Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oregon Chapter 13 Distributions to General Unsecured Creditors: How Different from the Rest of the Country? Differences Btw. Trustees Long and Lynch?

By Andrew Toth-Fejel, Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys, Andy@BLSforAttorneys.com


Comparing the Oregon Chapter 13 cases administered by the trustees Fred Long and Brian Lynch against the national averages, for the Chapter 13 cases which were successfully completed during Fiscal Year 2007 (Oct. '06 - Sept. '07), 1) there is a substantially larger portion of 0% plans in the Oregon cases than the national average; 2) the portion that had paid 70% or more to general unsecured creditors is about the same as the national average; and 3) the portion that paid between 1% and 69% is somewhat lower than the national average.

(NOTE: during this fiscal year, these two trustees administered 98.9% of the cases successfully completed in Oregon. See below for information on the cases administered by the 3rd standing trustee, Robert Ridgway.)

1) 0% Plans:
Nationally, 6.5% of the cases completed successfully had 0% plans, compared to 23.0% for cases administered by Mr. Long and 30.0% for cases administered by Mr. Lynch. Thus the proportion of 0% plan cases in Oregon were about three & a half to four & a half TIMES greater than the national average.

2) 70+% Plans:
Nationally, 29.4% of the cases completed successfully had 70% or higher plans, compared to slightly lower, 27.0%, for cases administered by Mr. Long and slightly higher, 31.2%, for cases administered by Mr. Lynch.

3) 1% - 69% Plans:
Nationally, 61.9% of the cases completed successfully had plans from 1% through 69%, compared to somewhat lower, 50.0%, for cases administered by Mr. Long and much lower, 36.4%, for cases administered by Mr. Lynch. The subset of this group with plans from 40% through 69% had very similar proportions among the national averages and Mr. Long & Mr. Lynch, 11.1%, 8.2% & 8.5% respectively, meaning that most of the differences in the 1% through 69% set was in the other subset, from 1% through 39%, with proportions of 50.8%, 41.8% and 27.9%, respectively. One statistical corollary of this is that it seems clear that nationally a large majority of Chapter 13 plans that could not be 0% plans for some reason--such as trustees' or courts' reluctance to approve them--nevertheless ended up as still relatively low percentage plans, 39% or lower. In other words, the combination of the 0% category--much higher than average in Oregon, and the 1% through 39% category--lower than average in Oregon, resulted in similar proportions of 0% through 39% plans nationally and Long and Lynch, all within 5 percentage points of 60% of all completed cases.


1) Where similar:
Repeating some of the information above for convenience, there is very little percentage difference between trustees Long and Lynch within successfully completed Ch. 13 cases in the 70+% and 40%-69% categories, with the Lynch cases slightly higher in these two categories, 31.2% and 8.5%, compared to Long's at 27.0% and 8.2%.

2) Where different:
Lynch has meaningfully more 0% cases, 30.0%, than Long, with 23.0%, but Long more than makes up for that in the 1% through 39% category, with 41.8%, and Lynch with 27.9%.

(Also, somewhat oddly Long indicated no cases whatsoever where there were no unsecured creditors, although Lynch had 24. One wonders whether this is a data-gathering/reporting error. In all three tables--for converted and dismissed cases, not just successfully completed ones, Long shows no cases whatsoever whereas the other two do on each table, even Ridgway with his very small total number of cases.)

Robert Ridgway had only 20 completed cases during this period and, with such a small sample size, comparisons to the other two trustees are not very meaningful. However it is worth noting that of those 20 cases 65% were 70+% distributions, much higher than the national average and the other two trustees. And there were no 0% cases, in contrast to a 6.5% national average and 23.0% and 30.0%, significant portions of the total, for Long & Lynch, respectively. As time goes on we will see whether these are just statistical aberrations or instead reflect meaningful differences.

The Trustee's Annual Reports provide the statistics for distributions to unsecured creditors in not just successfully completed cases but also converted cases and dismissed ones. See the last two tables below. There are no meaningful distinctions here between trustees Long and Lynch (other than the "No Unsec'd Claims" reference above). Nor for that matter does there seem to be much meaning to be gleaned from this information beyond the commonsensical observations that the vast majority of dismissed cases paid out very little to unsecured creditors and among converted cases even less was paid out to these creditors.


70% or MORE 40%-69% 1-39% 0% NO UN-
Long 201 61 311 171 0
Lynch 314 85 281 301 24
Ridgway 13 2 3 0 2
National Totals 40,676 15,333 70,165 8,941 3,105
National Average Per Trustee 212 80 365 47 16



70% or MORE 40%-69% 1-39% 0% NO UN-
Long 0 2 12 64 0
Lynch 0 1 10 61 10
Ridgway 0 0 0 0 3
National Totals 811 793 6,992 12,656 1,314
National Average Per Trustee 4 4 36 67 7


70% or MORE 40%-69% 1-39% 0% NO UN-
Long 1 7 32 229 0
Lynch 7 6 20 217 44
Ridgway 0 0 3 2 3
National Totals 4,157 2,672 19,544 53,197 4,183
National Average Per Trustee 22 14 102 277 22


NOTE: Author's note: I am not a practicing attorney,
and in this Bulletin have not attempted to give reasons
for the differences between the national and Oregon
data, or among the Oregon trustees. I have not
addressed the question "why"? But I would welcome
hearing from attorneys who believe they know
some of the reasons behind these differences.
Please click on my email address below to contact me.

Underlying data from
Chapter 13 Standing Trustee
FY07 Audited Annual Reports,
calculations by:
Andrew Toth-Fejel
Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys

© 2008 Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys