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Event Information 240875

Friday, November 11

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

Continental Breakfast and Registration

8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m.

Veterans Day Tribute and Welcome

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

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

8:45 a.m.-10:15 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session

Depositions in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases

This session will focus on depositions in consumer bankruptcy cases, such as lien strips, objections to exemptions, good-faith challenges to chapter 13 plans, and dischargeability issues in consumer bankruptcy cases. All aspects of a deposition will be considered. How does one prepare to take someone’s deposition? How do you prepare your client to be deposed? How do you conduct yourself when representing the deponent? What can you object to? Can the deposition be stopped? How does one resolve objections and disputes during the deposition? What uses can be made of the deposition transcript at trial? Consistent with past years’ litigation sessions, this year’s panel will conduct demonstrations of depositions in real-world consumer bankruptcy settings.

Scott A. Wolfson, Moderator

Wolfson Bolton PLLC; Troy, MI

Kelley Callard

Office of the U.S. Trustee; Detroit, MI

Hon. Scott W. Dales

U.S. Bankruptcy Court (W.D. Michigan); Grand Rapids, MI

Howard Sher

Jacob & Weingarten; Southfield, MI

10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

How Do I Get Paid for This Work?

This topic will focus on minefield issues for attorneys in chapter 13 who wish to get paid for their work pre- and post-confirmation. How does Harris v. Viegelahnapply? What happens if a chapter 13 case is converted after there is an outstanding fee award? What if a chapter 13 case is dismissed after an outstanding fee award? Can a debtor’s attorney preemptively contract to deal with Harris issues in the original retention agreement signed pre-petition? How does a debtor’s attorney get paid for work performed during the home stretch under a chapter 13 plan when there are no additional funds to be put into the plan to pay for those services? Can the attorney fees survive discharge? Does § 1328 apply to an attorney fee that was incurred for services rendered post-confirmation? What if the debtor’s attorney provides post-discharge services? How does Baker Botts affect a debtor’s attorney in dealing with fee objections?

Melissa A. Caouette, Moderator

Office of Carl L. Bekofske, Chapter 13 Trustee; Flint, MI

Kimberly Bedigian

Stevenson & Bullock, PLC; Southfield, MI

Michelle Lee Marrs

Marrs & Terry, PLLC; Ann Arbor, MI

Hon. Daniel S. Opperman

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan; Bay City, MI

When I Got Laid Off, I Applied for Unemployment Benefits: Was That a Mistake?

This session will focus on a very hot topic in consumer bankruptcy cases: debts owed by a debtor for overpayment of unemployment compensation. Learn about the automated process used by the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. What can be discharged under § 523(a)(2)(A) and (a)(7)? What are the nondischargeability differences between chapters 7 and 13? Are the Agency’s procedures for contesting a determination of overpayments sufficient to create a collateral estoppel argument in a later bankruptcy case? The panelists will educate the attendees both about the process used to obtain unemployment benefits and the potential issues that the payment of unemployment benefits can cause in a later bankruptcy case.

Andrew J. Gerdes, Moderator

Capital Bankruptcy; Lansing, MI

Steve Gray

Unemployment Insurance Clinic; Ann Arbor, MI

Hon. John T. Gregg

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan; Grand Rapids, MI

Shirley L. Horn

Law Office of Shirley Horn; Royal Oak, MI

Two Worlds Collide: Domestic Relations and Bankruptcy

Many individuals in bankruptcy are also involved in domestic-relations litigation. This panel will discuss the necessity for proper advice to potential clients about bankruptcy ramifications when filing for divorce and negotiating property settlements, and vice-versa. What obligations under a judgment of divorce or property settlement are nondischargeable? What claims under a judgment of divorce or property settlement can be exempted? What steps can be taken to enforce a judgment of divorce or property settlement after a bankruptcy petition is filed without violating the automatic stay? What are the exceptions to the automatic stay to allow domestic-support litigation to go forward? Which court has the jurisdiction to decide the applicability of the automatic stay?

Tracy M. Clark, Moderator

Steinberg Shapiro & Clark; Southfield, MI

Roberta W. Andrews

Firebaugh & Andrews PLLC; Westland, MI

Patrick Anthony Foley

Stevenson & Bullock, PLC; Southfield, MI

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

Networking Luncheon

12:50 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

What’s Wrong with This Claim?

Mortgage escrow accounts remain a mystery in many cases as debtors’ and creditors’ attorneys both struggle to understand the calculations set forth in them and the effect they have on chapter 13 cases. This panel will focus on escrow accounts, as well as new proof-of-claim forms and how they treat escrow accounts.

Heather McGivern, Moderator

Orlans Associates PC; Troy, MI

Barbara Foley

Chapter 13 Trustee-Kalamazoo; Kalamazoo, MI

Erin A. Kramer

Sweeney Law Offices PLLC; Franklin, MI

Stop This Tax Foreclosure

Payment of property taxes remains a recurring problem for many homeowners. Frequently, they do not understand what taxes are required to be paid, what interest rates are being charged, and what the consequences of nonpayment are. What is the process for property tax foreclosure? How long is the redemption period? Is there a point when a chapter 13 case can no longer be effective in dealing with property taxes? What if the taxing authority enters into repayment plans during or after the redemption period? What is the effect of these plans when an individual files for bankruptcy in the midst of a repayment program? What property interest, if any, does the debtor retain after foreclosure, or after redemption? How does a debtor address delinquent property taxes in his or her schedules?

Kevin Calhoun, Moderator

Calhoun & Di Ponio PLC; Southfield, MI

Nicholas D. Chambers

Charles J. Schneider PC; Livonia, MI

Diane L. Roark

Oakland County Government; Pontiac, MI

Ongoing Problems in Identifying What Constitutes a Debtor’s Projected Disposable Income

Litigation over what constitutes projected disposable income continues unabated post-BAPCPA. Is Social Security income included? Is a nonfiling spouse’s income included? What about the income of a significant other who is a nondebtor? Can a debtor make voluntary retirement contributions, or are they considered part of projected disposable income? This panel will address some current tricky issues in this area.

Christopher W. Jones, Moderator

Acclaim Legal Services; Warren, MI

Jill M. Gies

Office of the U.S. Trustee; Detroit, MI

Maria Gotsis

Krispen S. Carroll, Trustee; Detroit, MI

Hon. Mark A. Randon

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan; Detroit, MI

2:00 p.m.-2:10 p.m.


2:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions (3)

Causes of Action Owned by a Debtor

This panel will deal with the various issues that arise when a debtor owns a cause of action and the distinctions that occur depending on whether the debtor’s cause of action arose pre-petition, post-petition, post-confirmation, post-discharge or at any other time. How are pre-petition causes of action valued for purposes of confirming a plan? What happens if the debtor’s cause of action pays off during a chapter 13 case (who gets the money)? What obligations do debtors have to amend their schedules to deal with post-petition events that create causes of action? What are the debtor’s obligations to keep the bankruptcy court and the debtor’s creditors informed? Are there potential judicial estoppel arguments that can arise?

Garik Osipyants, Moderator

Thav Gross PC; Bingham Farms, MI

A. Todd Almassian

Keller & Almassian, PLC; Grand Rapids, MI

Krispen S. Carroll

Chapter 13 Trustee's Office; Detroit, MI

Hon. Thomas J. Tucker

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, (E.D. Michigan); Detroit

Current Hot Topics in Chapter 13

This session will deal with a mixture of the most topical and unsettled issues in chapter 13 cases coming before the courts. What happens to the case if a debtor becomes deceased or incapacitated? Can a debtor force a creditor to accept a surrender of property? The panel will also cover explaining to a debtor what tax obligations will remain post-discharge, dealing with model plan provisions, modifications and conflicting plan provisions, and understanding the new chapter 13 forms for creditors.

Lisa K. Mullen, Moderator

Office of the Chapter 13 Standing Trustee; Southfield, MI

Dario Ianni

The Carey Law Group, PC; Dearborn, MI

Tamara A. White

Holzman Corkery, PLLC; Southfield, MI

Current Hot Topics in Chapter 7

This session will deal with a mixture of the most topical and unsettled issues in chapter 7 cases coming before the courts. What does a debtor do if the court denies a reaffirmation agreement but the debtor needs the car? If no reaffirmation agreement is signed, can a case be later reopened to permit a reaffirmation agreement at a creditor’s request? What are debtors’ attorneys’ responsibilities in counseling debtors about potential preferences and fraudulent transfers that they made to family members and friends? What remedies does a chapter 7 trustee have when a debtor breaches his or her duties under § 521? Are student loans consumer or nonconsumer debts for purposes of means testing?

Michael A. Stevenson, Moderator

Stevenson & Bullock, PLC; Southfield, MI

Kelly M. Hagan

Hagan Law Offices PLC; Traverse City, MI

Erika D. Hart

The Taunt Law Firm; Birmingham, MI

3:20 p.m.-3:35 p.m.

Refreshment Break

3:35 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Closing Plenary Session

Annual Case Law Update

This must-attend annual favorite will cover all recent current bankruptcy law decisions and consumer bankruptcy law issues.

Hon. James W. Boyd

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

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Chapter 13 Trustee Office; Southfield, MI

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Networking Reception



Judicial Chair

Chief Judge Phillip J. Shefferly

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


Michael P. Hogan

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

Caralyce M. Lassner

Caralyce M. Lassner, JD, PC; Utica, Mich.

Planning Committee

Roberta W. Andrews

Firebaugh & Andrews PLLC; Westland, Mich.

Kevin Calhoun

Calhoun & Di Ponio PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Krispen S. Carroll

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Thomas D. DeCarlo

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee; Detroit

Karen E. Evangelista

Karen E. Evangelista, PC; Rochester, Mich.


Christopher W. Jones

Acclaim Legal Services, PLLC; Warren, Mich.

Craig B. Rule

Orlans Associates, P.C.; Troy, Mich.

Craig S. Schoenherr, Sr.

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

Brian J. Small

Thav Gross, P.C.; Bingham Farms, Mich.

Michael A. Stevenson

Stevenson & Bullock PLC; Southfield, Mich.

Tamara A. White

Holzman Corkery, PLLC; Southfield, Mich.


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 $119 for a Tower Room and $139 for an Executive Room. To secure these special rates, reservations must be made by October 27, 2016. Reservations are limited, and rooms are held on a first-come, first-served basis. ABI cannot guarantee anyone a room after the October 27 cutoff or after the specially rated ABI block has been filled.


Continuing Education Credit

Coming soon.


*ABI offers intermediate-level courses, which assume that attendees will have at least some detailed knowledge in 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. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417, or For more information regarding administrative policies such as complaint and refund, please contact the American Bankruptcy Institute at (703) 739-0800.


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 23, 2016. 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

Cancellation Policy

All fees, except a $75 handling fee, will be refunded if written notice of cancellation is received by October 21, 2016. No refunds will be granted after October 21, but substitutions will be allowed. After October 21, 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.



Cell-phone Charging Station

Steinberg Shapiro & Clark


Patron Sponsor

Orlans Associates PC

General Supporter

Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C.


For additional sponsorship opportunities, please contact Caitlin Colligan at

Special Thanks

We extend our special thanks to Thomson Reuters for the printed educational materials and Wilmington Trust for the tote bags.


Registration Rates Early
(postmarked by 9/30/16)
(after 9/30/16)

ABI or CBA Member
New ABI Member*
New Govt./Academic/Nonprofit ABI Member* $320 $390

Exhibitor Rates

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

*** Includes aone-year ABI membership for first-time members - a $295 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, full registration for one booth representative AND one-year ABI membership.