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    Pro se administrative expenses?

    In the event that I must move forward with this complicated chapter 13 myself, against the advice of everyone here, I was wondering where do I claim legal expenses that I will incur? Schedule J or do I need to make an application for professional fees even thought I am not a professional? I've spent over $500 on pacer alone pre-petition and I know I can't include any pre-petition expenses.

    In addition, here in Georgia, they do not make it even remotely easy. I have to spend money to mail or drive my happy ass to the court to file most motions, even after Covid. I know I can file a motion and request to file everything electronically but that doesn't mean that it will be approved. And it makes me angry that pro se litigants do not actually have equal access to justice in the courts. The only things any plaintiff must have for equal access is a boat load of $$$. :/







    #2
    Unfortunately, you have some major misconceptions regarding what an admin claim is in a bankruptcy. Please read 11 U.S.C. 503(b).


    Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
    In the event that I must move forward with this complicated chapter 13 myself. . .
    Just don’t

    Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
    I was wondering where do I claim legal expenses that I will incur?
    What legal expenses if you are filing pro se?

    Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
    . . . do I need to make an application for professional fees even thought I am not a professional?
    You do not get to “charge” legal fees to the bankruptcy estate. Even if you did, who would be paying it. . . certainly not the bankruptcy court or trustee?

    Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
    I've spent over $500 on pacer alone pre-petition and I know I can't include any pre-petition expenses.
    Nor do you get “reimbursed” for post petition expenses.

    Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
    In addition, here in Georgia, they do not make it even remotely easy. . . I know I can file a motion and request to file everything electronically but that doesn't mean that it will be approved.
    That is one of the risks of not having an attorney.

    Bottom line here is that if your case has any complications, begin penny wise and pound foolish will result in a dismissal.

    Des.



    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by despritfreya View Post
      That is one of the risks of not having an attorney.

      Bottom line here is that if your case has any complications, begin penny wise and pound foolish will result in a dismissal.

      Des.
      Hi Des. Yes I may be confused after only slightly reading this case: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/...bk-60725-1.pdf

      If I pay Legal Shield or Legal Zoom and that is a monthly expense, then it would be on schedule J correct?

      I would like an attorney but the difficulty here is the case is so complex, NONE of the attorneys that I have contacted understand it or want to litigate it it on top of the fact that I am insolvent and can't afford to pay to pay an attorney. Now I know that legal fees can be paid in a chapter 13 including the additional expense of filing an objection to proof of claim and an adversarial proceeding however WTH am I supposed to do if it is rejected by attorneys because of the complexity? Roll over and let the bad guy win?

      Filing a chapter 13 myself is a risky gamble but there is no reward in life without taking risks. The very worst thing that can happen here is that I lose my house, get paid my exemption which is 43k and start over again. Will there be pain in parting with a home where I have lived for the last 16 years? Yes but there is always pain with loss. I have lost a son and father and I survived it so I will survive this loss of a material object that I can't take with me anyway when I die and guess what, we all are going to die. Because of my job, I can literally live anywhere in the world. I might use that money to buy a camper van and travel the US until I die. (shrug)

      You're one of the most intelligent and helpful people on this board and you are much loved and appreciated but I don't think any of us need to be all gloom and doom here. If anyone including you has enough of a heart to help me make sure that justice is served, that would be great.

      Comment


        #4
        This has nothing to do with gloom and doom and everything to do with making sure your case is a success.

        The case you cite has no relevance and this is part of the problem. With all due respect, no matter how sophisticated you think you are, you are not educated in bankruptcy law. Administrative expenses which benefit the estate are charged to the estate and paid by the estate. In a Chapter 7 payment is out of the assets collected by the Trustee. In a Chapter 11 payment is made by the Debtor-In-Possession who acts as the Trustee.

        In a Chapter 13 neither you nor your bk attorney represent the bankruptcy estate. Your attorney gets paid, not by the estate, but by you as you are not a DIP. If a Chapter 13 debtor hires an attorney to prosecute a claim for the benefit of the estate, that attorney DOES represent the estate and will have to be appointed as Special Counsel. To the extent his/her fees benefit the estate, such may end up being paid out of that portion of the Plan that was going to pay unsecured creditors (Chapter 7 reconciliation issue). Otherwise, and depending upon the fee agreement, the Debtor may have to raise the Plan payment to cover the additional legal fees. Again, see 503(b) and, as the cited case indicates, 327.

        If you prosecute a claim for the benefit of the estate, you might be entitled to recover costs. As to anything other than that, well. . . IMHO, don't count on it.

        As to pre paid legal services, typically those are offered by employers and are a payroll deduction similar to insurance. The small monthly payment out of the paycheck should not raise issues (at least such has not in my cases), but the eventual use of an attorney while in bk will need a Court Order, unless your district handles it differently.

        Des.

        Comment


          #5
          As someone who filed a Pro Se Chapter 13 I can echo everything Des has written, but Des is the professional here. I spent over $100 pre-petition on PACER, but over $500 is an incredible amount of money to spend. I have read where at least one person included the pre-petition PACER bill. But, if you're going to do this Pro Se, you need to either stop using PACER "that" much, or start using the public PACER terminal (if they're allowing it due to COVID) or visit some other law library with free access.

          Originally posted by womanonfire
          I would like an attorney but the difficulty here is the case is so complex, NONE of the attorneys that I have contacted understand it or want to litigate it it on top of the fact that I am insolvent and can't afford to pay to pay an attorney.
          I think this is the area that is difficult. A bankruptcy is not, ordinarily, a litigation festival. In most cases it's a straight liquidation (Chapter 7). In some cases it is a litigation-free reorganization (Chapter 13). In some cases, it gets super complex and usually involves large sums of money (Chapter 11). When I think of a Complex Chapter 13, I'm thinking that there is some lien stripping, valuations, and some "Chapter 7 liquidation test" issues. But even then, those are not really "typical" litigation issues (like going after the mortgage company on TILA/RESPA or other issues). Most things in consumer bankruptcy don't go into adversary proceedings (AP).

          I think an attorney would take your case if you paid them at the going rate. The no-look Chapter 13 fee -- if they have that in your District -- is likely only $4,500. At $300/hr that's only 15 hours of work. That's hardly in the range of "litigation" expense. If you want to get into a la carte service, at $250-500 an hour, to handle specific complaints (adversary proceedings) that you want to engage, then that is the area of complexity and that's the area of expense. Unfortunately I know of not one bankruptcy attorney that will engage in these these types of APs under the no-look fee. In fact, the so-called no-look fees have presumptively reasonable fees which allow the attorney to charge $1,800 for a loan modification alone (with $2,500 for "complex" loan modifications).

          I went to the courthouse for a while, but I worked with my assigned case manager. Eventually I sent important papers overnight (FedEx) and that worked out well. When I first filed my Chapter 13, I spent over $120 on postage (everything was a flat because my plan was big, plus some were sent certified mail return receipt). Yes, postage is a killer, but that's my expense and not the estate's expense. Eventually, again working with my case worker, I was able to have my case worker send out plan changes (required to go to every creditor) out via the BNC, saving me all the postage. I still paid postage (and CMRR fee) for the trustee since I always served them myself. (The UST asked me to stop serving them as they just get the notices from PACER. That was cool!)

          Personally, even though I've made it through, I would not recommend doing this as some sort of challenge. It took a lot of my time and I had to appear in court for every single hearing (except one time I did one via CourtCall because the judge was nice that I was out of town).
          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

          Any advice provided is not legal advice, but simply the musings of a fellow bankrupt.

          Comment


          • womanonfire
            womanonfire commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for your feedback. So I would include monthly expenses on schedule J correct?

            I am most definitely not looking to file on my own as some sort of "challenge."

            So you think claims of recoupment and TILA/RESPA/FDCPA objections are not complex and fairly typical? That gives me some hope that the attorney that I have scheduled to speak to next week might take it. I spoke to this one before several years ago and I liked him compared to all other attorneys however he was not interested in my case against the former servicer even though now that I have a claim in their bankruptcy case, I can file an objection to the claim for recoupment or set off since it arises out of the same transaction. My rights to set off an recoupment were specifically reserved in the mortgage servicers bankruptcy filing.

            Google RESPA attorneys in Atlanta and see what you come up with. I am pretty good at research and I can't find any. The ones I contacted prior to filing my lawsuit in district court weren't doing them anymore and the one I did find handled my case and then withdrew, I suppose when he learned of former mortgage servicer's bk. He told me he had already added up close to 50k in fees. I have not looked on Pacer though, which it just occurred to me to do.

          • justbroke
            justbroke commented
            Editing a comment
            I think that anything that is typically outside the bankruptcy court (TILA/RESPA) is what makes it complex. Those are typically done in the district court, but if they are a core proceeding they can be brought into the bankruptcy court. Some bankruptcy judges, though, will tell the debtor to go to the other court (my judge almost always did this and wished us all "happy hunting"). So I'm saying that it is something complex to do inside a bankruptcy.

            As Des wrote, you can't include your "costs" of filing and prosecuting your own bankruptcy as an expense in the bankruptcy.

            No one wants to litigate the foreclosure/RESPA/TILA cases in general, probably because there's now a bunch of caselaw. Unless you fit into some narrow exception to the caselaw, not many want to go down that path. The problem is, highly likely, the cost of the litigation. Remember, the defendants in these cases are typically banks and that is literally where all the money is kept. So they are willing to spend $$$$$$$ in district court, bankruptcy court, bankruptcy appellate panel, back to district court, appeals, and maybe even to the supreme court to win and discourage others.

            Litigation sounds like fund. It sounds like swashbuckling warriors of great fortitude demonstrating their legal prowess on stage. What is really is... a lot of $$$$$$$$. I think that's where you will find the tension and the unwillingness to do this in a bankruptcy context. Back in 2010-2015, after the housing crisis, attorneys flocked to try it in the bankruptcy court hoping that that venue would be sympathetic. I don't know the outcome, but I witnessed part of that massive filing period with curiosity.

          #6
          Originally posted by despritfreya View Post
          This has nothing to do with gloom and doom and everything to do with making sure your case is a success.

          The case you cite has no relevance and this is part of the problem. With all due respect, no matter how sophisticated you think you are, you are not educated in bankruptcy law.
          Des.
          I agree, I am not sophisticated and I am not educated in bankruptcy law which is why I am here to learn in the event that I have to represent myself.

          And if my chapter 13 is not a success I can convert to a chapter 7 no?

          Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
            I agree, I am not sophisticated and I am not educated in bankruptcy law which is why I am here to learn in the event that I have to represent myself.
            As an opinion site, with people across so many different States and bankruptcy districts, it's difficult to learn bankruptcy law from any of the websites. We, especially those of us who have filed a Chapter 13 Pro Se, can give pointers as to what not to do (do as I say, not as I do). We can't, and wouldn't, give legal advice on what specifically to do. We wrap up our ideas around what "I did" and what "I might try to do." The caveat is always that the information could be different because it's a different district or even judge (within a district).

            Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
            And if my chapter 13 is not a success I can convert to a chapter 7 no?
            You can only convert if you otherwise qualify for a Chapter 7. That means that you "pass" the means test (means that you don't have the means to fund a Chapter 13). The only other option when one is in a Chapter 13 that they no longer like, is to either voluntarily dismiss or allow the case to involuntarily be dismissed due to non-performance.

            Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
            Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
            Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

            Any advice provided is not legal advice, but simply the musings of a fellow bankrupt.

            Comment


              #8
              Originally posted by justbroke View Post
              No one wants to litigate the foreclosure/RESPA/TILA cases in general, probably because there's now a bunch of caselaw. Unless you fit into some narrow exception to the caselaw, not many want to go down that path. The problem is, highly likely, the cost of the litigation. Remember, the defendants in these cases are typically banks and that is literally where all the money is kept. So they are willing to spend $$$$$$$ in district court, bankruptcy court, bankruptcy appellate panel, back to district court, appeals, and maybe even to the supreme court to win and discourage others.
              I agree 100% and this is the problem. I already stated there is no access to justice unless you have money and that is NOT fair but it is how the system works.

              I do think I fit a narrow exception to the caselaw but again, the problem is very few consumer attorneys here in my state understand the law as it pertains to RESPA and do not want to understand it. Now I do not know bk law or rules, I know a little of the FRCP but I know a lot about RESPA and the FDCPA. I filed four lawsuits that settled in my favor with attorneys under the FDCPA. I have studied RESPA since 2015 and have probably read every case there is concerning it. In fact, my case is being cited now and helping other consumer lawyers in other states win or get favorable settlements. I am even mentioned in Malloy's Banking Law and Regulation although I can't get to it to read it.

              I know at least one attorney that knows this is true and is still fight the banks, pro se even though she is an attorney. She filed three chapter 13 cases, all three were dismissed and five complaints in district court, one she recently filed again. She has probably cost them over a million in attorneys fees for a home that is not worth that much.

              I guess I have a decision to make, do I roll over and let them win or risk losing it all in my search for justice?

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by womanonfire View Post
                I guess I have a decision to make, do I roll over and let them win or risk losing it all in my search for justice?
                The cost of litigation is always the crux of the issue. They fight because they believe they are right and also to discourage others. As the great attorney Schlichtmann, after losing everything (house, cars, cash, savings... and said to only have $14 and a transistor radio in his bankruptcy) said...

                The odds of a plaintiff's lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. Twelve times better. So why does anyone do it? They don't. They settle. -- Jan Schlichtmann, talking about the Woburn case, Anne Anderson et al. v. W.R. Grace & Co. et al. 628 F. Supp. 1219 (D. Mass. 1986)
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                Any advice provided is not legal advice, but simply the musings of a fellow bankrupt.

                Comment


                • womanonfire
                  womanonfire commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That attorney Schlichtmann guy is my kind of guy! lol

                • justbroke
                  justbroke commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Mine too. Willing to lose everything. But he knew the risks and always calculated the odds. Despite that, he dragged down his entire firm and his partners. He's doing okay today (back to millionaire status) after filing bankruptcy and recovering. (He gave a talk about 7 years ago at Barry Law in Orlando.)

                #10
                I will have to read about him when I am done researching crap about BK that I don't know. I started a while back, then stopped and old age made me forget most of what I learned. The only thing that I got going for me, is a flexible job and sheer will and determination.

                I will tell you some good that is coming out of all this. I am a nerd and have a list of attorneys and other people I admire. I have talked to former Judge Richard Posner who emailed me that he would help me win right before his whole pro-se justice idea went to hell in a handbasket. Nye Lavalle emailed me back about my case but wants me to get an attorney obviously before he will talk. If you have not read Fannie Mae's response (147 pg.?) to his report, you truly have not lived! lol!

                On another note, Pacer is wonky. I can hit save searches and the page will disappear and I have to run a new search. They probably hate me because I dispute every single bill. I am extremely anal about money. I have been known to pick up pennies in a pandemic. No telling where they have been and if cash is even good anymore...
                Last edited by womanonfire; 10-17-2021, 01:47 PM.

                Comment


                  #11
                  I think you are truly amazing and may just have the perseverance to at least see this to some conclusion; whether in your favor or not. I think that you just missed the heyday of these types of challenges (2010-2015 but tapering off by 2018). I knew an attorney who was disbarred over the foreclosure fiasco. It was not pretty, because he was so mad at the system that he may have gone (Supreme court said that he did go) too far and voiced his opinion to not only the circuit judges, but also the appellate judges.
                  Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                  Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                  Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                  Any advice provided is not legal advice, but simply the musings of a fellow bankrupt.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Originally posted by justbroke View Post
                    I think you are truly amazing and may just have the perseverance to at least see this to some conclusion; whether in your favor or not.
                    You made my day today! I think you are amazing!

                    So the former servicer is Ditech and I think this is the first time that a mortgage service was able to sell it's assets free and clear of consumer claims. This left consumers with little rights and protections. Here is an article detailing some of the details: https://www.jonesday.com/en/insights...does-not-apply

                    The rough part of this is that no one has provided anyone a list of what is a section 363(o) consumer claim. I would think all of the consumer claims defined in section 433.1 of title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations and it makes zero sense that it does. The consumer attorney in the case gave me one example of servicer member type claims but I do not see it. In fact, in the Order confirming the Third Amended Plan, it appears that the judge describes such claims as RESPA being section 363(o) claims but mine was transferred to the new servicer. My claim has not even been reviewed to see if it a section 363(o) claim. As an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder, I may have a claim under the ADA act, especially since one of my RESPA letters revealed that and no one has made reasonable accommodations under the ACT.

                    My main argument in my bankruptcy case will be that the new assigned servicer is not even supposed to be servicing the loan and they have tortiously interfered with the contract (Ditech plan is a contract between debtors and creditors) and both of them have violated this plan. My list of claim objections is growing. I can bring claims in recoupment; everything Ditech did to set off what they say I owe. That ought to be fun.

                    Comment

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