Minneapolis attorney Dave Burns represents debtors and creditors in the Twin Cities area involved in adversary proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Courts of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He often works with parties involved in creditor suits brought against debtors who have filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He accepts referrals from bankruptcy filing attorneys and commonly leads litigation with the cooperation of a client's existing bankruptcy attorney.
Dave has years of experience regularly litigating claims by creditors and trustees in bankruptcy adversary proceedings. Proof or defense of each claim is generally governed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code — and requires evidence, argument and proper application of the law in order to succeed. Having an experienced practitioner on your side can make all the difference.
A creditor may argue that a debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy — and thus must be repaid by the debtor regardless of the bankruptcy filing — on various grounds. Non-dischargeability often involves a debt incurred by intentional wrongdoing by the debtor. In other words, it often involves serious allegations requiring significant evidence and aggressive defense. Some of the more common claims for non-dischargeability are:
Fraud by the debtor — Bankruptcy Code section 523(a)(2)(A). A debtor may be accused of committing fraud in obtaining money, property, services or credit if he or she intentionally lied or made a false statement on which the creditor relied in offering the the money, property, services or credit. For example, a lender could claim that a debtor intentionally exaggerated his or her income in order to get a loan that the debtor is now attempting to discharge in bankruptcy.
Fraud, embezzlement or larceny by a fiduciary-debtor — Bankruptcy Code section 523(a)(4). A debt may be non-dischargeable under section 523(a)(4) if the debt was incurred through the fraud, embezzlement, or larceny of a debtor who was acting in a fiduciary capacity. A person may act as a fiduciary if he or she is trusted with the money or property of someone else — be it a lawyer, a financial advisor or a certified public accountant.
Willful and malicious injury by a debtor — Bankruptcy Code section 523(a)(6). Debts are not dischargeable if a creditor proves to the Bankruptcy Court that the debt was incurred because of a willful and malicious injury caused by the debtor — usually to the creditor or his or her property. Say a debtor had a conflict with his neighbor about the neighbor putting up a fence between their properties, which led the debtor to angrily tear down the fence. If the debtor legitimately owes the neighbor money for the cost of replacing the fence, the neighbor may argue that this debt to him is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
The Bankruptcy Code also permits creditors or U.S. Trustees to file an Objection to Discharge action under section 727 of the Code. In such actions, a creditor or trustee (or both) argues that the debtor should not qualify for the discharge of debts through bankruptcy. Generally the creditor or trustee alleges that the debtor hid, wrongfully transferred, destroyed or otherwise manipulated property that should have been used to satisfy his or her debts. In other words, it is alleged that the debtor actually has more money or property than he or she is claiming, in attempting to file for bankruptcy.
Particularly common are allegations of fraudulent transfer, when a creditor or trustee claims that a debtor fraudulently transferred property — either within a year before filing for bankruptcy or after the filing — to avoid having the property used to pay creditors. Fraudulent transfer is often alleged if property is given to a family member, sold for less than market value, or placed in a trust by the debtor.
As with claims of non-dischargeability, objections to discharge involve serious allegations against a debtor — and these allegations can derail the entire bankruptcy filing. Dave has years of experience defending debtors against non-dischargeability claims; Dave knows the law, he knows the courts, he knows he lawyers often on the other side and he will present the best arguments and evidence to protect his clients.
Dave is also well-versed in other claims and actions by trustees and creditors involving:
Bankruptcy litigation is a central part of Dave Burns' law practice. In addition to courtroom strategy and representation, he offers assistance based on years of experience with negotiating and evaluating proposed settlements and compromises.
For individuals overwhelmed by debt, litigation only increases the inherent stress of filing for bankruptcy. Dave will listen, explain your options, and help you decide what's worth fighting for.
Dave Burns is available to meet with clients in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. For a consultation, please call (612) 677-8351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.