In articles discussing the tougher stance that federal judges are taking towards banks in mortgage debt collection matters, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal feature a case in which the law firm of Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., yet again took on Bank of America, N.A.
A case in which White Plains consumer bankruptcy lawyer Michael H. Schwartz obtained sanctions against Bank of America, N.A., due to its attempts to collect a discharged debt has caught the attention of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
In a September 28, 2013 article, “Why Judges Are Scowling at Banks,” New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson discusses the tougher “tone and tack that federal judges are taking in their rulings” in cases involving “dubious bank behavior” in mortgage debt matters.
As an example of the courts’ harder stance, the article cites the case won by the consumer bankruptcy law firm of Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., on September 17, 2013, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. (Case No. 10-23019).
The Wall Street Journal discussed the same case in an October 4 article, “Bankruptcy Judge Sends a Message to Bank of America.”
“I commend the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for focusing on this case and for reporting on the wider problem of banks trying to collect debts that have been lawfully discharged,” Mr. Schwartz said. “As these articles report, my case is an example of how banks today are being held accountable for their wrongful conduct.”
According to court documents for the case reported on by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Schwartz represented a couple who had two mortgage debts discharged through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A discharge prohibits a creditor from trying to collect on the discharged debt.
Even though Bank of America, N.A., received notice of the discharge, court documents show that the bank continued to send letters to the couple demanding payment of one of the discharged mortgage debts.
Even after Mr. Schwartz filed a motion, seeking to enforce the discharge injunction, the bank continued its conduct, according to the court documents.
In an Order entered on October 1, 2013, the Honorable Robert D. Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York found Bank of America, N.A., in contempt for violating the discharge injunction and ordered the bank to pay legal fees and expenses and to pay $10,000 each month to the couple until the bank corrected its actions.
In the Order, Judge Drain noted that, appearing from the demand letters and correspondence sent to the couple, Bank of America, N.A.’s attempts to collect the discharged debt were incorporated into the U.S. banking giant’s “business model.”
Mr. Schwartz told the Times that the case was not an isolated one. According to Mr. Schwartz, he has worked with several homeowners who have been pursued by banks over discharged debts. The article quotes him describing the problem as one that is “nationwide.”
“But the main takeaway from the articles should be this: Even when you are facing one of the ‘Big Four’ banks, you can fight back. You have rights that can and will be protected by my law firm if you take action.”
About Michael H. Schwartz, P.C.
Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., is a New York bankruptcy law firm that has been helping individuals and businesses in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam County and the Hudson Valley and New York City areas to overcome their debt-related legal issues for more than 30 years.
In December 2012, Mr. Schwartz was listed among “The New York Area’s Top-Rated Lawyers” in a special section in New York Magazine showcasing the state’s top legal talent.
The firm assists individuals with filing for liquidation under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or reorganization under Chapter 13, and it assists businesses with liquidation under Chapter 7 or reorganization under Chapter 11. Additionally, the firm handles foreclosure defense for individuals.
The firm’s office is located at One Water Street, White Plains, NY 10601. To learn more about Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., call (800) On My Side or use the firm’s online contact form at http://www.NYLegalHelp.com.