Barack Ferrazzano is pleased to congratulate partner and co-chair of the Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights Group William J. Barrett on his recent victory representing a pro bono client filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The case is In re: Bukovics v. Navient (case no. 17 A 00186).

Student loan discharges in bankruptcy are very difficult to obtain. The law requires that the person seeking the discharge show that he/she will suffer an “undue hardship” if the loan is not discharged. The courts have previously held that “undue hardship” essentially requires proof that, considering the debtor’s level of education and work and income experience, it is nearly impossible that the loan could ever be repaid. This is a much more severe standard than the test for discharge applied to most other debts. Bill persuaded the court both that the existing standard as developed in case law was more demanding than what the statute required, and that in any event his client met the more severe standard. The Honorable Judge Jack B. Schmetterer ordered the debt discharged.

Over the last three decades, Bill has handled virtually all manner of complex bankruptcy issues, including representing secured creditors, landlords, franchisors, suppliers, avoidance action defendants and asset purchasers in Chapter 11 cases and other insolvency proceedings. He has also been selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America© (2015-2020).

In an interview regarding this case, Bill told the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), "It would have been cheaper for [the] Firm to pay off the student loans than to devote the time necessary for the client to win a discharge of the debt."

To read more about the case, visit: https://www.abi.org/newsroom/daily-wire/must-a-debtor-be-destitute-before-discharging-student-loans 

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