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Practice Pointers: When Bankruptcy and Consumer-Protection Statutes Collide

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 74 minutes
Recorded Date: July 13, 2019
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  • Fair Credit Reporting in the Shadow of Bankruptcy
  • Basics for the Putative Plaintiff: Pleading Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Advising the Furnisher: Reporting Credit Information of Consumer Debtors
  • Beyond the FRCA: Common Liability Problems for Plaintiffs and Defendants
Runtime: 1 hour and 14 minutes
Recorded: July 13, 2019


The same circumstances that lead debtors to bankruptcy often give rise to claims under various consumer-protection statutes. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mortgage-servicing rules, and similar consumer-protection rules and statutes can have substantial impacts on the creditor/debtor relationship. Whether you represent business or consumer debtors, creditors, or estate fiduciaries, an understanding of how consumer-protection statutes intersect with bankruptcy will help you deal with the opportunities and challenges that your clients might face when bankruptcy and consumer-protection laws meet. The panelists will discuss practical implications of the common intersection of consumer-protection statutes and bankruptcy.

This program was recorded as part of ABI's 2019 Northeastern Bankruptcy Conference & Consumer Forum on July 13th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute
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Sarah Petrie

Assistant Attorney General
Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

Sarah Petrie is an Associate Attorney General at the Massachusetts Attorney's General office.

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Justin A. Kesselman

Arent Fox LLP

Justin’s litigation practice includes advising clients and resolving disputes over commercial transactions, trademark enforcement, fiduciary duties, employment relationships, fraud, unfair trade practices, and other issues facing businesses and business owners. Justin also has significant experience handling bankruptcy matters and out-of-court insolvency situations, including avoidance actions, distressed asset sales, assignments for the benefit of creditors, and business reorganizations.

Prior to joining the firm, Justin served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. During law school, he interned for the Honorable Frank J. Bailey of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. Prior to attending law school, Justin managed a large regional restaurant and brewery for several years.Justin was previously an Associate at Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP.

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Hon. Diane Finkle

U.S. Bankruptcy Court - District of Rhode Island

Diane Finkle is a judge for the United States bankruptcy court, District of Rhode Island and replaced Judge Arthur Votolato, who retired at the end of July 2012.[1] She was appointed on September 6, 2012.

Finkle began her career in 1981 with Thomas F. Kelleher as his law clerk. She also practiced law for thirty years with the firm of Winograd Shine Land & Finkle, P.C. There she worked with bankruptcy and state receivership law. In her career, she has "represented debtors, secured creditors, creditors’ committees in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and served as counsel to bankruptcy trustees." Finkle was also "a court-appointed receiver for various manufacturing, service and retail businesses and commercial and residential real estate developments."

Finkle received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her J.D. from George Washington University.

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Steven J. Boyajian

Robinson & Cole LLP

Steven Boyajian, a member of the firm’s Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group, focuses his practice on bankruptcy, creditors' rights, and litigation involving real estate and business disputes. He frequently represents financial institutions, private lenders, purchasers of distressed assets, landlords, title insurers, suppliers, and professional service providers.

Steve represents financial institutions and private lenders in the enforcement of their rights under credit documents, including through litigation, conduct of secured party sales, foreclosures, and workouts. He develops and executes offensive and defensive strategies for creditors who are confronted by insolvency related risks.

Steve has successfully worked to make his clients financially whole. After a borrower fraudulently transferred funds into a real estate holding company, he obtained full recovery of the money, with fees and interest, for the lender. In another matter, Steve helped a lender obtain full payment, fees, and interest in under a year, by negotiating the restructuring of a multimillion dollar credit facility.

Steve assists lenders, asset purchasers, landlords, trade creditors, insurers, creditors’ committees and trustees in all stages of bankruptcy and receivership proceedings, including relief from stay and cash collateral hearings, preference and fraudulent transfer litigation, asset sales, and confirmation proceedings. His experience in bankruptcy and receivership allows him to foresee the legal risks his clients may be exposed to as their borrowers approach insolvency, allowing him to protect clients’ interests and assets. He successfully helped a client, a secured creditor, get full recovery of its multimillion dollar claim, including interest and fees, from a debtor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a lengthy confirmation process involving competing plans of reorganization.

Steve represents owners, lenders and title insurers in all real estate litigation, including contested foreclosures, challenges to the validity of mortgages, evictions, prescriptive easements and adverse possession, tax appeals, tax sales, and title insurance coverage matters. He has defended multiple claims concerning the alleged invalidity of consumer mortgages and pending foreclosures, including cases in a master docket of over 800 cases in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

Steve helps clients involved in all manner of business disputes, including litigation of professional liability matters, business torts, breach of contract claims, and shareholder disputes. He has a record of achieving success on clients’ behalf, such as working with a team to obtain summary judgment in favor of a national actuarial firm which had faced allegations of malpractice.

Steve is committed to pro bono work. He participates in the Rhode Island Bar Association’s Elderly Pro Bono Program by assisting elderly individuals faced with collection actions. He is on the Town Council in Barrington, Rhode Island. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Day One, an organization which advocates for victims of sexual abuse and violence.

Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Steve was with a boutique bankruptcy firm in Providence, Rhode Island, where he counseled clients on all aspects of receivership proceedings and related litigation and in all stages of bankruptcy. While in law school, he worked for the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

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