Select Page

Forced laborOctober 11, 2013

by John G. Merna

Faced with the loss of operating funds on October 17th, despite the “self-funding” that has permitted the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to maintain operation during the shutdown, it is likely that Chief Judge Stephen St. John  will issue an order shortly stating that court staff are “essential” to the continued operation and processing of cases and are to remain on the job during the government shutdown.

At the beginning of the government shutdown the Administrative Office of the United States Courts issued an announcement that the judiciary would remain open through October 17, 2013.  This projection apparently was based on funding from fee income and “no-year” appropriated funds.  Spending restrictions would be in place.

However, as of today no statements have been issued  from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to explain how the bankruptcy courts will continue to fund themselves.  Several bankruptcy judges throughout the country, including in the Central District of California and the Western District of Pennsylvania, have issued orders deeming court personnel “essential” and ordering them to report during the shutdown.

Judges have a constitutional guarantee of payment, however, employees do not.  The question of the constitutionality of such orders has not been address in the public media.

Nevertheless, it is likely, in my opinion, that the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts of the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia will follow suit with similar orders to maintain case processing during the government shutdown.  The Eastern District of Virginia includes the bankruptcy courts located in Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond, and Alexandria.

Bankruptcy relief is an essential element in our financial system.  At a time when the economy is struggling, leaving taxpayers unprotected from foreclosures, garnishments, lawsuits, etc., would create pressure on the countries social welfare systems which are also not being funded during this shutdown.  Many people who could have otherwise recovered would be made homeless and jobless and would require public financial assistance were the option for bankruptcy protection not to remain in place.

On a personal note, I appreciate all the thanks from our blog readers and clients about the posting sent out to try to keep them informed about the impact of the shutdown on their cases.  To link to this stream of postings just “friend” us on Google+.  I would also appreciate if you would Google +1 this page at the top and our bankrupty page to help others find this information. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED BAR NOTICE: THESE TESTIMONIALS DO NOT GUARANTEE SIMILAR RESULTS.

 The Merna Law Group, Attorneys At Law, P.C. …kind and friendly from the start!5 Stars! “Everyone there was kind and friendly from the start and helped us with everything in a timely manner. They were never rude no matter how much we called or asked questions.” Reviewed by B.P. of Virginia Beach on Feb 20 . 
 The Merna Law Group, Attorneys At Law, P.C. Didn’t have to worry about anything!5 Stars! “Just keep providing the type of service you do. You business values are based off reliability and service. Today’s Law Offices just don’t offer that kind of experience. Didn’t have to worry about anything!!! Just being able to go on with my normal life and know that all my issues are well taken care of is a relief in itself.” Reviewed by A.P. of Virginia Beach on Mar 4 . 
 The Merna Law Group, Attorneys At Law, P.C. …overall experience was outstanding!5 Stars! “My husband and I were very happy with The Merna Law Firm. They are well organized, time manageable, and friendly. I was even able to bring my children with me if I needed to. In court, they stayed right there beside us and answered all questions we had. Our overall experience was outstanding and I am glad we were represented by the Merna Law Group.” Reviewed by A.M. of Suffolk on Mar 5 . 
 The Merna Law Group, Attorneys At Law, P.C. …debt free!5 Stars! “A friendly staff and outstanding attorney who helped me through a difficult time in my life. Thanks to everyone at the Merna Law Group who helped me move on to and new chapter in my life debt free!” Reviewed by M.F. of Norfolk on Mar 8 . 
 The Merna Law Group, Attorneys At Law, P.C. …very helpful and friendly!5 Stars! “Everyone at the office was very helpful and friendly. The attorney answered all of our questions and helped us through the entire process. He was also very helpful answering concerns that we had after the process was completed/over. Highly recommended!” Reviewed by M.E. of Virginia Beach on Mar 11 .