ANALYSIS: MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION UNDER SCRUTINY IN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET TALKS
As President Obama and Congress try to work out a deal to reduce the budget deficit, scrutiny of the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners will likely be part of the discussion, the New York Times DealBook blog reported today. Limits on a broad array of deductions could emerge in any budget deal. It is likely that caps would target high-income households, and would diminish or end the mortgage tax break for many of those taxpayers. Such a move would be fiercely opposed by the real estate industry, which has played a crucial role in defending the tax break, even as other countries with high homeownership have phased it out. Read more.
SECOND CIRCUIT HEARS FHFA'S MBS LITIGATION
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit this week will hear arguments over whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will be allowed to follow through with lawsuits filed against 16 banks alleged to have sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac $200 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities that did not live up to representations made by the banks, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The banks argue that FHFA filed the suits too late. FHFA claims that the suits were timely brought. The disagreement largely turns on whether a statute of limitations provision within the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created FHFA and vested within it the power to bring suits to recover losses stemming from the mortgage crisis, displaces the statutes of repose in the various securities laws. Read more. (Subscription required.)
EDITORIAL: ELIZABETH WARREN SHOULD GET SEAT ON SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE
Some bankers, their lobbyists and their Republican allies on the Senate Banking Committee are reportedly angling to keep Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren off the Committee, according to a New York Times editorial on Friday. Republicans have opposed Ms. Warren before, notably in their successful fight in 2011 to prevent her from becoming the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that was her brainchild and is arguably the most important part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who assigns freshman senators to the committees, should not let them get their way again, the editorial argues. As a bankruptcy expert, Harvard law professor and former chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with overseeing the bank bailouts, Warren would join the banking committee as the fight intensifies over the Volcker Rule, a provision of Dodd-Frank she has supported that would curb speculation by banks. Read more.
SCHAPIRO'S DEPARTURE COULD SLOW DODD-FRANK IMPLEMENTATION
Mary Schapiro's departure from the Securities and Exchange Commission will leave the agency's rulemakers evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, which could slow progress on many Dodd-Frank rules that the agency still has to write, National Journal reported today. Schapiro is stepping down from her post as SEC chairman on Dec. 14. President Obama plans to designate current commissioner Elisse Walter as chairman, but the five-member commission will be down to four: Walter and Luis Aguilar, who are both Democrats, and Troy Paredes and Daniel Gallagher, who are Republicans. Experts expect Obama to name a replacement for Schapiro as soon as early 2013, but any pick will need Senate confirmation, which could take months. That means it could be up to a year before the SEC is back up to full strength. Read more.
OPEN PUBLIC HEARING ON CHAPTER 11 REFORM AT ABI'S WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold a public hearing on Friday, Nov. 30, at 11:15 a.m. (MT) during the Winter Leadership Conference in Tucson, Ariz., at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. Members are encouraged to watch the hearing via a live webstream available at http://commission.abi.org. All materials are part of the Commission's record to be transmitted to Congress following the two-year investigation and report.
JUST RELEASED: BEST OF ABI 2012 FOR CONSUMER AND BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY
New in the ABI Bookstore is the latest in ABI's annual “Best of ABI” series for 2012. Drawn from the most incisive ABI Journal articles and the highest-rated conference sessions of 2012, these volumes gather the hottest topics in consumer and business bankruptcy into two must-have references that belong in every practitioner’s library. Best of ABI 2012: The Year in Consumer Bankruptcy, edited by ABI Resident Scholar Susan E. Hauser (North Carolina Central University School of Law; Durham, N.C.) and ABI Board Member and ABI Journal Executive Editor Alane A. Becket (Becket & Lee LLP; Malvern, Pa.), covers the latest on chapter 13, the foreclosure crisis, tax issues, student loans and much more.
The companion volume, Best of ABI 2012: The Year in Business Bankruptcy, edited by Peter S. Partee, Sr. (Hunton & Williams LLP; New York), includes the latest on such timely topics as intercreditor and confirmation issues, avoidance actions and executory contracts. New this year: Both volumes include summaries of relevant cases drawn from volo.abi.org, as well as commentary from the editors. Available for purchase separately or as a specially-priced bundle, the new Best of ABI books can be ordered today at bookstore.abi.org. (Please log in first to obtain the discounted member price).
LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: RASO V. FAHEY (IN RE FAHEY; 1ST CIR.)
Summarized by Bodie Colwell of Bernstein Shur
Concluding that the debtor acted in a fiduciary capacity as an ERISA fiduciary, as well as a fiduciary of a technical trust under common law, the BAP reversed the order of the bankruptcy court and remanded for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
There are nearly 700 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.
NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: BANKRUPTCY COURT WARNS ON "WARN" ACT
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines a decision by Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn, who recently dismissed a putative class action complaint filed on behalf of former employees of MF Global that alleged that the chapter 11 trustee for MF Global Holdings Ltd. and certain of its subsidiaries and the SIPA trustee for MF Global Inc. failed to provide sufficient notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”) and the New York version of the WARN Act prior to terminating these employees. In its memorandum opinion and order, the bankruptcy court considered whether the SIPA trustee and chapter 11 trustee were "employers" for purposes of the WARN Act and the NY WARN Act, or "liquidating fiduciaries" who are excepted from the obligation to comply with the advance-notice requirements of these WARN statutes, in which case the actions of the trustees would be protected.
Be sure to check the site several times each day; any time a contributing blog posts a new story, a link to the story will appear on the top. If you have a blog that deals with bankruptcy, or know of a good blog that should be part of the Bankruptcy Exchange, please contact the ABI Web team.
ABI Quick Poll
Despite the "free and clear" language of Sect. 363(f), purchasers of assets in 363 sales may still be liable for injuries to unidentifiable future claimants. (In re Grumman Olson Indus, S.D.N.Y.).
Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.
LATEST BLOOMBERG LAW VIDEO: RESERVE FUND'S LAWYER: MY CLIENTS WERE "VICTIMS"
John Dellaportas, partner at Duane Morris LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about his successful representation of Bruce Bent Sr., Bruce Bent II and their investment advisory firm Reserve Management Co. and Resrv Partners Inc. in a securities fraud lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Click here to watch.
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