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Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee Reports

March 3, 2005

    1. Next Scheduled Meeting of the Committee

    May 11, 2005, to include a panel discussion of several recent cases on the dischargeability in bankruptcy of mortgages granted as part of a refinancing.

    2. Council Approval

    Not applicable.

    3. Membership

    Not applicable.

    4. Accomplishments Toward Committee Objectives

    The co-chairs of the Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee sit on the Advisory Committee to the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court, and served on a subcommittee to the Advisory Committee drafting proposed new local bankruptcy rules for Chapter 11 cases. The new rules were adopted effective January 3, 2005.

    The Committee sponsored a seminar on December 17, 2004, at Wayne State University Law School at which all five Bankruptcy Judges spoke on the new rules. 150 people attended or purchased seminar materials.

    5. Meetings and Programs

    The January 14, 2005 meeting of the Committee included presentations by Michael Khoury and Dennis Loughlin on the Michigan Mold Builders Act and Michigan Special Tools Lien Act.

    The May 11, 2005 meeting will include a panel discussion of several recent cases on the dischargeability in bankruptcy of mortgages granted as part of a refinancing.

    6. Publications

    Not applicable.

    7. Legislative/Judicial/Administrative Developments

    The Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is converting to electronic filing in June 2005. The co-chairs are members of an advisory committee to the Court on the process and education of the bar.

    Congress is scheduled to consider a Bankruptcy Reform Act. The Committee will monitor the legislation and educate the bar on the legislation when and if passed.

    8. Miscellaneous

    Not applicable.

    Judy B. Calton
    Judith Greenstone Miller
    Co-chairs

December 4, 2004

    1. Budget Request for 2004-2005

    $1,500.

    2. Use of Budget Funds in 2003-2004

    Information unavailable.

    3. Next Scheduled Meeting of the Committee

    Next scheduled meeting of the Committee is January 19, 2005.

    4. Council Approval

    Not applicable at this time. See paragraph 9 below.

    5. Membership

    The last Committee meeting featured a discussion of Michigan's new Judgment Lien Act, lead by attorneys who had studied the act. That was popular, and we are arranging a similar discussion on Michigan's tool lien acts for the next meeting.

    We had two mailings to our members in the last 3 months.

    6. Accomplishments Toward Committee Objectives

    See below

    7. Meetings and Programs

    The Committee Co-Chairs participated in drafting new local rules for the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court, which were adopted by administrative order effective January 3, 2005. The Committee is co-sponsoring a seminar about the new rules, in which the Judges will participate as speakers, to be held on December 17, 2004 at the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium on the Wayne State University campus.

    8. Publications

    The local rules seminar materials will be sold to persons unable to attend the seminar.

    Committee members contributed more articles than would fit in the edition of the Michigan Business Law Journal for which the Committee was responsible. One of the overflow articles, by Charles Milne, was published in the Summer 2004 issue of the Journal.

    9. Legislative/Judicial/Administrative Developments

    The Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court will be converting to electronic case filing in 2005. The Committee Co-Chairs are members of a committee advising the Court on educating the bar on the process and will be organizing a seminar for the bar in 2005.

    There are pending amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (applicable to bankruptcy procedure) noticed out for public comment. The Committee will want to review the amendments, and possibly comment and testify.

    In light of the results of the election, the federal Bankruptcy Reform Act will likely become an active bill again. The Committee will need to monitor the legislation, possibly comment, and if enacted, educate the members of the bar about it.

    The Michigan House has adopted House Bill 5763, authorizing enriched exemptions for a debtor filing bankruptcy. The Michigan Senate is considering Senate Bill 1437, which enriches exemptions for debtors outside of bankruptcy. Collection attorneys are trying to amend the exemptions so that holders of judgment liens under the new judgment lien act can collect from exempt property. The Committee will monitor the legislation and may want to comment on it.

    Testimony would be subject to Council approval.

    10. Miscellaneous

    In 2003, the Committee co-sponsored a dinner to honor Judge Walter Shapero of the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court on taking senior status. The dinner was such a financial success that the profits were used to create a Walter Shapero symposium on Bankruptcy Law. The first symposium was on November 1, 2004 with Dean Nancy Rapaport speaking.

    Reported submitted by Judy B. Calton, Co-Chair
    Judith Greenstone Miller, Co-Chair

September 23, 2004

    1. Next Scheduled Meeting of the Committee

    The next scheduled meeting of the Committee: October 20, 2004.

    2. Council Approval

    No approval is sought from the Council at this time.

    3. Membership

    We will be notifying members of the next upcoming meeting and program that the Committee is planning on the new local bankruptcy rules (referenced below).

    4. Accomplishments Toward Committee Objectives

    The members of the Committee are actively involved in legislative and educational activities.

    5. Meetings and Programs

    We are planning a program on the new local bankruptcy rules governing Chapter 11 practice (anticipated to be adopted by administrative order of the bankruptcy court early this Fall) for November 5, 2004 to be held at the Spencer Partrich Auditorium at Wayne State University. In addition, we may also consider having a program on other "hot and emerging" issues, including the newly adopted Michigan Judgment Lien Act (effective September 1, 2004) in the Winter.

    6. Publications

    The Committee is not currently involved in any publications, however, the two co-chairs of the Committee have been serving on the Bankruptcy Court's Chapter 11 Rules Committee and been intimately and extensively involved in drafting the rules that are anticipated to be adopted through administrative order of the Bankruptcy Court this Fall.

    7.Legislative/Judicial/Administrative Developments

    Judith Greenstone Miller and Judy B. Calton, the Co-Chairs of the Committee, sit on the Advisory Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Advisory Committee appointed a Chapter 11 Rules Committee to develop and draft new proposed rules governing Chapter 11 practice. New rules are anticipated to be adopted by the Bankruptcy Court through an Administrative Order of the Court this Fall.

    Michigan adopted a new Judgment Lien Act that became effective on September 1, 2004. No similar legislation previously existed in Michigan. The legislation may be the subject of future programs of the Committee.

    Legislation is still pending on amending various state exemptions. The Committee continues to monitor this legislation, and when and if passes, it may be the subject of future programs of the Committee.

    8. Miscellaneous

    Nothing else to report.

    Respectfully submitted by Judith Greenstone Miller

    Judy B. Calton

    Co-Chairs of the Committee

May 22, 2004

    1. Next Scheduled Meeting of the Committee

    Next scheduled meeting of the Committee: Early Summer 2004

    2. Council Approval

    Representative Lipsey has introduced into the Michigan House of Representatives House Bill Nos. 5763, 5764, 5765, 5766, 5780 and 5781 to amend the Michigan exemption statutes, based on a report prepared by Advisory Committee to the Civil Law and Judiciary Subcommittee of the House Civil and Judiciary Committee ("Committee"). The Chair of the Committee is Steven L. Rayman. The Vice Chair of the Committee is Thomas B. Radom. The Reporter for the Committee is Judy B. Calton. We are seeking approval from the Council to submit a report recommending the adoption of the proposed pending legislation. In large part, the pending legislation would amend various acts to protect certain types of property, death benefits from life insurance policies, structured settlements and workers' compensation benefits from Bankruptcy proceedings and creditors' claims.

    3. Membership

    We will be notifying members of the pending legislation (referenced above), as well as proposed new local bankruptcy rules (referenced below), and about our next up-coming meeting.

    4. Accomplishments Toward Committee Objectives

    The members of the Committee are actively involved in legislative and educational activities.

    5. Meetings and Programs

    We will be planning a program on new local bankruptcy rules governing Chapter 11 practice. In addition, if the proposed pending legislation passes, we will include that topic, along with other "hot and emerging" issues for a seminar later this Fall.

    6. Publications

    The Committee was involved earlier this year in submitting articles for the Michigan Business Law. We reviewed, edited and submitted approximately eight articles for publication on bankruptcy and creditors' rights issues.

    7. Legislative/Judicial/Administrative Developments

    Judith Greenstone Miller and Judy B. Calton, the Co-Chairs of the Committee, sit on the Advisory Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Advisory Committee appointed a Chapter 11 Rules Committee to develop and draft new proposed rules governing Chapter 11 practice. The Committee has been meeting over the last year on this project that has culminated in a complete set of new proposed local rules. Both Judy's sit on the Rules Committee, and as part of that Committee, have developed and drafted new proposed local rules. The Bankruptcy Court intends to publish the rules and adopt them through an Administrative Order of the Court.

    See Paragraph 2, above.

    Judith Greenstone Miller
    Judy B. Calton
    Co-Chairs of the Committee

March 4, 2004

    1. Next Scheduled Meeting of the Committee

    Not scheduled.

    2. Council Approval

    Not applicable.

    3. Membership

    Not applicable.

    4. Accomplishments Toward Committee Objectives

    The Committee, along with other bankruptcy bar groups, co-sponsored a dinner in tribute to the Honorable Walter Shapero, ten visiting judges and the three newly appointed judges. The dinner was such a success, that the tribute committee was able to endow an annual symposium in honor of Judge Shapero, to be administered by the local chapter of the Federal Bar Association. The presentation of the endowment was on March 1, 2004.

    The co-chairs of the Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee sit on the Advisory Committee to the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court, and served on a subcommittee to the Advisory Committee drafting proposed new local bankruptcy rules for Chapter 11 cases. The proposed rules are to be presented to the Court in a meeting on March 8, 2004.

    5. Meetings and Programs

    When new local rules are ready to be adopted by the Eastern District of Michigan bankruptcy court, the Committee will hold educational programs on the new rules. The Eastern District of Michigan bankruptcy court is also scheduled to adopt electronic filing within a year and the Committee will be involved in educational programs on electronic filing.

    6. Publications

    In addition to the recent edition of the Business Law Journal for which the Committee was responsible, two articles by Committee members were submitted for subsequent editions. Two more articles are in process.

    7. Legislative/Judicial/Administrative Developments

    Not applicable

    8. Miscellaneous

    Not applicable.

    Judy B. Calton
    Judith Greenstone Miller
    Co-chairs

December 6, 2003

    Budget Request for 2003-2004: $3,550.

    No further report.

September 11, 2003

    1. Next Scheduled Meeting of the Committee

    The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for November 4, 2003.

    2. Council Approval

    There are no matters requiring Council approval at this time.

    3. Membership

    The Committee remains open to participation by any interested parties.

    4. Accomplishments Toward Committee Objectives

    At the November 4, 2003 meeting, the Committee will explore whether or not there is a need and if it should get involved in seeking revisions in Michigan procedures for executing on a judgment.

    5. Meetings and Programs

    The Committee was a co-sponsor of the Bankruptcy Judges Tribute Dinner. Thedinner, held on June 3, 2003 at the Renaissance Center, honored Judge Shapero taking senior status, the three new bankruptcy judges, and the ten visiting judges who helped out while there were vacancies on the bench. The event was a major success, attended by over 300 attorneys and judges from the Sixth Circuit, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the bankruptcy judges. With funds raised at the event, a visiting speakership in honor of Judge Shapero was endowed.

    6. Publications

    The Committee was responsible for five articles in the Summer 2003 edition of the Michigan Business Law Journal, and has submitted extra articles for publication in upcoming issues.

    7. Legislative/Judicial/Administrative Developments

    None to report.

    8. Miscellaneous

    None.

    Judy B. Calton

May 17, 2003

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee of the Business Law Section held a meeting on April 2, 2003 at the Law Offices of Charles Milne, Cox, Hodgman & Giarmarco P.C.,10th Floor, Columbia Center, 101 West Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48084-5280. Attending the meeting were: Leonora Baugham, Judy Calton, James V. Carnago, David Cutler, Richard Fellrath, Charles Milne, Jerome Moore, Thomas Morris, and Clay Ottoni.

    The Committee discussed (a) recent action in Congress on the Bankruptcy Reform Act and other bankruptcy related bills; (b) recent legislation in Michigan of interest; (c) news on Michigan Liquor Control Commission issues; (d) the Bankruptcy Judges Tribute Dinner on June 3, 2003 being co-sponsored by the Committee; (e) the work on new rules relating to First Day Motions by the Advisory Committee to the Bankruptcy Judges of the Eastern District of Michigan; (f) amendments and the proposed amendment to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure; (g) a mission statement for the Committee; (h) the statues of the House Judicial and Civil Law Committees work on amending Michigan exemption statutes; and (i) the articles being prepared by members of the Committee. Leonora Baughman, David Cutler, Richard Fellrath and Tom Morris volunteered to review articles for the next issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal and provide constructive comments to the authors.

    The Committee decided it wants to discuss at its next meeting whether the Committee should examine the statutes and procedures in Michigan for executing on judgments and recommending changes. The next meeting is scheduled for July 16, 2003 at 6:00 p.m. at the offices of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, 32270 Telegraph Rd, Ste. 225, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.

March 6, 2003

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee met on January 22, 2003 at the Bingham Farms, Michigan law offices of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Attending the meeting were: Barbara Adams, Leonora Baughman, Judy Calton, David Cutler, Bob Dzialo, Dick Fellrath, David Kramer, Mike Lieb, Charles Milne, Thomas Morris, Leo Papp, John Simon and Craig Schoenherr.

    The Co-Chairs report included discussions of (i) the Business Law Section's mid-year meeting; (ii) recent changes to the United States Trustee's Fee guidelines; (iii) amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which took effect in December 2002, Bankruptcy Rule 9014(c) is based on comments and testimony on behalf of the Committee in 2001; (iv) the proposed amendment to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9014(a), which is based on comments and testimony on behalf of the Committee in 2001; (v) the budget of the Committee; (vi) the Bankruptcy Judges' Tribute Dinner being co-sponsored by the Committee, to be held on June 3, 2003; and (vii) the work of the Rules Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. With respect to the work of the Rules Subcommittee, Mike Leib expressed a need for a mechanism which would provide greater certainty and earlier scheduling of hearing dates. The attendees endorsed the concept of emergency relief on First Day Orders, in addition to interim and final relief.

    The Committee is interested in participating in a seminar on the changes to the Bankruptcy Code if a Bankruptcy Reform Act is passed in 2003 jointly with other bar groups, but did not want to participate in any other seminars in 2003.

    We asked the authors to get the articles to the co-chairs by April 1, 2003, so that volunteers from the Committee could provide a first edit and the author revise the articles before we submit them to Dan Kopka on April 30, 2003. The draft articles will be distributed to the volunteer editors at the April 2, 2003 meeting.

    The Committee tabled until the next meeting preparing a description of itself for the Section website.

    The next meeting is scheduled for April 2, 2003.

    Judy B. Calton

September 26, 2002

    No report.

May 18, 2002

    On April 29, 2002 the Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee, in conjunction with the In-House Counsel Committee of the Business Law Section and the Michigan Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association, presented a seminar on Representing A Corporation When Its Supplier as Customer Goes Into Bankruptcy. Over 90 attorneys attended, and 30 more paid for copies of the seminar materials. The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for June 19, 2002.

    Judy B. Calton, Judith Greenstone Miller

March 7, 2002

    The Debtor/Creditors' Rights Committee is currently working on the following activities:

    1. Assisting in the planning of a Tribute Dinner with the Bankruptcy Committee of the Federal Bar Association of the Eastern District of Michigan for the departing bankruptcy judges. No date for the event has been set yet.

    2. Planning a seminar for April 29, 2002 at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency Hotel in connection with the In-House Counsel Committee and ACCA. The seminar will cover a number of bankruptcy and creditors rights topics (first day orders, executory contracts, postpetition credit, reclamation, etc) and will focus on what to do when a supplier or customer files for bankruptcy.

    3. Members of the Committee continue to participate on the Advisory Committee to the House Civil Laws and Judiciary Committee on amending state exemptions. They are also seeking to monitor proposed legislative that has been submitted in connection with protection of pension and benefit plans.

    4. The Committee continues to monitor the pending bankruptcy legislation.

    The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for May 1, 2002 at the offices of Raymond & Prokop, P.C.

    Respectfully submitted; Judy B. Calton, Judith Greenstone Miller

December 8, 2001

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee did not meet in the last quarter. The Committee's next meeting is scheduled for January 23, 2002.

    The Committee has tabled its initiative to amend the Michigan Exemption Statutes because the Civil Law and Judiciary Subcommittee of the House Civil and Judiciary Committee is working on amending the Michigan Exemption Statutes. The Committee intends to monitor their work and, if appropriate, comment on it.

    Judy B. Calton

September 12, 2001

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan met on August 1, 2001 at the Bingham Farms, Michigan law offices of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Attending were the co-chairs, Judy Calton and Judy Greenstone Miller, Michael Buckles, Chris Caldwell, Daniel J. Feko, Richard Fellrath, Michael F. Goethals, Seth L. Goldner, Leo Papp, Stuart Rice and Barbara Rom.

    The minutes of the April 4, 2001 meeting were adopted. The Report of the co-chairs included information about the Business Law Section's list serv, the Section's new policy on its Committees' taking priorities, and the Section's new by-laws. Judy Miller reported on general activities regarding the Bankruptcy Reform Act.

    The Committee approved sponsorship or co-sponsorship with other bar groups of additional seminars on Revised Article 9. Judy Miller agreed to undertake responsibility for contacting speakers and obtaining materials to use.

    Because the Section may be changing how it assigns responsibility for issues of the Michigan Business Law Journal, the Committee tabled discussion on this matter until its next meeting.

    Judy Calton reported that a change to the limited liability statute in Michigan may be under consideration or passed which would have the result of making limited liability company interests, person or property that could be held as tenants by the entities. Subsequent to the meeting, Judy Miller advised Judy Calton that legislation, while being considered on this issue, has not yet been proposed. We will continue to monitor this issue.

    Judy Calton reported on Representative Alexander Lipsey's formation of an Advisory Committee to the Michigan House of Representatives Civil Law and Judiciary Committee on amendments to Michigan's exemption statutes. In view of the formation of the Advisory Committee, the Committee decided to table its initiative to amend Michigan's exemption statutes. The Committee also thought it important to suggest to the Advisory Committee their recommendations prior to their finalization and submittal.

    The Committee discussed other potential future activities. The next meeting of the Committee was scheduled for January 23, 2002 at the Bingham Farms offices of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.

    Judy B. Calton

May 19, 2001

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee continues to work on its initiative to amend Michigan's exemption statutes. The revised proposal of the personal property working group was discussed at the April 4, 2001 meeting of the Committee. Because both the Senate and the House have approved bankruptcy reform legislation, it is expected that a bankruptcy bill conference committee will be convened and the legislation enacted shortly. Because the Committee expects the federal legislation to impact state exemption law and influence the amendments, the Committee voted to table work on the initiative until the earlier of enactment of the Federal legislation or four months. The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for August 1, 2001.

    The decision of the Committee chairs to proceed with the initiative despite opposition to it by certain members continues to generate controversy. We have had interest from members of the bar wanting to join our Committee and become active. We encourage additional participation.

    Judy Calton and Thomas Radom, on behalf of the Committee, attended the April meeting of the Advisory Committee of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District, where the primary issue addressed was how the Bankruptcy Court will handle the caseload during the vacancy on the bench. Judy Calton drafted an explanation of those procedures for the Committee's membership.

    The Committee, working jointly with other bar groups, intends to sponsor local seminars on the bankruptcy reform legislation shortly after its enactment. Judy Greenstone Miller, co-chair of the Committee, is a nationally recognized expert on the legislation and will be teaching seminars on behalf of ICLE and the Commercial Law League, as well as the jointly sponsored local seminars. The Committee is also working on three one-to-two hour seminars on revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to be presented at the federal courthouse.

    Judy B. Calton

    Judith Greenstone Miller

March 1, 2001

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan met on January 17, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. at the law offices of Raymond & Prokop, LLC.

    The meeting was attended in person by Rick Berg, Irving Boignon, Michael Buckles, Judy Calton, Jim Cortez, Richard Fellrath, Michael F. Goethals, Seth L. Goldner, Carrie Hess, Peter Jackson, Judy Miller, Clay Ottani, Leo Papp, Thomas Radom, Barbara Rom, Craig Schoenherr, Sr., Troy Scott, and Kevin Summers.

    The minutes of the September 27, 2000 meeting were adapted after changing the second sentence of the sixth paragraph to state (with the added language underlined):

    A motion was made by Mr. Buckles for the Committee to discontinue work on the Initiative with respect to personal property exemptions, except for benefit plans and insurance.

    The Committee approved the comments on proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure prepared by Ms. Calton which were also prepared on behalf of the Advisory Committee of the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Judges and the Debtor/Creditor Committee of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar (attached) and for Ms. Calton to testify in person before the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure on January 26, 2001.

    For the Co-Chairs' report, Ms. Miller discussed Michigan's recent adoption of revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, to be effective July 1, 2001. An ICLE Seminar will be held on April 24, 2001 regarding revised Article 9. That will also be a subject of the Business Law Section's Mid-Year Meeting Seminar on May 18 and 19, 2001.

    The Co-Chairs reported that they had checked on the governance of the Committee with the Business Law Council. In summary the Co-Chairs are empowered to make most decisions for the Committee, except for decisions on proposals for or comments on legislation and rules. Such proposals or comments cannot be contrary to positions taken by the State Bar of Michigan and must be approved by vote on notice of the Committee. The exact noticing and voting methods can be determined on a case by case basis. The subject matter and wording of the proposals or comments may be determined by the co-chairs. The Co-Chairs have determined that the work on the Michigan Exemption Initiative will continue, including on amending the personal property exemptions, with the primary work to be done by the previously constituted working subcommittees. Members are invited to comment to the chairs of the working subcommittee on the Initiative proposals. Similarly, members interested in participating on the subcommittee should contact the chairs of the subcommittee.

    Peter Jackson, who had argued for the appellant before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Taunt v. Board of Trustees of General Retirement System of City of Detroit and Judy Miller, who had written the bill, spoke on that case and other issues regarding the exemptibility under the Bankruptcy Code of benefit plans.

    A lively discussion was held on the Initiative proposal of the working subcommittee for personal property prepared by Richard Fellrath and Clay Ottani. Members were invited to further discuss the proposal with Mr. Fellrath.

    The next meeting of the Committee was set for April 4, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. at the Bloomfield offices of Butzel, Long.

    Judy B. Calton

December 2, 2000

    The Committee has been working for more than a year on an initiative to amend Michigan's exemption statutes. The initiative is opposed by members of the Michigan Creditors' Rights Bar, a group of collection attorneys.

    Michael Buckles, active in the Michigan Creditors' Rights Bar, sent a purported Freedom of Information Act request to Judy Calton and Jeffrey Ammons, requesting a copy of the Committee's mailing list. After consultation with Mr. Ammons and the leadership of the State Bar, Ms. Calton responded that the Committee was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

    Over 25 persons attended the September 27, 2000 meeting of the Committee, many of whom had never previously attended a Committee meeting. Mr. Buckles moved to have the Committee discontinue work on the initiative with respect to personal property exemptions, which motion carried ten to eight. The Committee considered the draft proposed amendments to the benefit plans and insurance exemptions, and requested changes in the drafts, to be presented at the next meeting.

    At the September 27, 2000 meeting representatives of First American Title Insurance Co. made a presentation regarding its new Uniform Commercial Code personal property title and security interest insurance.

    The Committee co-sponsored, along with other bankruptcy organizations, a bankruptcy bench-bar party at Hockeytown on October 4, 2000.

    The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for January 17, 2001.

September 20, 2000

    The Debtor/Creditor Rights Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan met on September 27, 2000 at 6:00 p.m. at the law offices of Raymond & Prokop, LLC.

    The meeting was attended in person by those on the attached list. Kevin Sumners attended by telephone. The Minutes of the June 14, 2000 meeting of the Committee, after correction of a typographical error, were approved.

    Ms. Calton provided information from Judge Steven Rhodes on obtaining Eastern District of Michigan bankruptcy opinions by e-mail, on Michigan's new tax lien foreclosure law, changes in the Eastern District of Michigan bankruptcy court pro bono program and the Committee's co-sponsorship of a bankruptcy bar-bench cocktail party at Hockeytown on October 4, 2000.

    Prior to the meeting, Ms. Calton had received a Freedom of Information Act request for the Committee's mailing list from Mr. Buckles and responded that the Committee was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The Committee voted to provide a copy of the mailing list to Mr. Buckles and other members who request it, but not to nonmembers.

    Randy Scott, First American Title Insurance Co., assisted by his colleagues Katherine LaMont and Joe Ghilardi, made a presentation to the Committee on its new Uniform Commercial Code title and security interest insurance.

    The Committee proceeded to consider its Michigan Exemption Initiative. A motion was made by Mr. Buckles for the Committee to discontinue work on the Initiative with respect to personal property exemptions. After debate, the motion was approved with Troy Scott, Kevin Summers, Carrie Hess, Gary Nitzkin, Ashley Gorman, Seth Goldner, Paul Olivier, Lynn Olivier, Chris Caldwell and Mike Buckles voting for the motion and David Reese, Diane Tronolane, Paul Perry, Leslie Stein, Richard Fellrath, Tom Radom, Paul Steinberg and Judy Calton voting against. The Committee considered the draft proposed amendments to the benefit plans and insurance exemptions, and requested changes in the drafts, to be presented and discussed at the next meeting.

    Daniel Minkus, the new Chair of the Business Law Section, was introduced and spoke briefly to the meeting.

    Judy B. Calton

May 20, 2000

    The Creditor's Rights Committee ("Committee") has scheduled a meeting for March 7, 2000 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Birmingham Office of Butzel Long. In addition, we have provided opportunities for members of the committee outside the tri-county area to participate by conference call. At the current time, the Committee has spearheaded a study and analysis of the state exemptions applicable in Michigan. Tom Radom, from Butzel Long, is chairing this effort, and working groups are undertaking a review, analysis and recommendation of revisions to the current exemptions scheme. The Committee feels it is important that the exemptions be reviewed and revised to current standards. We welcome the input and participation of all members of the Section. After analysis and recommendations are completed, we hope to be able to make a presentation to the Business Counsel and to pursue undertaking legislative action to result in enactment of the proposals.

    The Bankruptcy Court Advisory Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ("Advisory Committee"), of which the Co-Chairs of the Committee are members, scheduled a meeting for February 14, 2000. The focus of the meeting was to discuss pro bono. Unfortunately, many members of the Advisory Committee were not going to be available on that day, and therefore, the Court has adjourned the meeting without date. We look forward to reporting to you on the pro bono efforts of the bankruptcy court.

    The Committee is again co-hosting a social event sponsored by the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Associations Debtor/Creditor Section, "Leap into Spring, " to be held on February 29, 2000 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Hockeytown Cafe in downtown Detroit. Other co-hosts of the event include the Bankruptcy Section of the Federal Bar Association Eastern District of Michigan Chapter, the Chapter 7 Trustee Panel for the Eastern District of Michigan, Debtor-Creditor/Bankruptcy Committee of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association Bankruptcy Committee. In addition, Conway MacKenzie & Dunleavy, a turnaround consulting crisis management firm, made a generous contribution to sponsor the event. The evening promises to be a wonderful gathering place for bankruptcy practitioners, judges, academicians and individuals involved in reorganization, restructuring and insolvency practices.

    The United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 833, the Bankruptcy Bill in May, 1999, by overwhelming majority. The Senate version of the bill, S.625, had been pending since that time. On February 2, 2000, the Senate by an overwhelming majority passed its version of the bankruptcy bill, S.625. Both versions of the bankruptcy bill will be sent to a conference committee, and from all accounts, it appears that during this term a bankruptcy bill will be passed, thereby resulting in significant changes to the bankruptcy Code. We anticipate, in conjunction with other bankruptcy organizations, to sponsor a seminar on the new bill once it passes.

    Respectfully submitted, Judith Greenstone Miller, Judy B. Calton

March 23, 2000

    The Creditors' Rights Committee met on March 7, 2000 at the Birmingham, Michigan offices of Butzel Long. Attending in person were Michael Buckles, Judy Calton, Richard Fellrath, David Lerner, Judith Greenstone Miller, Chuck Milne, Leo Papp and Barbara Rom. Participating by conference call was Kevin Summers.

    Judy Miller, who is active in legislative matters for the Commercial Law League of America and the American Bankruptcy Institute, reported on the status of the Bankruptcy Reform Act.

    The Committee agreed that, in view of the availability of the Michigan State Bar e-Journal, which distributes by e-mail on a daily basis summaries and full text of Michigan state and federal court opinions, there is no longer a need for its Newsletter or to post slip opinions on the Business Law Section's website. Nevertheless, if a case or other matter is particularly noteworthy, it and a synopsis should be forwarded to either Judy Miller or Judy Calton for posting on the Business Law Section website.

    Michael Buckles, who is a founder of the Michigan Creditors' Bar Association, spoke about the proposed amendment to the Michigan Judgment Lien Act.

    The Committee then discussed its initiative to amend the Michigan exemption statutes. Richard Fellrath suggested that personal property exemptions should be based on value up to a certain cap instead of listing certain categories of property which are exempt regardless of value. He also suggested repealing M.C.L. 557.151, which provides for ownership by the entireties of certain financial investments. Judy Calton provided a report on the various Michigan statutes exempting pensions, annuities insurance and other benefit plans. She suggested, among other changes, that all public employees in Michigan should have identical protection for their pensions and other benefit plans, that Spradlin should be legislatively overruled, and the insurance exemptions made gender neutral, among other changes. Michael Buckles in general opposed increasing the value of exemptions.

    Tom Radom will present the report of the real estate working group and there will be further discussion as to the initiative at the next meeting.

    The next meeting will be on May 9, 2000 at 6:00 p.m. at the Birmingham, Michigan offices of Butzel Long.

December 4, 1999

    The Creditors' Right Committee met on November 9, 1999 at the Birmingham, Michigan offices of Clark Hill. Attending in person were Judith Greenstone Miller, Judy Calton, Thomas Radom, Leo Papp, Daniel Weiner, Clay Ottani, Paul Steinberg, Charles Schnieder, Charles Milne, and Richard Fellrath. Participating by conference call were Joseph McGill and Robert Wright.

    For the co-chairs' report, there was a discussion of prior activities of the Committee and the Business Law Counsel. The Committee will next be responsible for an issue of the Michigan Business Law Journal in March 2002.

    Judy Miller reported on the status of S.625 in the Senate and some of the features of the legislation which would apply to business bankruptcies. She also reported on other proposed and pending federal bankruptcy legislation.

    Tom Radom spoke about the Committee's initiative for amendments to the State Exemption Laws. He presented a compilation of the statutes and background information and an outline of proposed amendments to the state property exemptions. A discussion was held as to the philosophy of the Committee with respect to the amendments, and whether we should seek modifications and updates from the current formats or approach the exemptions in a new format. The Committee wants the exemptions to be fair to individuals and provide them with fresh start protection, but not encourage bankruptcies. It was decided that we would follow the approach of modifications to the current format, which we believed more likely to succeed in passage of the amendments.

    Tom Radom will continue to spearhead this project. Working groups were established for the different areas of exemptions as follows:

    (1) Homestead Tom Radom Paul Steinberg Chuck Milne Dan Weiner

    (2) Personal Property/Tools of Trade Dick Fellrath Clay Ottani

    (3) Employee Benefit Plans/Insurance Annuities Judy Calton Charles Schneider

    A mailing will be made to the Committee membership reporting on the establishment of the working groups and seeking additional volunteers to join the groups. The goal is for the working groups to present outlines of what they recommend for amendments at the next meeting, scheduled for March 7, 2000. Judy Calton was also going to ask the Agriculture Committee of the Business Law Section and the ERISA Committee whether any of its members wanted to participate on the issues of interest to their committees.

    A discussion was held on whether to continue the newsletter or possibly instead collect unpublished opinions and post them on the Business Law Counsel's web site. Judy Calton was going to find out the interest and capabilities of the Business Law Section in the use of its web site, and if that was promising, talk to the Bankruptcy Judges about their willingness to provide the Committee with the opinions.

    Judy Miller advised the Committee about a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari in a bankruptcy case involving standing to seek a surcharge by a creditor in Hartford Ins. Co. v. Magna Bank (In re Hen House) from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The Committee will again act as a co-sponsor of the winter social event to be held in late February with the other bankruptcy groups as it has in the past. Once the brochures are available, they will be mailed to our membership. The Committee will not have any responsibility or costs for this event (other than mailing costs).

    The next meeting was scheduled for March 7, 2000 at 6:00 p.m. at the Birmingham, Michigan offices of Butzel Long.

    Judy B. Calton Co-Chair

     

 

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