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Bankruptcy Law

Clark v. Rameker - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-18-14 featuring Jennifer Spreng
Jennifer Spreng July 18, 2014

On June 12, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Clark v. Rameker. The question in this case is whether an individual retirement account that a debtor has inherited is exempt from the debtor's bankruptcy estate under Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code, which exempts "retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation" under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that funds contained in an inherited IRA do not qualify as "retirement funds" within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Code exemption. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was affirmed.

To discuss the case, we have Jennifer Spreng, an associate professor of law at the Arizona Summit Law School. 

Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-19-14 featuring Thomas Plank
Thomas Plank June 19, 2014

Thomas PlankOn June 9, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison. This case presented two questions regarding the power of bankruptcy courts: One, does Article III of the Constitution permit bankruptcy courts to exercise the judicial power of the United States on the basis of litigant consent--and if so, can consent be implied by litigant conduct? The second question is whether a bankruptcy judge may submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law for de novo review by a district court in a “core” proceeding.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that while, under the reasoning of Stern v. Marshall, the Constitution does not permit a bankruptcy court to enter final judgment on a bankruptcy-related claim, the relevant statute nevertheless permits a bankruptcy court to issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be reviewed de novo by the district court. Because this determination sufficed to affirm the judgment of the Ninth Circuit in this particular case, the Supreme Court did not rule on the viability of litigant consent to jurisdiction.

To discuss the case, we have Thomas Plank, who is the Joel A. Katz Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Clark v. Rameker - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-1-14 featuring Jennifer Spreng
Jennifer Spreng April 01, 2014

Jennifer SprengOn March 24, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Clark v. Rameker. The question in this case is whether an individual retirement account that a debtor has inherited is exempt from the debtor's bankruptcy estate under Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code, which exempts "retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation" under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

To discuss the case, we have Jennifer Spreng, an associate professor of law at the Arizona Summit Law School.

Law v. Siegel - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 3-5-14 featuring Zvi Rosen
Zvi Rosen March 05, 2014

Zvi RosenOn March 4, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Law v. Siegel. The question presented in this case was whether the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in allowing a bankruptcy court to surcharge a debtor’s constitutionally protected homestead property to cover the bankruptcy trustee’s litigation expenses incurred as a result of the debtor’s misconduct.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Court held that the Bankruptcy Court exceeded the limits of its authority when it ordered that the $75,000 protected by the debtor’s homestead exemption be made available to pay the trustee’s attorney’s fees. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

To discuss the case, we have Zvi Rosen, who is an adjunct professor at the New York Law School.