Bankruptcy Judge – “This Student Loan Case Fits the Definition of Insanity”

In Goodvin v. Educational Credit Management Corporation, Judge Dale Somers, a Kansas bankruptcy judge, began his opinion with these words: “This student loan case fits the definition of insanity.” Judge Somers went on to chronicle the story of Jeffrey Goodvin. Mr. Goodvin attended Wichita State University for four years (1982-1986) but did not obtain a … Read more

Woman Discovered the Hard Way that ECMC Student Loans Can Really Suck But Gets Bankruptcy Discharge

Laurina Kim Bukovics enrolled as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin in 1985 and graduated five years later. She took out about $20,000 in student loans to finance her studies. Over the years, she paid back $29,000–almost 140 percent of the amount borrowed. Nevertheless, 25 years after she graduated, Bukovics owed $80,000 on her … Read more

Judge Grants Discharge of Federal Student Loan Interest in Bankruptcy. Upheld.

Interest rate negotiation can result in a lower interest rate than you are paying now.

Vicky Jo Metz borrowed $16,613 back in the 1990s to attend a community college, but she never got a degree. Over the years, she filed for bankruptcy three times, but she continued making payments on her student loans under court-approved repayment plans. In fact, she paid almost 90 percent of what she originally borrowed. Nevertheless, … Read more

Sue Reagan v. Educational Credit Management Corporation: “A Camel Whose Back is Already Broken”

Sue Reagan is 60-years old and lives in a mobile home on rented land. She has a part-time job but lives near or below the poverty line. She took out student loans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and a master’s degree in criminology, but that was long ago. Unable to pay … Read more

ECMC to Go Suck an Egg

Educational Credit Management Corporation [ECMC] is the Department of Education’s premier student-loan debt collector. ECMC has appeared in literally hundreds of student-loan bankruptcy cases, and it knows all the legal tricks for defeating a student-loan borrower’s efforts to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. And most of the time ECMC wins its cases. But not always. … Read more

Single Mother Wins Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge and Has it Ripped Away on Appeal

In 2013, Alexandra Acosta-Conniff, an Alabama school teacher and single mother of two children, filed an adversary proceeding in an Alabama bankruptcy court, hoping to discharge student loans that had grown to $112,000. She did not have an attorney, so she represented herself in court. At her trial, Judge William Sawyer applied the three-part Brunner … Read more

ECMC and Department of Education Kick Hard at Student Loan Debtor But Court Award Discharge

Barbara Erkson, an unmarried 64-year-old woman, filed an adversary proceeding in a Maine bankruptcy court in an attempt to discharge $107,000 in student loans in bankruptcy. The U.S. Department of Education and Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) vigorously objected, but Judge Peter Carey rejected their heartless arguments and granted Ms. Erkson a full discharge. This … Read more

Federal Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge Upheld on Appeal

In a previous essay, I wrote about Alan and Catherine Murray, a married couple in their late forties who defeated Educational Credit Management Corporation in a Kansas bankruptcy court. ECMC appealed, and the Murrays prevailed again–a victory that has important implications for middle-income student-loan debtors. The Murrays took out student loans in the 1990s to … Read more

Bankruptcy Court Appeal Rules in Favor of Discharging Some Federal Student Loan Debt

Back at the end of 2016 a Kansas bankruptcy judge ruled on this bankruptcy case that included federal student loan debt Educational Credit Management Corporation was responsible for. This truth is starkly illustrated in the case of Murray v. Educational Credit Management Corporation, which was decided in December 2016 by a Kansas bankruptcy judge. At … Read more

Bankruptcy Groups Jump In to Support Student Loan Discharge to Avoid Cement Life Preservers

The National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center (NCBRC) and National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) have decided to support the bankruptcy discharge in ECMC v. Murray with an outside briefing supporting the effort. The Murray case is very interesting in that the bankruptcy court agreed a substantial part of their student loan debt should be … Read more

Bank of America hit with $45 million punitive damages award for violating automatic stay provision of Bankruptcy Code: ECMC take notice!

A few days ago, Judge Christopher Klein, a California bankruptcy judge, struck a breathtaking blow for justice when he assessed $45 million in punitive damages against Bank of America for violating the automatic-stay provision of the Bankruptcy Code. You may recall that a Texas bankruptcy judge hit Educational Credit Management Corporation with a $74,000 punitive … Read more

My Life Was Ruined and I Sent My Child Away Because of Private Student Loans

Question: Dear Steve, I don’t know what to do, Please advise. I have a student loan that is very behind, from a tech school that I attended from 03-04. I signed a paper agreeing to the loan and I also had to pay a monthly fee to the school for 4 months of $341.43 each … Read more

Student Loan Discharges in Bankruptcy Don’t Have to be the Unicorn of the Bankruptcy World

I think part of the reluctance of bankruptcy lawyers to take undue hardship cases is some bankruptcy attorneys just aren’t comfortable in court. Bankruptcy can attract those who are more of a technocrat than a litigator. Even if a bankruptcy lawyer is not interested in pursuing an undue hardship complaint, he or she usually knows … Read more