Supreme Court's Holding in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson By Professor Kenneth N. Klee and Whitman L. Holt

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Professor Kenneth N. Klee and Whitman L. Holt analyze Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson, in which the Supreme Court held that filing in a chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding a proof of claim that is obviously time barred is not a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The authors explain that Midland Funding is an unfortunate decision that ignores the practical realities of consumer bankruptcy practice.

Kenneth N. Klee is a nationally recognized expert on bankruptcy law. He became a Professor of Law Emeritus at the UCLA School of Law in 2014 and is a founding partner of Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP, specializing in corporate reorganization, insolvency, and bankruptcy law. From 1974 to 1977, Professor Klee served as associate counsel to the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, where he was one of the principal drafters of the 1978 Bankruptcy Code. He served as a consultant on bankruptcy legislation to the U.S. Department of Justice in 1983–1984. From 1992 to 2000, he served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules to the Judicial Conference of the United States. From 2000 to 2003, and previously from 1988 to 1990, Professor Klee has served since 2017 as a board member of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society and served as a member of the Advisory Board for several years before that. He has served three times as a lawyer delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. Professor Klee served as member of the executive committee of the National Bankruptcy Conference from 1985 to 1988, 1992 to 1999, 2005 to 2008, and 2011 to 2014. He served from 2011 to 2014 as Chair of the NBC's Committee to Rethink Chapter 11 and also served as chair of its legislation committee from 1992 to 2000. Professor Klee is a past president and member of the board of governors of the Financial Lawyers Conference. Professor Klee was included in "The Best Lawyers in America" 2017 edition and has been included for at least 25 years. He has been named by Who's Who Legal, since 2012, as one of the top ten insolvency & restructuring attorneys in the world and was named by The Legal 500 as one of the top nine leading attorneys in the municipal bankruptcy field for 2014. From 2003 to 2011 and periodically thereafter he was named by the Daily Journal as one of California's Top 100 Lawyers. Professor Klee is an author or co-author of four books: Bankruptcy and the Supreme Court: 1801-2014 (with Whitman L. Holt) (West Academic 2015); Bankruptcy and the Supreme Court (LexisNexis 2008); Business Reorganization in Bankruptcy (West 1996; 2d ed. 2001; 3d ed. 2006; 4th ed. 2012); and Fundamentals of Bankruptcy Law (ALI-ABA 4th ed. 1996). He has authored or co-authored 32 law review articles on bankruptcy law. For the past several years, Professor Klee has served as co-counsel for defendants Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Kerr McGee in Tronox v. Anadarko (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). and the Blavatnik defendants in Weisfelner v. Blavatnik (In re Lyondell Chemical Co.) (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). During the summer of 2010, Professor Klee served as the appointed Examiner in the Tribune chapter 11 cases. He also represented Jefferson County, Alabama, in its successful Chapter 9 case from 2011 to 2014. Professor Klee also serves clients as an expert witness, mediator, arbitrator, attorney, or consultant in his Chapter 11 business reorganization practice.

Whitman L. Holt is a partner of Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP in Los Angeles. Mr. Holt has represented clients across the bankruptcy spectrum, including borrowers in and out of court, debtors subject to involuntary bankruptcy petitions, municipal debtors, secured creditors in and out of bankruptcy, hedge and distressed debt funds, equity sponsors, plaintiffs and defendants in bankruptcy-related litigation, and purchasers of assets via chapter 11 plans and section 363 sales. Mr. Holt also has significant experience regarding various alternative insolvency regimes, including bank and thrift receiverships under title 12 of the U.S. Code and proceedings for troubled insurers under state law. Mr. Holt's active bankruptcy-related appellate practice includes briefing multiple matters before the Supreme Court of the United States, including the prevailing merits brief in the landmark Stern v. Marshall case. Mr. Holt is the co-author (with Kenneth N. Klee) of Bankruptcy and the Supreme Court: 1801-2014 (West Academic 2015), which is a comprehensive desk reference for lawyers, judges, law students, and scholars examining the Supreme Court's bankruptcy decisions from 1801 through 2014 from six different perspectives. Mr. Holt has consistently been recognized as one of the top corporate bankruptcy and restructuring attorneys in California by Super Lawyers Magazine and by Chambers & Partners. In 2015, Mr. Holt was elected as a Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, which is an invitation-only organization dedicated to advising Congress about the operation of bankruptcy and related laws and which is widely regarded as the most prestigious professional organization in the bankruptcy field. Mr. Holt is a graduate of Bates College (B.A., 2002, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 2005, cum laude). The views stated herein are those of the authors individually, not of the UCLA School of Law; Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP; or any client. In the interests of disclosure, the authors note that they served as counsel of record and principal authors of an amici curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in the Midland Funding case by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center.

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