Experts Discuss Supreme Court's Recent Decisions in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Over the past month, the Supreme Court has issued three decisions in consumer bankruptcy cases. On June 3, ABI gathered experts involved in the cases to examine each decision and what effects the rulings will have on future consumer bankruptcy cases.



Tara Twomey is Of Counsel to the National Consumer Law Center and the Project Director for the National Consumer ​B​ankruptcy Rights Center. She is the Counsel of Record in the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys’ (NACBA) amicus brief in support of the Louis Bullard (the petitioner) in Bullard v. Hyde Park Savings Bank, and counsel for NACBA’s amicus brief in support of Charles E. Harris (the petitioner) in Harris v. Viegelahn.

Henry E. Hildebrand, III, has served as standing trustee for chapter 13 matters in the Middle District of Tennessee since 1982 and as standing chapter 12 trustee for that district since 1986. He also is Of Counsel to the Nashville law firm of Lassiter, Tidwell & Davis, and served as counsel for the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees’ amicus brief in support of Mary K. Viegelahn (the respondent) in Harris v. Viegelahn.

Peter C. Fessenden has been the standing chapter 13 trustee for the District of Maine since 1981. He also acts as trustee for all chapter 12 cases filed in Maine, and occasionally as a chapter 11 trustee.  He has been an adjunct professor teaching bankruptcy at the University of Maine School of Law, and was its Duberstein coach for many years.  He currently serves as the chair of the Grievance Commission for the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar.


Paul Hage is a partner in the Southfield, Mich. office of Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss. He frequently writes and speaks on bankruptcy issues, and currently serves as the Co-Chair for the ABI Unsecured Trade Creditors Committee and as a Coordinating Editor for the ABI Journal. Paul is a co-author of the recent ABI publication, Credit Bidding in Bankruptcy: A Guide for Lenders, Creditors, and Distressed Debt Investors.


Over the past month, the Supreme Court has issued decisions in four consumer bankruptcy cases dealing with debtor repayment plans, case conversion and mortgage lien-stripping:

  • Bullard v. Hyde Park Savings Bank: The Court ruled on May 4 that a bankruptcy court’s order denying confirmation of a debtor’s proposed repayment plan is not a final order that the debtor can immediately appeal.
  • Harris v. Viegelahn: The Court ruled on May 18 that a debtor who converts to chapter 7 is entitled to return of any post-petition wages not yet distributed by the chapter 13 trustee.
  • Bank of America v. Caulkett (and Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona): The Court ruled on June 1 that a debtor in a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding may not void a junior mortgage lien under § 506(d) when the debt owed on a senior mortgage lien exceeds the current value of the collateral if the creditor’s claim is both secured by a lien and allowed under § 502 of the Bankruptcy Code.


If you would like to speak with any of the experts that took part in the teleconference, please contact ABI Public Affairs Manager John Hartgen at [email protected] or 703-894-5935.

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ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 12,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit ABI World at For additional conference information, visit