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Dan Cohn devotes his practice to financially distressed businesses and is recognized as one of New England's best-known counsel to troubled companies. His experience includes Chapter 11 reorganizations and sales, out-of-court debt restructurings, troubled company acquisitions, trust mortgages and assignments for benefit of creditors, and representation of directors and officers, equity sponsors, litigation defendants, trustees, landlords, suppliers, tort claimants and creditors' committees.

Dan is also a trained mediator and frequent lecturer on bankruptcy law.  A fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, he now serves on its national Board of Directors and formerly served as the College's regent for the First Circuit.  Dan is listed in America’s Leading Business Lawyers (Chambers & Partners USA).

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a creditor who deliberately files a bankruptcy proof of claim for a time-barred claim does not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Midland Funding v. Johnson, No. 16-348, 581 U.S. __ (May 15, 2017) (slip op.). The 5-3 decision authored by Justice Stephen Breyer was met with a blistering dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  While the decision will help unscrupulous debt collectors, it will likely hurt legitimate creditors such as banks.

The FDCPA imposes penalties for “unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692f. All states have statutes of limitation setting a time limit on bringing certain types of lawsuits.  Once the limitations period has passed, a creditor may not sue to collect the debt.  The debt does, however, in some sense continue to exist.  If the debtor chooses to repay a time-barred debt, the creditor can keep the money.  As a banker, please be sure to send a thank-you note when this happens; you’ll be in no danger of writers’ cramp given the infrequency of the occurrence.

Continue Reading A “Pro-Creditor” Supreme Court Decision That Does No Favor for Banks