Our Legal Blog

Supreme Court Clarifies Bankruptcy Judges’ Authority

Bankruptcy Judges

The U.S. Supreme Court has clarified the authority of bankruptcy judges. This new ruling allows parties to agree that the bankruptcy court could make decisions that involve the application or interpretation of state law. The Court made this decision in Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif, No. 13-935 (U.S. May 26, 2015). In a 6-3 decision, the Court reversed a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had limited the power of bankruptcy judges to make final decisions concerning whether certain property belonged to a bankruptcy estate. This case arose after Wellness International sued Sharif […]

Guardianship: A Valuable Legal Tool for Helping the Elderly


Aging is a part of living for all of us, even celebrities. Beloved American radio and TV personality Casey Kasem’s final chapter recently grabbed the headlines, but, in fact, his situation is all too common. Casey suffered from advanced Parkinson’s disease, was essentially bedridden and showed signs of diminished mental capacity. His wife of more than 30 years shut out family and friends, causing his children from his first marriage to turn to the courts for the power to protect their incapacitated father. Their request for a conservator was granted on a temporary basis just […]

7 Things All Debtors Should Do

7 Things All Debtors Should Do

No one likes to owe money. Not being able to pay the bills can leave people feeling frustrated, embarrassed, depressed and hopeless even though many money troubles are due to forces beyond their control, such as losing a job or getting very ill. You may be contacted by a debt collector once your debts are seriously past-due. A debt collector may be a collection agency, a lawyer who collects debts as part of their business or a company that buys delinquent debts and then tries to collect them. As you deal with the situation and […]

Business Owners Need a Graceful Exit Strategy

Business Owner

It’s easy to get caught up in the demanding pace of everyday life. Many of us don’t seriously consider making a plan for the future, for taking the necessary steps to protect what’s important to us. Estate planning is complex, yet essential, and owners of businesses must deal with the same possibilities as individuals. Succession planning allows small-, medium- and large-sized businesses to prepare for the inevitable by combining corporate law solutions with estate planning solutions. With the youngest members of the baby boom generation set to turn 65 years old by 2029 (with the […]

Facebook is Forever

Social Media Estate Planning

Like flossing and checking your tire pressure, getting your affairs in order in the event of your death is just one of those things it’s wise to make time for. Draft a will to determine who gets your assets. Appoint a health care proxy who can make medical decisions for you if you can’t. Create a living will detailing which medical treatments you do and do not want undertaken if you become incapacitated. Designate a “legacy contact” on Facebook to handle your friend requests. That’s right – your Facebook profile can live on long after […]

When “Plan A” Doesn’t Work Out

Bankruptcy Court Decision

As just noted by the Supreme Court, Chapter 13 “affords individuals receiving regular income an opportunity to obtain some relief from their debts while retaining their property. To proceed under Chapter 13, a debtor must propose a plan to use future income to repay a portion (or in the rare case all) of his debts over the next three to five years. If the bankruptcy court confirms the plan and the debtor successfully carries it out, he receives a discharge of his debts according to the plan.” Bullard v. Blue Hills Bank, No. 14-116, slip […]

Another Twist in Defective Mortgages

Kentucky Defective Mortgages

The Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky found that a mortgage was defective under Kentucky law where it did not contain the date of the underlying obligation. The opinion is Rogan v. U.S. Bank, N.A. (In re Partin), 2014 Bankr. LEXIS 3866 (Bankr. E.B. Ky. 2014). The Plaintiff, a Chapter 7 trustee, sought to avoid U.S. Bank’s mortgage on three parcels of property. Although the Court has previously found mortgages to be defective under Kentucky law for not including a maturity date, the issue of an omitted date of the underlying debt obligation […]

Bunch Named Senior Counselor by Kentucky Bar Association

Bunch & Brock, Attorneys is pleased to announce that W. Thomas Bunch was honored by the Kentucky Bar Association earlier this year as a Senior Counselor. Mr. Bunch was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1965 and has practiced in the Comonwealth for nearly fifty years. He is also a member of the Kentucky and Fayette County Bar Associations, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and is an associate member of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. He is a life member of the Lexington Kiwanis Club. Mr. Bunch founded Bunch & Brock, Attorneys in 1976, and […]

Sale of Mines in Bankruptcy of James River Coal

A bankruptcy judge in Virginia has approved the sale of three coal mining complexes to Lexington, Ky.-based Blackhawk Mining. The deal was part of the James River Coal Co. bankruptcy, Case No. 14-31848 (Bankr. E.D. Va.). The three facilities are located in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. The total sale price was $52 million. The buyer will pay $20 million to the bankruptcy estate and assume $32 million in liabilities which relate to the three mining facilities. This arrangement is common in bankruptcy because it brings liquid assets into the estate plus it reduces the […]

Bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay Isn’t Absolute

understanding bankruptcy

The automatic stay of bankruptcy, found in section 362 of the bankruptcy code, stops creditors from taking certain actions against debtors who have filed for bankruptcy. The automatic stay can stop a foreclosure sale and it can stop harassing phone calls from creditors. For the vast majority of debtors, the automatic stay will stop all collection activities. Or at least it is supposed to. But the automatic stay isn’t absolute. Some creditors can continue their collection activities even though a bankruptcy has been filed. The Sixth Circuit recently considered such a situation. In Robinson v. […]