Fears Nachawati Takes on Texas Wrongful Death Case

On August 3, 2016, a Texarkana man was tragically killed in Sabine County, Texas as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving a tractor trailer and an unoccupied vehicle. Jerry Lee Woods, 58, was the driver of a 2006 tractor trailer carrying a load of asphalt and paving equipment. It appears that the tractor trailer’s brakes malfunctioned which prevented Woods from stopping the vehicle at an intersection of two major highways. The vehicle rolled over and Woods was ejected from the truck. Woods had two passengers with him at the time of the accident who both sustained serious injuries.

Trucking companies have a duty to maintain and service their vehicles in a reasonable manner. Further, additional state and federal regulations apply to owners of large tractor trailers as the 40 ton vehicles have the potential to cause substantial damages, significant injuries, and even death. These regulations are set in place not only for the public’s safety but also for the safety of the truck drivers and passengers.

Fears Nachawati is representing the heirs of Jerry Woods regarding his wrongful death. Woods’ tragic and unexpected death has taken a heavy toll on his children and family. Fears Nachawati is committed to pursuing the claims of Woods’ children in order to obtain just and fair compensation for the death of their father.

More information about the accident can be found here. 

Legal inquiries and questions can be directed to our firm by calling 1-866-705-7584 or by visiting the firm’s website – www.fnlawfirm.com.

Fears Nachawati Partner Nominated to Inn of Court

Fears | Nachawati Law Firm is proud to announce that founding partner Majed Nachawati has been nominated to become a member of the William “Mac” Taylor, Jr. American Inn of Court. The American Inns of Court is an association of lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals from all levels and backgrounds who share a passion for professional excellence. The goal of the Inn of Court to promote professionalism and collegiality among trial lawyers, as well as provide an opportunity for members to form and build relationships, share and discuss concerns about legal issues, and advance the highest levels of integrity, ethics, and civility. Mr. Nachawati is honored to have been nominated and hopes to help the organization continue to achieve its goals. More info about the Inn of Court and our law firm can be found by visiting the following links - https://www.facebook.com/mactaylorinnofcourt/ and www.fnlawfirm.com.

Majed Nachawati Reappointed to the Board of Directors of The Public Justice Foundation

Fears | Nachawati Law Firm is proud to announce that founding partner Majed Nachawati has been reappointed to the Board of Directors of The Public Justice Foundation. Public Justice’s mission as a non-profit organization and public interest law firm is to pursue high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the sustainability of the Earth, and challenge predatory conduct and government abuses. The Board of Directors is comprised of the nation’s leading trial lawyers, appellate lawyers, consumer advocates, mass tort lawyers, environmental attorneys, employment lawyers, civil rights attorneys, class action lawyers, and public interest advocates.   Mr. Nachawati is honored to have been reappointed and hopes to help the organization continue to achieve its goals.  More information about Public Justice and our law firm can be found by visiting the following links – http://www.publicjustice.net and www.fnlawfirm.com.

Majed Nachawati Reappointed as Panel Chairman

Fears | Nachawati Law Firm Partner, Majed Nachawati, has been reappointed as Panel Chairman on Panel 2, District 6 Grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas. This appointment is highly prestigious and is held by only a handful of lawyers throughout Texas.  The Grievance Committee’s job is to make sure that attorneys throughout the state of Texas uphold the integrity of the practice of law and remain accountable to the public and their clients.  As part of his continuing role, Mr. Nachawati will be responsible for presiding over disbarment proceedings, evidentiary hearings, and the summary disposition docket. He is dedicated to protecting the public through his work on the Grievance Committee and hopes to continue to advance and improve the quality of legal services to the public during his term as Panel Chairman. Information about the firm or Mr. Nachawati can be found at www.fnlawfirm.com or by calling the firm at 1.866.705.7584.

Happy 4th of July from Fears Nachawati

 

Can I Use My Credit Card in Bankruptcy?

The short answer is no.  This is because while you are in bankruptcy you should not be incurring new debt without court permission.  Most of the time a credit card will not issue a card to someone who is in an active bankruptcy case, because they do not want to violate the bankruptcy code and face sanctions from the bankruptcy court.  Furthermore any cards that a debtor has prior to filing the case will be discharged in the bankruptcy case, except under rare exceptions.  Therefore the debtor will not be able to continue to use their cards.  

The entire point of a bankruptcy case is to get a fresh start and to get rid of the debt and allowing a debtor to continue to incur debt while in the bankruptcy case complicates and frustrates this goal.  When preparing to file a bankruptcy case a debtor must take a look at their finances and make sure that they are living within their means and question why they would have a need to continue to spend on credit. 

If you have any questions about bankruptcy, contact the attorneys at Fears Nachawati today. Call 1.866.705.7584 or send an email to fears@fnlawfirm.com for a free consultation.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

While many people are familiar with chapters, 7, 11, and 13 another chapter that is available is chapter 12.  A chapter 12 is agricultural and is for “family farmers" or "family fishermen." with "regular annual income."   The chapter 12 allows for farmers and fishermen to reorganize their debts in a reorganization plan to pay all or some of their debt.  The chapter 12 plan is an installment plan over three to five years.  Generally, the plan is for three years unless the court approves longer “for cause." If the plan proposes to pay 100% of child support or alimony if any exist, it must be for five years and must include all of the debtor's disposable income.  A case may not exceed 5 years.

 In order to file for chapter 12 the debtor must meet four criteria when they file the case:

  1. The debtor(s) must be engaged in a farming operation or a commercial fishing operation.
  2. The total debts must not exceed $4,031,575 for a farming operation or $1,868,200 for a fishing operation.
  3. If a family farmer, at least 50%, and if family fisherman at least 80%, of the total debts must be related to the farming or fishing operation.
  4. More than 50% of the gross income of the individual or the husband and wife for the preceding tax year must have come from the farming or commercial fishing operation.
 
Chapter 12 is less complicated, and less expensive than chapter 11, but allows for more debt than a chapter 13 because Chapter 13 is designed for wage earners who have smaller debts than those facing farmers. In chapter 12, Congress sought to combine the features of the Bankruptcy Code which can provide a framework for successful family farmer and fisherman reorganizations.
The only a family farmer or fisherman with "regular annual income" may file chapter 12, but the chapter 12 makes allowance farmers and fishermen whose income is seasonal. 
 
If you have any questions about bankruptcy, contact the attorneys at Fears Nachawati today. Call 1.866.705.7584 or send an email to fears@fnlawfirm.com for a free consultation.
 

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

When a debtor files for bankruptcy the court charges a filing fee to file the case.  For a chapter 7 case the courts charge a $245 case filing fee, a $75 miscellaneous administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge.  These fees are paid to the clerk when the case is filed. Although with a chapter 7 case a debtor can request to pay the filing fee in installments or have the fee waived. 

If the Debtor is asks the court to pay the fee in installments the number of installments is limited to four, and the final payment must be made no later than 120 days after the case is filed.  For cause shown, the court may extend the deadline, but the last payment then must be paid not later than 180 days after the case is filed.  Failure to pay these fees may result in the case being dismissed. 
 
If the debtor's is unable to pay in installments and the income is less than 150% of the poverty level, the court may waive the filing fee. 
 
For a chapter 13 case the courts charge a $235 case filing fee and a $75 miscellaneous administrative fee.  The debtor may also request to pay these fees in installments or for the fee to be waived, however the Debtor must also make a chapter 13 plan payments so the Debtor must have sufficient income to pay the plan to remain in the case. 
 
If you have any questions about  Bankruptcy or filing fees, contact the attorneys at Fears Nachawati today. Call 1.866.705.7584 or send an email to fears@fnlawfirm.com for a free consultation.

What is a Chapter 7?

A chapter 7 is a liquidation chapter. This means that a chapter 7 Trustee can sell or liquidate property to pay off your creditors. A chapter 7 Trustee can only sell property that is non-exempt. Most Debtors will find that all of their property is exempt.  Each state has its own exemption laws and some states opt into the federal exemptions. You should contact an attorney to discuss the exemptions that will apply in your case.  Generally, the debtor’s house, car, household furniture, electronics and pets will all be exempt. 
 
If there are no assets then a chapter 7 Trustee will issue a report to the court stating that they did not liquidate any property.  Then the case will proceed to discharge and be closed. If a Trustee does determine that there are assets to sell he will file a notice with the court and the creditors and proceed to sell the assets. The Debtor will receive a discharge but the case will not close until the assets have been sold and creditors have been paid in whole or in part.
 
In order to initiate a chapter 7 case a debtor files a petition with the bankruptcy court for the area the debtor lives.  In addition to the petition, the debtor must also file schedules of assets and liabilities; a schedule of current income and expenses and a statement of financial affairs
 
 After the case is filed the debtor must also provide a copy of the tax return for the most recent tax year to the chapter 7 Trustee assigned to the case. These must be sent 7 days prior to the 341 meeting or the case may be dismissed.  Debtors whose debts are primarily consumer debt have additional requirements. They must file: a certificate of credit counseling and all pay stubs if any received in the 60 days before filing. 
 
If you have any questions about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, contact the attorneys at Fears Nachawati today. Call 1.866.705.7584 or send an email to fears@fnlawfirm.com for a free consultation.
 

Credit Scores (Part 2)

In part two of our blog on credit scores, we will discuss how to rebuild your credit score after completing a bankruptcy.

 
While the filing of bankruptcy places a negative report on your credit, rebuilding your credit rating after completing a bankruptcy is a manageable task.  Once completing a bankruptcy, the debtor’s credit report will not reflect a positive credit history, which makes up the largest influence on the overall credit score.  Also included in credit history, is the public record of filing bankruptcy.
One method of keeping at least some positive credit history after completing a bankruptcy is reaffirming debts during a Chapter 7.  In the typical case, debtors have the option of reaffirming their secured debts, including mortgages, car notes, and debts secured by other property such as furniture or electronics.  After reaffirming those debts, the terms essentially stay in place as if they were not including in the bankruptcy.  The payment history for reaffirmed debts should continue to reflect the payments made prior to, and after, the bankruptcy has been completed.
 
Even if there are reaffirmed debts after a bankruptcy, debtors will need to establish a positive credit history to help rebuild their credit after the completion of their case.  One method of establishing a positive credit history is to open, and use, a credit card after discharge.  While many debtors believe they will be unable to qualify for a credit card after bankruptcy, they will likely get inundated with credit card offers soon after their discharge.  Although there is generally a negative perception to one’s ability to maintain credit with a bankruptcy on their record, many lenders will offer credit to recent bankruptcy filers because their debt has likely been eliminated and they are ineligible for another discharge for eight years.  
 
It is important to note that any credit cards obtained after a recent discharge will likely come with unfavorable terms and high interest rates.  Accordingly, it is generally considered the better practice to open one or two secured credit credits after bankruptcy.  Secured credit cards work like regular credit cards but require a security deposit to open which generally range between $500-$1,500.  The deposit typically becomes the credit limit for the card.  As with unsecured credit cards, each offer varying terms and differing interest rates.  When using the card to establish and build credit, it is important to use the card each month and pay off the entire balance.  Prior to signing up for a secured credit card, you will want to ensure the issuer reports to all three major credit bureaus.  After a period of making regular payments on time, you will eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card at near market terms.
 
After building a positive credit history through the use of credit cards, you can eventually look to purchase a car or even a house.  Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) loans are available to former debtors after 2 years from a Chapter 7 discharge.  In addition, FHA loans may be obtained during a Chapter 13 after one year of timely plan payments.  These timelines may be adjusted if the borrower provides an explanation of extenuating circumstances which led to the bankruptcy filing along with their application for the FHA loan.
 
When working to reestablish your credit and build a favorable credit score, it is important to continue to monitor your credit report for errors and inconsistencies.  While there are Credit Repair companies willing to assist, these companies are generally perceived as a scam.  Disputes to information on the credit report can be done effectively on a “Do-it-Yourself” basis.  Most disputes can be completed online at through the websites for the three major credit reporting companies.
 
GUIDELINE FOR IMPROVING CREDIT
 
Below is a suggestion for steps to take following bankruptcy to rebuild credit:
 
1) Get a Credit Report and Check Your Score
 
Credit reports can be obtained for free from each agency once per year.  After completing a bankruptcy, it is important to review the credit report to check for any errors.  Make sure debts which were discharged are reflected correctly.  Also ensure that any debts which were reaffirmed continue to show the credit history.  Dispute any inconsistencies with the credit agencies.  
 
2) Open a Bank Account
 
If you do not already have a checking or savings account, open a new account.  Get an account that allows automatic bill pay and set it up to prevent missed or late payments.
 
3) Apply for a Secured Credit Card
 
Although you will receive offers for unsecured credit cards shortly after completing bankruptcy, secured credit cards will likely provide better terms and lower limits which should help prevent falling back into debt.  The credit limit on secured credit cards is generally the deposit required to open the account.
 
4) Pay Off the Balance Every Month
 
Make sure to use the card to make small purchases every month.  Having an open credit card without any usage does not help build credit.  It is also important to pay the balance in full on time each month.  The amount of debt owed makes up a large portion of the credit score.  Because the credit limit is likely to be small when opening secured credit cards, it is best to not leave running balances on the cards from month to month.  Paying off the balance in full also prevents accruing interest.
 
5) Continue to Monitor Your Credit
 
Continue to pull a credit report and monitor for inconsistencies.  Make sure any new accounts are showing their timely payments and continue to dispute any incorrect information.  As previously mentioned, you are entitled to one free credit report per agency per year.  It is best to spread these free reports over the year and obtain a report every 3-4 months from one agency at a time.

If you have any questions about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, contact the attorneys at Fears Nachawati today. Call 1.866.705.7584 or send an email to fears@fnlawfirm.com for a free consultation.