Legislative Journal Symposium
The 2005 Bankruptcy Amendments: "Where are We Now?"
Date of Symposium: February 4, 2010
The SETON HALL LEGISLATIVE JOURNAL hosted its annual Symposium on February 4, 2010, to discuss the implications of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. Federal bankruptcy judges, trustees, and practitioners from the legal, financial, and academic communities, participated in assessing and debating the evolving landscape of bankruptcy law. Specifically, the Symposium examined whether the purported goals of the amendments have been achieved over the last four years and addressed the current, pressing issues affecting debtors and creditors in light of the recent amendments. The Honorable Judith Wizmur, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, led a Business Bankruptcy Panel during which panelists Richard Trenk, Melinda Middlebrooks, Keith Sharfman, and Louis DeLucia discussed, among other topics, the addition of section 503(b)(9) to the Code, which provides administrative priority to pre-petition expenses and the effects this addition has had on debtors' ability to pay vendors. The Honorable Morris Stern, Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, moderated the Consumer Bankruptcy Panel featuring Isabel Balboa, John McDonnell, Virginia Fortunato, and Martha Hildebrandt. The panelists discussed the importance of Hamilton v. Lanning, Docket 08-998, currently pending before the United States Supreme Court, which will clarify whether an above-median income debtor must pay unsecured creditors the amount listed on Form 22C, thus removing judicial review and discretion. Although the audience's familiarity with Bankruptcy Law covered the entire spectrum—from first-year law students to litigants with decades of experience—the panelists seamlessly transitioned between complex topics, all while providing explanations and insights that enhanced the audience’s understanding of the material.