and the information also downplayed the role Christopher Wylie, the contractor who ended up being the whistle-blower on the whole deal, calling the role Wylie played “very modest.”

Cambridge Analytica is financially backed by a wealthy Republican donor, Robert Mercer, who is said to have invested at least $15 million of his money in the company. The company has been said to have offered tools to help identify the personalities of the typical American voter and ways to influence their behavior. These techniques were what led the company’s work for the Trump campaign, as well as other candidates in the 2014 and 2016 elections. It was the help these techniques gave to the Trump campaign, however, which has brought the company under such scrutiny, scrutiny that has apparently led to the company’s financial downfall.

Click here to read more on this story.

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

 

 

Can a Person File for Bankruptcy More Than Once?

May 2, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Many clients want to know if a previous bankruptcy filing is going to prevent them from being able to file again. Many factors go into when and whether it can be done, but the two biggest factors are what type of bankruptcy was filed previously and how long ago the case was filed.

No Bar for Subsequent Filings Exist

The good news for bankruptcy filers is there are no limits on the number of times a person can file for bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy courts do not want to see individuals misuse the system with multiple filings made in bad faith. It is for this reason that the law does impose certain statutory requirements and prerequisites that filers must meet to be able to file again. If an individual has filed for bankruptcy previously, it is important that he or she contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss the options available, as well as the requirements for filing again.

Previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

If the previous bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7 case, the individual must wait at least eight years from the date of the previous bankruptcy filing before filing a second filing, if that person wants to file another Chapter 7 case. However, if the person filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for the first filing but now wants to go forward with a Chapter 13 reorganization case, the time is shorter, and that person must only wait four years from the date of the first bankruptcy filing date.

Previous Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing

If the previous bankruptcy filing was Chapter 13, certain time limits do apply. If the previous case resulted in a bankruptcy discharge, the filer must wait at least six years from the date the first Chapter 13 case was filed before he or she can file for and get another discharge in a later Chapter 7 case. However, exceptions do exist to this rule. If the filer paid back all of his or her unsecured debts or at least 70 percent of the unsecured debts were paid, and the plan was to pay them back in good faith, the six-year rule does not apply. If the later case is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy again, the filer cannot get a later Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless the case has been filed at least two years after the date the first case was filed.

Case Dismissed with Prejudice  

However, other exceptions exist to the rules listed above. The filer can be prohibited from filing a later bankruptcy case if the bankruptcy court dismissed the previous bankruptcy case with prejudice, meaning the person who had filed the case failed to comply with court orders, filed multiple cases with the purpose of deceiving creditors or the case was not filed in good faith.

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://www.attorneys.com/bankruptcy/can-a-person-file-for-bankruptcy-more-than-once

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/how-often-file.html