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It’s Only Fair – Recent Case Reasserts Limits on Chapter 7 Trustee Commissions

When a debtor files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, all of the debtor’s property, subject to certain exemptions and exceptions, becomes property of the “bankruptcy estate”. A Chapter 7 Trustee is then appointed to collect the property of the estate, liquidate it, and distribute the proceeds among the debtor’s unsecured creditors. While a Trustee has…

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Lender Liability Under Maryland’s CLEC Statute

The most popular statute these days for the pro-consumer plaintiffs’ bar in Maryland is the state’s Credit Grantor Closed End Credit law, which is commonly referred to as CLEC. It is the statute of choice for those seeking to make a living by suing lenders who finance, either directly or by assignment, consumer purchases, such…

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Oop$!: Termination Statement Filed By Mistake Terminates Security Interest Under Uniform Commercial Code

For the first four decades in which the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) was in effect, a financing statement filed in public record to perfect a security interest in a debtor’s assets had to be signed by the debtor and a termination statement extinguishing the security interest had to be signed by the secured lender. However,…

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The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls

This article in the New York Times discussing the decline of Owings Mills Mall in suburban Baltimore County is the latest of many articles ruefully documenting the scores of shopping malls that have shuttered across the country over the last 10-15 years. The article identifies many of the forces contributing to the increase of so-called “dead malls,”…

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VOTING RIGHTS OF BANKRUPT LLC MEMBERS – ARE THEY DIVESTED OR NOT?

An operating agreement (“Operating Agreement”) is the formal agreement between members (individually, a “Member” and collectively, the “Members”) of a limited liability company (the “LLC”) governing the business of the LLC, as well as the financial and managerial rights and obligations of the Members of the LLC. Members of the LLC can choose to appoint…

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Rest Easy: Trustees Can Still Be Trusted

By: Harris W. Eisenstein and Joshua D. Bradley Trustees under Deeds of Trust have a unique relationship with both those who give (lenders) and those who get (obligors) loans. In Maryland, obligors are typically required to grant trustees an interest in real property to secure loans extended by lenders. Trustees must then manage this collateral…

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The Legacy of Maddox: Legal Ads Are Still a Potential Minefield

In 2012, the Court of Appeals in Maddox v. Cohn, 424 Md. 379, held that a foreclosure sale was defective when the legal advertisement provided that a ‘settlement document review fee,’ would be charged to the foreclosure purchaser. According to Maddox the inclusion of the fee in the legal advertisement, in the absence of specific…

A Client's Sophistication Matters, Particularly When the Recovery of Attorneys' Fees Are at Stake

Contracts ranging from simple residential leases to multimillion dollar purchase agreements routinely contain fee-shifting provisions. A standard provision provides that, in the event of a dispute relating to the contract, the non-prevailing party must reimburse the prevailing party for all attorneys’ fees expended. This concept makes perfect sense. Legal expenses were only incurred because the…

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