Judge: Fed 'Inappropriately' Inflated Debit Card Fees

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Wednesday struck down federal regulations on debit-card transaction fees, finding that the Federal Reserve adopted rules that "inappropriately" inflated fees by billions of dollars, the National Law Journal reports. The ruling won't change transaction fees just yet, though. Judge Leon ordered the Federal Reserve to vacate the rules, but simultaneously said he would stay that order to give the agency time to replace the problematic sections. 

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Investiture of Judge Croom Set for Next Week

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee will host the investiture of Judge Jimmy L. Croom on July 12 at 2 p.m. The event will take place in the Fourth Floor Courtroom at the U.S. Courthouse, 111 South Highland Ave., Jackson. To RSVP contact or call (731) 421-9372.

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Court Grants 4 Cases for Next Term

The court today also agreed to decide four cases in its next term, SCOTUSBlog reports. These cases involve questions of whether federal housing law requires proof of intentional discrimination; the legality of a $1.24 million defamation judgment against a Wisconsin airline that reported a pilot was potentially dangerous; an attorneys fees issue in a district court case; and whether a bankruptcy trustee may surcharge a debtor’s constitutionally protected homestead property. Bloomberg and the AP have stories on these issues.

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Know Your Bank Fraud History; Punch Up POA Forms

Nashville lawyer Katie Edge writes in the recent Tennessee Bar Journal about Tennessee's famous bank robbers -- with the spotlight on the Butcher brothers and other fraudsters. In her column, Knoxville lawyer Monica Franklin says to avoid the "plain Jane" durable financial power of attorney and gives tips to punch up the forms you use for DPOAs.

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Reception for New Bankruptcy Judge, June 7

The MBA Bankruptcy Section will host a reception honoring the newly appointed Judge Jimmy L. Croom on June 7 at 5 p.m. in the historic Reading Room on the 4th Floor of the University of Memphis School of Law. After the reception, the section will treat Judge Croom to a Redbirds game, beginning at 7:05 pm. To RSVP and for more information, contact Claire Reno at or (901) 685 5646.

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Comments Sought on Reappointment of Bankruptcy Judge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is accepting comments on the reappointment of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marian F. Harrison in the Middle District of Tennessee. Harrison’s current 14-year term will end on Dec. 20. She is eligible for another 14-year term. All comments are due by May 8 and should be directed to Clarence Maddox, Circuit Executive, 503 Potter Stewart United States Courthouse, 100 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Download a copy of the court’s notice or contact the court at (513) 564-7200 for more information.

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Croom Appointed West District Bankruptcy Judge

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee James L. Croom was appointed Wednesday as a judge for the Western District's Bankruptcy Court, NWTN Today reports. Croom is a graduate of University of Tennessee at Martin and the Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law at what was formerly Memphis State University. Prior to becoming an assistant U.S. attorney, Croom served as an estate administrator for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District and later as an attorney/advisor in the office of the U.S. Trustee for Region Eight. A resident of Greenfield, Croom’s chambers and courtroom will be located in the district’s Jackson office.

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AG Announces Free Mortgage Hotline

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has announced that his office has partnered with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation to provide a free hotline to help distressed homeowners find mortgage relief programs. Residents in need of reliable information or referrals to foreclosure prevention counseling are encouraged to call the hotline at (855) 876-7283. has more

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Judges Ruling Moves Beale Street Development Forward

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jennie Latta ruled that Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., which has managed and developed city-owned properties since the renovated Beale Street Entertainment District opened in 1983, is not in default of its sublease with the Beale Street Development Corp. With the ruling, Performa can now reassign its lease to the city of Memphis. The Memphis Daily News has the story.

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DOJ Sues Bank of America for Alleged Fraud

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Bank of America for $1 billion alleging the bank committed fraud by selling defective mortgages to government-backed mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, resulting in over $1 billion in losses for taxpayers and countless foreclosures. CNN has the full story.

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Comments Sought on Bankruptcy Candidates

A merit selection panel of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Council has recommended five candidates for possible appointment to the bankruptcy judge vacancy in west Tennessee. They are: Richard F. Clippard of Nashville; Michael P. Coury of Millington; James L. Croom of Greenfield; and William B. Mauldin and Jerry P. Spore of Jackson. The council must narrow the list to three individuals and is accepting written comments regarding the qualifications of the candidates. Comments should be submitted to the Office of the Circuit Executive, 503 Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, 100 East Fifth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, no later than Oct. 22. The final selection will be made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Download the notice from the court

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Brentwood Ponzi Scheme Victims Share Stories at DOJ Summit

The Department of Justice Investment Fraud Summit series kicked off yesterday at Vanderbilt Law School on the heels of a major Brentwood financial scam, News Channel 5 reports. Aaron Vallett pled guilty and was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to repay $5.4 million for running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. Vallet’s victims shared their stories at the summit Thursday.

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Bank of America Sues Nashville Bankruptcy Trustee

Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America has filed a lawsuit against Nashville's Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee, Henry "Hank" Hildebrand, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The move marks an effort on behalf of the bank to put an end to a common defense tactic used by debtors and foreclosure judges in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown. Known as "show me the note," the tactic forces a lender to offer up physical documentation that they actually own the mortgage. It's a method that has been successful in Nashville, where Hildebrand has become well-known for his efforts to force mortgage companies to produce the original note when filing a claim in bankruptcy proceedings.

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Judge Boswell Retires After 19 Years

Federal bankruptcy Judge G. Harvey Boswell on Friday retired from the bench after 19 years of service. He was appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Tennessee, on Nov. 16, 1993, the first judge to be permanently assigned to that court. Friday may have been the first time a shotgun was suddenly pulled from its case in a federal courtroom and six judges applauded, the Jackson Sun writes. The shotgun, a 12-gauge Beretta-A400, was a retirement gift. Boswell’s replacement will be appointed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. It will take at least nine months to select a replacement, he said. Until then, bankruptcy judges from Memphis will travel to Jackson to handle the case load.

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Apply for Bankruptcy Seat in Jackson

The Sixth Circuit Judicial Council is soliciting applications from persons interested in appointment as United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee at Jackson. This position will become vacant upon the retirement of United States Bankruptcy Judge G. Harvey Boswell on July 8. Applications must be received by July 18. Download more information

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Congress Passes Bankruptcy Judge Bill

Congress has passed a bill authorizing a replacement judge in Jackson after U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge G. Harvey Boswell retires in July. Boswell handled cases in Jackson but reported to the court in Memphis. Until Congress passed the stalled bankruptcy judge bill, it appeared Boswell’s position would lapse. That would have meant more work and travel for the four judges in Memphis. Lack of congressional action on the bill also would have meant the loss of almost one-tenth of the nation’s 351 bankruptcy judges. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. Learn more in the Memphis Daily News

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Law School Debt Discharged for Asperger's Sufferer

A former law student has won a bid in bankruptcy court to discharge nearly $340,000 in education debt because her diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome rendered her unable to repay the loans. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland last week found that Carol Todd, who attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, met the difficult burden of showing that she would suffer undue hardship if forced to repay her debt. Read about it in the National Law Journal

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Bill Extends 30 Federal Bankruptcy Judgeships

Congress sent a bill to the White House on Thursday that would extend 30 temporary federal bankruptcy judgeships for another five years. The bill reauthorizes bankruptcy judgeships in 14 states and Puerto Rico that had already expired. Without the legislation, those districts would have lost a judgeship anytime a judge retired or left the bench for any reason, something that had already happened in two districts. The Blog of Legal Times has more

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Site Stores Bankruptcy Docs for Free Reading

A new website called Inforuptcy is being touted as a cheaper alternative to PACER for those accessing bankruptcy documents. The site charges the regular PACER fee for documents that are not yet in its database, but after a document is accessed, it remains in the database for future users to read for free. In addition, downloading a PDF of a case in the database costs half of the PACER fee. Inforuptcy co-founder Michael Mikikian says, “The more people who bypass and use our site instead, the more we will be able to share that information with the public.” The ABA Journal links you to the stories on the topic.

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Bankruptcies Up Slightly in West Tennessee

Bankruptcies increased slightly in West Tennessee during the first quarter of 2012, according to The Daily News Online. All chapters combined – Chapters 7, 11 and 13 – amounted to 3,063 Shelby County bankruptcies, up 2.8 percent from 2011.

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West Tenn. Bankruptcy Judge Retires

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge G. Harvey Boswell — the only bankruptcy judge in Jackson — will retire July 8, but because of stalled legislation in Congress, it appears his position will not be filled before he departs. David Kennedy, chief bankruptcy judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of West Tennessee, said some of the bankruptcy judges in Memphis will likely travel to Jackson to hear cases until a replacement is named. In related news, Judge George Emerson Jr. recently was appointed to succeed Boswell on the 6th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. Emerson will continue to serve as a trial bankruptcy judge in Memphis, in addition to reviewing decisions of bankruptcy judges from other judicial districts in the Sixth Circuit. The Memphis Daily News has more

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Judge Donald to be Honored

The Hon. Bernice B. Donald is one of five “legends” who will be honored by the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis at its 2012 Annual Tribute Luncheon and Symposium. Donald is the first African American woman to sit on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She was the first African American woman in the United States to serve as a bankruptcy judge and was the first African American woman to serve as judge in Tennessee. The Legends Award Reception is April 17 at 6 p.m. at the Columns in Memphis. The Annual Tribute Luncheon is April 26 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Other honorees are civil rights activist Velma Lois Jones, Sylvia Goldsmith Marks, Dorothy Gunther Pugh and Dr. Shirley C. Raines, the first woman president of the University of Memphis. Get reservations and learn more.

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Todd Marsh and Kari Marsh (“Plaintiffs”) sued Larry A. Storie (“Storie”) and First Tennessee Bank National Association (“First TN Bank”) with regard to, among other things, ownership of real property which had been the subject of both a tax sale and a foreclosure sale. After a hearing, the Trial Court entered an order on January 4, 2011 granting partial summary judgment dismissing First TN Bank from the case, and certifying the judgment as final as to First TN Bank pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. Plaintiffs appeal the dismissal of their claims against First TN Bank. We affirm.

Attorney 1: 

J. Myers Morton, and George W. Morton, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Todd
Marsh and Kari Marsh.

Attorney 2: 

Gordon D. Foster, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, First Tennessee Bank National