Thursday, June 09, 2011

Poetic Justice

Way back in 1986, Judge A. Jay Cristol denied his own sua sponte motion to dismiss a chapter 7 bankruptcy case in verse. In re Love, 61 B.R. 558 (Bankr. S.D. Fl. 1986). Some 20 years later, he penned another poetic opinion, this time finding that he was not required to sua sponte dismiss a Debtor's case for failure to file the required paperwork. In re Riddle, No. 06-11313 (Bankr. S.D. Fl. 7/17/06). Although the opinion is five years old, it mysteriously appeared upon my desk today without explanation.

For your reading pleasure, I present to you the verse of Judge Cristol:

I do not like dismissal automatic,
It seems to me to be traumatic.
I do not like it in this case,
I do not like it any place.

As a judge I am most keen
to understand, What does it mean?
How can any person know
what the docket does not show?

What is the clue on the 46th day?
Is the case still here, or gone away?
And if a debtor did not do
what the Code had told him to
and no concerned party knew it,
Still the Code says the debtor blew it.
Well that is what it seems to say:
the debtor's case is then "Oy vay!"

This kind of law is symptomatic
of something very problematic.
For if the Trustee does not know
then which way should the trustee go?

Should the trustee's view prismatic
continue to search the debtor's attic
and collect debtors' assets in his fist
for distribution in a case that stands dismissed?
After a dismissal automatic
would this not be a bit erratic?

The poor trustee cannot know
the docket does not dismissal show.
What's a poor trustee to do -
except perhaps to say, "Boo hoo!"

And if the case goes on as normal
and debtor gets a discharge formal,
what if a year later some fanatic
claims the case was dismissed automatic?

Was there a case, or wasn't there one?
How do you undo what's been done?
Debtor's property is gone as if by a thief,
and Debtor is stripped but gets no relief.
I do not like dismissal automatic.
On this point I am emphatic!
I do not wish to be dramatic,
but I can not endure this static.
Something more in 521 is needed
for dismissal automatic to be heeded.

Dismissal automatic is not understood.
For all concerned this is not good.
Before this problem gets too old
it would be good if we were told:

What does automatic dismissal mean?
And by what means can it been seen?
Are we only left to guess?
Oh please Congress, fix this mess!
Until it's fixed what should I do?
How can I explain this mess to you?

If the Code required an old fashioned order,
that would create a legal border,
with complying debtors' cases defended
and 521 violators' cases ended,
from the unknown status of dismissal automatic,
to the certainty of a status charismatic.
The dismissal automatic problem would be gone,
and debtors, trustees and courts could move on.

As to this case, how should I proceed?
Review of the record is warranted, indeed.
A very careful record review,
tells this Court what it should do.
Was this case dismissed automatic?
It definitely was NOT and that's emphatic.

1 comment:

Patches said...

In Re: TCR of Denver LLC 05-45287 SBB Honorable Sidney B. Brooks wrestled with the same issue in the above Chapter 11 and ordered the parties the Debtor and Trustee to file briefs in rhyme as well. You have to pull the briefs they are too funny! The opinion of the court cites President Bush, "The bipartisan bill I'm about to sign makes common-sense reforms to our bankruptcy laws". Which as we all know common-sense was left out of the equation when it came to passing BAPCPA...