know the lawIn re Hindra v. Dockery, US Trustee & Deutsche Bank, BAP No. CC-18-1132-KuTaF (9th Circuit, Jan 29, 2019) In 2016  Etta Hindra filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy and everything went downhill from there.  She did not file the proper documents, meet deadlines or pay the amounts necessary in order to cure the arrears owed to her mortgage company, plus much more (this blog is too short to list all the problems).  Ultimately the court dismissed her chapter 13 case for failure to comply with the chapter 13 process (according to the court – Ms. Hindra’s case was dismissed upon Trustee’s request for numerous reasons including, among others, her failure to make disclosures and provide information regarding her previous cases).  Ms. Hindra did not like the court’s ruling so she appealed to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel “BAP”.  Once again, the law and rules governing the legal process were not followed so the BAP supported the bankruptcy court’s decision dismissing her case.  She then appealed to the Ninth Circuit, but once again failed.  So, she decided to go back to the Bankruptcy Court to try to reopen her case.  According to the court she filed a motion to vacate the dismissal and reopen her bankruptcy case which is connected to this appeal. Her motion was based on the following: her computer was stolen which prevented her from filing her motion to vacate and reopen sooner (you guessed it – she failed).

What is my point?  Know the law before jumping into any process, especially bankruptcy.

know the lawBankruptcy is like complicated surgery.  You would not give a scalpel to your three year old and say “do your best”, at least not if you want to live.  So why would anyone think they can walk into one of the most complicated legal processes, either not knowing or ignoring the law and rules; and ignoring advice from those within the process (the judge and the trustee).

But, I cannot afford an attorney to help with bankruptcy.

know the law

Believe me – I understand.  Having done this work for more than 35 years I have seen people of all walks of life and income levels.  There are lots of resources (free and otherwise) there for the asking.  Most consumer debtor attorneys offer free consultations (like our office).  I started the Self-Help Center at the Arizona Bankruptcy Court in 2005.  We have helped thousands learn what to do, and more importantly what not do.  Some were able to hire our volunteers or referred to other great attorneys, others were shown how to file their own bankruptcies.  Unfortunately, too many visitors to the Center came to us after they filed their own bankruptcy only to find out that they would lose their tax refunds and other non-exempt property.


You cannot help those who won’t listen to good advice

Would an experienced bankruptcy attorney be able to help Etta Hindra?  Perhaps, but looking over the description of her failures, my guess is that she may not have listened to even the more seasoned and patient bankruptcy lawyer.  Ms. Hindra actually started out with an attorney, but after the case was filed the attorney bailed.  Why?  No clue, perhaps inexperience or just a difficult client.

MORAL: Know the law, please don’t be another debtor who fails to ask for help from an experienced attorney.

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Diane L. Drain

Diane L. Drain, bankruptcy attorney, retired law professor, mentor and community spokesperson.

About Diane Drain:

Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.

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