Hon. Steven W. Rhodes Consumer Bankruptcy Conference 2018

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Hon. Steven W. Rhodes Consumer Bankruptcy Conference 2018

November 12, 2018 Somerset Inn, Troy, MI

ABI and the Consumer Bankruptcy Association of the Eastern District of Michigan welcome you back to the Detroit area for the 2018 Hon. Steven W. Rhodes Consumer Bankruptcy Conference. This one-day program tackles current issues such as bias, student loans and marijuana, while also offering skills-based sessions on appeals and financial literacy. The annual Case Law Update panel is always a must-attend session, featuring Judge Boyd and Tom DeCarlo. Sign up today for this popular program for all Michigan-area consumer bankruptcy practitioners.

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Event Information 265704

Monday, November 12

7:30-8:30 a.m.

Continental Breakfast and Registration

8:30-8:45 a.m.

Veterans Day Tribute and Welcome

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

8:45-10:15 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session

Race and Bankruptcy

The panelists will lead a discussion about the relationship between race and bankruptcy, including decisions on whether to file, under what chapter to file, and the impact of race on professionals and other actors in the bankruptcy system. This session will also address the research about biases and perceptions regarding race and bankruptcy and what can be done about them.

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Richardo I. Kilpatrick

Kilpatrick & Associates, P.C.; Auburn Hills, Mich

Prof. Robert M. Lawless

University of Illinois College of Law; Champaign, Ill.

10:15-10:30 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Student Loans: An Overwhelming Problem in Need of Some Solutions

Repayment of student loans is a serious problem for many individuals. This session will focus on both nonbankruptcy and bankruptcy ways of dealing with student loans. What nonbankruptcy options exist to deal with student loans? What are income-based repayment programs, and do they work? What other nonbankruptcy creative strategies can be employed? What does it take to discharge a student loan under § 523(a)(8)? Is the Brunner test the only option? What other legal standards may apply? What are the options in chapter 13? Do student loan claims count for purposes of eligibility debt limits? Can student loans be separately classified and paid differently than other unsecured claims? Should a chapter 13 debtor file a § 523 complaint and, if so, when? What are some possible legislative solutions to student loan problems?

Hon. Mark A. Randon

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Melissa A. Caouette

Office of Standing Chapter 13 Trustee; Flint, Mich.

Paula A. Hall

Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco PLLC ; Birmingham, Mich.

Caralyce M. Lassner

George E. Jacobs and Associates; Flint, Mich.

Understanding Financial Information for Small Businesses

When a client comes to you with a small business in trouble, do you fully understand the financial information they are sharing with you so that you can properly advise them? This session will discuss how to read and understand that financial information, covering such issues as the difference between a financial statement and a balance sheet, the difference between a financial statement that is audited and one that is reviewed or compiled by management, profit-and-loss statements and how does they differ from cash-flow statement, and the levels and types of financial information your client needs to assemble, and you need to understand, for your client to be successful in reorganizing.

Hon. Marci B. McIvor

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Ethan D. Dunn

Maxwell Dunn, PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Kim K. Hillary

Schafer & Weiner PLLC; Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Barry P. Lefkowitz

BL Consultants; Birmingham, Mich.

Appealing Bankruptcy Decisions

This session will consider what an attorney can do after receiving an adverse decision from the bankruptcy court, including strategic considerations, as well as the nuts-and-bolts procedures in deciding whether to appeal and in prosecuting an appeal. What decisions are appealable as final orders? What decisions require permission to appeal on an interlocutory basis? What are the applicable Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure governing appeals, and what requirements do they impose? What is the standard of review for an appeal of an incorrect legal decision? What is the standard of review for an appeal of an incorrect factual finding? How and when can you obtain a stay of an adverse ruling pending the appeal? How do doctrines of jurisdiction, standing, mootness and ripeness apply to an appeal? What types of issues most frequently get appealed, and what rates of success are there?

Hon. Daniel S. Opperman

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Bay City

Elizabeth M. Abood-Carroll

Orlans PC; Troy, Mich.

Brian A. Rookard

Gudeman & Associates, PC; Royal Oak, Mich.

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Networking Luncheon

12:50-2:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Credit Reporting and Bankruptcy

A frequently asked question by an individual considering bankruptcy is, “What will it mean on my credit report?” This session is designed to help answer that question and other questions regarding credit reporting. What is a credit report? Who provides the information, and what gets reported? What are the range of scores, and what do they mean? How does chapter 7 impact an individual’s credit score going forward? How does chapter 13 impact it? What can an individual do if something untrue is reported? What can you do as the individual’s attorney to help out? What are a creditor’s responsibilities? Does it make any difference if some debts are reaffirmed? What is the effect of not reaffirming a mortgage or automobile purchase? How long does information stay reported? How does a bankruptcy by one spouse affect the credit of the nonfiling spouse?

Hon. Maria L. Oxholm

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Ian B. Lyngklip

Lyngklip & Associates Consumer Law Center, PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Chadd O’Brien

ELGA Credit Union; Burton, Mich.

Amy Parten

GreenPath Financial Wellness; Farmington Hills, Mich.

East Meets West: Understanding Differences in Local Practice

The Constitution authorizes Congress to enact uniform bankruptcy laws, but attorneys know that many times the handling of consumer bankruptcy cases can seem just like real estate: location, location, location! This session will compare local consumer bankruptcy rules and procedures in the Eastern District of Michigan with those of the Western District of Michigan. It will cover the things that consumer bankruptcy attorneys who practice on both sides of the state need to know about the differences in the specific procedures of each of those courts regarding the preparation and filing of motions, conducting evidentiary hearings, chapter 13 plans and confirmation hearings, § 341 meetings, reaffirmation agreements, use of special-appearance attorneys, ethical implications of running a multidistrict practice, management of adversary proceedings, and the scheduling and handling of small chapter 11 cases.

Hon. John T. Gregg

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Mich.); Grand Rapids

Barbara P. Foley

Office of Standing Chapter 13 Trustee; Kalamazoo, Mich.

Michael P. Hogan

Schneiderman & Sherman P.C.; Farmington Hills, Mich.

Michelle L. Marrs

Marrs & Terry, PLLC; Ann Arbor, Mich.

Prosecuting and Defending § 523 Adversary Proceedings

This session will discuss both prosecuting and defending § 523 exceptions to discharge adversary proceedings. Rather than cover the substantive law governing what is dischargeable, this session will concentrate on strategies for prosecuting and defending these adversary proceedings, including what must be pled to state a claim for relief, strategies for filing motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment, understanding when collateral estoppel or res judicata from prior litigation has an effect, strategies regarding settlement and mediation, advising clients on options for settlement vs. litigation, and discovery issues and trial strategies.

Hon. Thomas J. Tucker

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Kimberly R. Clayson

Clayson, Schneider & Miller, PC; Detroit

Anthony J. Kochis

Wolfson Bolton PLLC; Troy, Mich.

Wendy Turner Lewis

Chapter 7 Trustee (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

2:00-2:10 p.m.


2:10-3:20 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Marijuana and Bankruptcy

With the legalization of marijuana in many states, there are now large numbers of individuals and businesses that derive their income from growing and selling marijuana and from other business activities related to marijuana. This session addresses the issues that emerge when individuals and businesses in this industry encounter financial problems. What are the sources of governing law (state/federal)? Is bankruptcy an option? How are marijuana-related income and assets treated? What are a bankruptcy trustee’s rights and responsibilities in dealing with a marijuana-related business? What ethical issues arise for attorneys representing individuals and entities in this industry? How does the U.S. Trustee’s Office address these issues in light of the conflict between federal law and some states’ laws? What is the direction of the developing body of bankruptcy case law regarding this industry?

Chief Judge Scott W. Dales

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Mich.); Grand Rapids

A. Todd Almassian

Keller & Almassian, PLC; Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hon. Keith M. Lundin (ret.)

Bankruptcy Workshop; Pittsburgh

Samuel D. Sweet

Samuel D. Sweet PLC; Ortonville, Mich.

Nonbankruptcy Alternatives for Dealing with Consumer Debt

Are there nonbankruptcy alternatives that might better suit your client to deal with their financial difficulties apart from bankruptcy? This session will discuss the possible alternatives and their pros and cons, such as the effectiveness of negotiating with creditors individually, offers in compromise in dealing with the IRS and other governmental units, trial loan modifications and permanent loan modifications on mortgages, tax ramifications if a creditor agrees to discharge the debtor from liability, information that must be disclosed when negotiating a compromise with creditors outside of a judicial proceeding, and how debtors’ attorneys get paid for providing nonbankruptcy alternatives for debtors dealing with their creditors.

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Alane A. Becket

Becket & Lee LLP; Malvern, Pa.

Erika D. Hart

The Taunt Law Firm; Birmingham, Mich.

Garik Osipyants

Thav Gross PC; Bingham Farms, Mich.

Michael S. Szuba

Szuba & Associates PLLC; Plymouth, MI

Nobody Understands Me: How the Hybrid Role of a Chapter 13 Trustee Affects Debtors and Creditors

Chapter 13 trustees are unique. Unlike chapter 7 trustees, they do not take possession of a debtor’s assets. Yet the Bankruptcy Code imposes some responsibilities on them with respect to property of the estate. It also imposes responsibilities on them to assist a debtor. This session will focus on understanding the hybrid nature of the trustee’s role in chapter 13 cases, and how it impacts issues and strategies for debtors and creditors in chapter 13. Can a chapter 13 trustee sell property under § 363? Can a chapter 13 trustee recover preferences under § 547 or fraudulent conveyances under § 548? What are the trustee’s duties regarding the continuing prosecution of litigation brought by a debtor pre-bankruptcy to recover from a third party? What are the chapter 13 trustee’s duties regarding filing proofs of claim on behalf of creditors? What must a chapter 13 trustee do to assist a debtor?

Hon. John P. Gustafson

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (N.D. Ohio); Toledo

Carl L. Bekofske

Office of Standing Chapter 13 Trustee; Flint, Mich.

David Wm. Ruskin

Office of the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee; Southfield, Mich.

Charles J. Schneider

Charles J. Schneider, PC; Livonia, Mich.

3:20-3:35 p.m.

Refreshment Break

3:35-5:15 p.m.

Closing Plenary Session

Annual Case Law Update

The most popular session each year, this annual favorite will cover all recent bankruptcy law decisions and current consumer bankruptcy law issues. This session is a must-attend for professionals to stay current on consumer bankruptcy law issues.

Hon. James W. Boyd

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Mich.); Grand Rapids

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Laura J. Genovich

Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC; Grand Rapids, Mich.

5:15-6:15 p.m.

Networking Reception



Judicial Chairs

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Hon. Mark A. Randon, Co-Chair

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (E.D. Mich.); Detroit

Conference Chair

Michael P. Hogan

Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C.; Farmington Hills, Mich.

Planning Committee

Melissa A. Caouette

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Flint, Mich.

Kimberly R. Clayson

Clayson, Schneider & Miller, PC; Detroit

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Rozanne M. Giunta

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP; Midland, Mich.

Maria Gotsis

Office of Krispen S. Carroll, Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Erika D. Hart

Taunt Law Firm; Birmingham, Mich.

Caralyce M. Lassner

Bankruptcy Law Office; Flint, Mich.

Garik Osipyants

Thav Gross PC; Bingham Farms, Mich.

Craig B. Rule

Orlans PC; Troy, Mich.

Charles J. Schneider

Charles J. Schneider PC; Livonia, Mich.

Craig S. Schoenherr, Sr.

O’Reilly Rancilio P.C.; Sterling Heights, Mich.

Michael A. Stevenson

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.






Hammerschmidt, Stickradt & AssociatesMueller & Company, PCORLANS PC Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C. Stevenson & Bullock PLCThe Taunt Law FirmTrusteSolutionsWilmington TrustWolfson Bolton PLLC


Cricket Debt Counseling
National Automotive Brokerage Services



For sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities, please contact Bethany Spencer at [email protected].

Conference Information


The elegant Somerset Inn, our host hotel, is located in the heart of Troy’s business and financial district in close proximity to The Palace at Auburn Hills, Ford Field, Comerica Park, a golf course, and several museums and theaters. ABI has reserved a block of rooms at the special conference rates of $109 for a Tower Room and $134 for an Executive Room. To secure these special rates, reservations must be made by October 25, 2018. Reservations are limited, and rooms are held on a first-come, first-served basis. ABI cannot guarantee anyone a room after the October 25 cutoff or after the specially rated ABI block has been filled.


Continuing Education Credit

Up to 7 hours of general CLE credit are pending in states calculating CLE on a 60-minute hour, including 1.5 hours of ethics and professionalism, and up to 8.5 hours of general CLE credit, including 1.5 hours of ethics and professionalism, are pending in 50-minute-hour states. Credit hours granted are subject to approval from each state. California MCLE: ABI certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE credit in the amount of 7 hours of general CLE credit, including 1.5 hours of ethics and professionalism. NY MCLE: This transitional and non-transitional program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the CLE Board for a maximum of 8.5 credit hours, of which 1.5 hours of credit can be applied toward the ethics professionalism requirement. 8.5 hours of CPE credit, including 1.5 hours of ethics, are also available.


* ABI offers intermediate-level courses, which assume that attendees will have at least some detailed knowledge of insolvency matters (pursuant to the “Statement on Standards for CPE Programs” established by AICPA and NASBA). ABI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE sponsors. State boards of accountancy have the final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. ABI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website, www.nasbaregistry.org.


Financial Hardship Statement

ABI acknowledges that in some instances there will be persons who need to attend an educational seminar for CLE credit who are not able to pay full registration fees. ABI will handle such instances on a case-by-case basis and will work with the individual on alternative solutions. Financial assistance is available for this program; all applications for financial assistance must be submitted by September 21, 2018. For persons who cannot meet the full registration rate, ABI will offer a reduced rate based on what the individual can reasonably afford to cover the cost of meals and materials. For persons unable to pay a reduced rate, ABI may allow the individual to work at the registration area for a few hours during attendee check-in, or assist in conference set-up. ABI also has reduced rates for government employees, professors, law clerks and students. For more information or to request an application, please contact the American Bankruptcy Institute at (703) 739-0800 or send an email to [email protected].

Cancellation Policy

All fees, except a $75 handling fee, will be refunded if written notice of cancellation is received by October 22, 2018. No refunds will be granted after October 22, but substitutions will be allowed. After October 22, upon written request, a coupon for 20% off the registration fee (not including optional events) will be issued, which can be used (by the canceling registrant only) for any ABI educational program up to one year after this conference, or for this same conference next year.

2018 Conference Rates

Registration Rates Advance
(by 8/31/18)
(after 8/31/18)

ABI or CBA Member
ABI Gov’t./Academic/Nonprofit Member
Join and Save*
New Govt./Academic/Nonprofit ABI Member* $345 $390

Exhibitor Rates

ABI Member Exhibitor**
New ABI Member Exhibitor***

* Includes a one-year ABI membership for first-time members — a $325 value! Expired members should select the member rate and add in the membership renewal fee. You must be an ABI or CBA member to attend the conference.

** Includes one 6’ table and full registration for one booth representative.

*** Includes one 6’ table and full registration for one booth representative AND a one-year ABI membership (a $325 value).