BAPCPA and FDCPA: A Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer's "Bramble Bush"

The famed early English jurist Henry De Bracton (1210-1268), cited in Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 764 nn.3-4 (1999) as the "earliest source for the common law immunity of the King," is also the first to have said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Bracton's well-worn phrase springs to mind when perusing a new treatise, Attorney Liability in Bankruptcy, co-edited (and co-authored in significant part) by Corrine Cooper and Catherine Vance. Their basic conclusion: there are more hidden traps in BAPCPA than in an Indiana Jones movie. A few of the traps reviewed in the treatise are also previewed here (§ 707(b)(4)), here (§ 521), and here ("9 Traps and One Slap").

Based on this recent decision from the 4th Circuit, it's looking like statutes whose acronyms end with the letters "CPA" portend dark days for attorneys dealing with consumer debtors. As recently explained at length in this blog post by Holland & Knight's Rob Glenn, the Fourth Circuit has recently held (in yet another split decision) that lawyers handling mortgage foreclosures are "debt collectors" who must comply with the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Wilson v. Draper & Goldberg, 2006 WL 861429 (4th Cir., 4/5/06).

Best of luck to all practicing in BAPCPA's and FDCPA's "bramble bush."

© Steve Jakubowski 2006