Hiring Coverage Counsel or Local Counsel for Bankruptcy Cases in the Middle District of Florida
Debtors in the Tampa Bay area who file for bankruptcy often owe money to creditors outside the state of Florida. There are many reasons that a creditor may need to hire an attorney when a debtor files for bankruptcy, or may need general counsel to get involved in the bankruptcy case. This can get especially complicated when the creditor does not currently work with legal counsel that is admitted to practice before the bankruptcy court in which the debtor filed for bankruptcy. Although consumer bankruptcy cases—Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy—largely rely on the federal law set forth in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, creditors outside the state still need to have attorneys who are admitted to practice in the Middle District of Florida.
More frequently, Chapter 11 cases and adversary bankruptcy proceedings often involve parties from other states who need to be represented in the Tampa bankruptcy case. With our office two blocks from the federal courthouse, it is convenient for us to provide representation to these parties directly, or though their general counsel.
At Samantha L. Dammer, we regularly assist businesses outside the state of Florida who have debtors that have filed for bankruptcy in the Tampa area. An experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney can speak with you today about the ways in which we can assist with your case.
Getting Admitted to Practice Before the Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida for Out-of-State Attorneys
If you are a company located outside the state of Florida with a debtor in the Tampa Bay area, why do you need to work with a bankruptcy attorney who is admitted to practice in the Middle District of Florida? As an FAQ sheet from the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida explains, “an out-of-state attorney who desires to appear in a particular bankruptcy case is required to file a motion for permission to appear ‘pro hac vice.’” In other words, all attorneys who want to appear before the bankruptcy court must be admitted.
The process of obtaining permission to appear in a bankruptcy matter pro hac vice in Florida can be a lengthy process. In many instances, a Tampa bankruptcy attorney can handle your bankruptcy matter for you.
Attorneys with Experience Handling Bankruptcy Cases in Florida Courts
In addition to the issues surrounding being admitted to practice in the Middle District of Florida, it can also be much easier to have local counsel with experience in bankruptcy laws that are specific to Florida. Most significantly, debtors who file for bankruptcy in the Middle District of Florida will most likely use the Florida bankruptcy exemptions. As such, it is important to have an understanding of how the Florida bankruptcy exemptions can affect creditors and creditors’ rights in bankruptcy proceedings.
How are the Florida bankruptcy exemptions different from the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the state-specific exemptions in other states? Most notably, the homestead exemption under Florida law (Florida Statute Section 222.01) is extremely generous, allowing debtors to exempt an unlimited amount in real property as long as the property size does not exceed certain size restrictions. In addition, if a debtor claims a homestead exemption, she or he only can exempt up to $1,000 of personal property, but that amount increases to $4,000 (and doubles if a married couple is filing for bankruptcy) if no homestead exemption is claimed.
There are also other exemptions under Florida law that are not common in other states. For instance, Florida law (Florida Statute Section 222.22) has an exemption for prepaid hurricane savings accounts. It can be beneficial to work with coverage counsel or local counsel with experience handling bankruptcy cases involving the Florida bankruptcy exemptions.
Contact a Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Attorney
There are numerous reasons that an out-of-state company may want to work with coverage counsel or local counsel on a bankruptcy case in the Middle District of Florida. If a debtor has filed for bankruptcy in Florida and you are a creditor, do not hesitate to discuss your options with a Tampa bankruptcy attorney. We have experience assisting clients both inside and outside Florida with a wide variety of bankruptcy matters, including adversary proceedings. Contact Samantha L. Dammer today for more information about how we can assist you. You can also call us at 813-221-3759.