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News from the Western District of New York Bankruptcy Court Archives

Porcellio Reported as One of the Judgeship Candidates for Rochester Bankruptcy Court

Sharon M. Porcellio, Esq., a partner in the Rochester law firm Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy, is reported, by reliable sources, to be one of the finalist candidates for the Bankruptcy Judgship in Rochester, opening in 2012 upon the retirement of Judge Ninfo.  Ms. Porcellio has rarely appeared in bankruptcy court in the Western District of New York, but is a highly regarded litigator in the federal courts.  The website American Inns of Court reports that she will be receiving the 2011 Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit.

Rochester Bankruptcy Judicial Candidates Interviewed

According to information I have received from reliable sources, four candidates for the position of Bankruptcy Judge in Rochester were interviewed on Wednesday, July 20. Three of the candidates interviewed were: 1) Kathleen Schmitt, currently the Assistant United StaTes Trustee for the Rochester UST office 2) Michael Arnold, a chapter 7 trustee in private practice 3) Ken Gordon, also a chapter 7 trustee in private practice The identity of the fourth candidate interviewed is not known to me. One source reported it was a female candidate from outside the Rochester area.

Are Pension Loans Unsecured debts?

This is not the most fundamental issue in bankruptcy, but one of our local trustees continuously insists that pension loans that are being repaid by wage deductions should be listed on the second page of the Statistical Summary as a debt. I have not done so, but a recent discussion among my bankruptcy debtor colleagues has motivated me to research the issue.The Statistical Summary requires a debtor to list various non-dischargable debts, such as priority taxes, student loans, and support obligations. The purpose, I guess, is to compile the amount of debt that is being discharged in bankruptcies across the country. The last item on the list is "Obligations to pensions or profit-sharing, and other similar obligations (from schedule F)". Should pension loans being paid back through payroll deductions be listed here?My first reaction, and that of most of my colleagues is that, whatever these loans are, they are not unsecured, and should not be listed on Schedule F, the schedule of unsecured debts. As these loans would never be listed on schedule F, they would not be listed on the Summary.But exactly what are these loans, at least within the context of a bankruptcy case? Our court in Rochester is in the Second Circuit (New York, Vermont and Connecticut) so decisions from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals prevail here.

Syracuse Symphony to File Chapter 7

The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO) voted early this week to shut down and file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard (article April 5, author Melinda Johnson.) The company terminated its season - its 50th anniversary season - early, with twenty concerts remaining. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra announced that it will honor SSO tickets at selected concerts this Spring.

Government Shutdown Not Likely to Affect Bankruptcy Court for Two Weeks; UST Office Less Clear

With a likely federal government shutdown just hours away, it is still unclear of the potential impact on bankruptcy cases, the court clerk's office, the Office of the US Trustee, and the bankruptcy court. However, it would appear that the court itself will continue to operate as normal for at least two weeks.  The status of the UST is less clear.

Impact of Possible Federal Government Shutdown on Bankruptcy Courts

With a possible federal government shutdown deadline of Friday at midnight, bankruptcy practitioners are unsure of the possible effect on the operation of the bankruptcy system. The Bankruptcy Judge in Rochester, his staff, and the Court Clerk's office are, of course all federal employees, as is the staff of the United States Trustee's office. 

Basic Bankruptcy CLE Scheduled for April 8 - MCBA

The Bankruptcy Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association is sponsoring a Continuing Legal Education seminar on Chapter 7 basics, to be held at the Bar Center, One West Main Street (5th Floor) Rochester, on Friday April 8 from 12:15 to 3:00 PM.  This CLE is intended to provide an introductory-level review of basic Chapter 7 bankruptcy concepts.  The full name of the CLE suggests its intent: "Chapter 7 Basics: Dipping Your Toe in the Water."

Rochester Gas & Electric security deposit policy in bankruptcy

It has been a while since I have reviewed the policy of our local utility, Rochester Gas and Electric, as to what they do when someone who owes them money files bankruptcy. My friend, attorney Christopher K. Werner, Esq. of Boylan Brown took the trouble of calling Kim Mays of the Bankruptcy Department at RG&E, and I appreciate him sharing with me what he learned. Basically, if they are a creditor in the case, RG&E will assert a security deposit of two months of average billing, to be paid within 30 days of when they send out the security deposit request.

It's Official: Judge Ninfo to Retire

Rochester's bankruptcy judge, John C. Ninfo II has formally submitted his retirement papers to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, according to
The Daily Record
(February 14, 2011, article by Todd Etshman.) Judge Ninfo had publically stated his intention to retire effective January 2012 for some time, so the news is not surprising. However the submission of retirement papers starts the process of selecting a new bankruptcy judge.


Peter R. Scribner, Esq.
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Rochester, New York 14610

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