By John G. Merna
Peninsula consumer bankruptcy filings in the Newport News Bankruptcy Court have dropped 8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 over the same time last year.
What does that mean? Are things getting better in Newport News and surrounding areas? Is the recession over? Or have people just forgotten how to file bankruptcy? If bankruptcy filings are a sign, indications are that the economy is getting better.
From January to March 2013, 290 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases were filed in the Newport News bankruptcy court and 188 Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases were filed. Last year at the same time 336 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases and 184 Chapter 13 cases were filed in the Newport News Division of the Eastern District of Virginia Bankruptcy Court. This does not include Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings which are a reorganization for companies and large debt holders.
The Newport News bankruptcy court is located downtown 2400 West Avenue, Suite 110. The bankruptcy courthouse is new and was previously located on the second floor of the old post office building on 101 25th Street, Newport News. The two federal bankruptcy judges, Chief Judge Stephen St. John and Judge Frank J. Santoro, split their time between hearing cases in the Norfolk bankruptcy court and the Newport News bankruptcy court.
The Newport News Bankruptcy Division covers the following cities and counties: Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Gloucester, Hayes, Matthew and James City Counties.
The economic recovery on the Peninsula can in many ways be attributed to the military presence and government funds helping the economy.