Henry E. Hildebrand

90 Texas L. Rev. See Also 1

PDF Document

In this Response, Chapter 13 Trustee Henry Hildebrand addresses whether the results of Professor Katherine Porter’s study warrant the conclusion that Chapter 13 is merely a pretend solution.  According to Hildebrand, the fact that debtors who failed to complete their Chapter 13 plans did not achieve the goals that they sought to accomplish when they filed for Chapter 13 is not evidence of the systemic failure of either Chapter 13 or the consumer bankruptcy system. Hildebrand argues that Porter’s study is too myopic, focusing only on the experiences of “failed” Chapter 13 debtors while ignoring the positive results that Chapter 13 has achieved for debtors who were able to complete their plans. He also posits alternative explanations for Porter’s results, including the tendency of overconfident debtors to draft unrealistic repayment plans and the failure of Chapter 13 debtors to seeks post-confirmation judicial modification of their plans.  Although he acknowledges that Porter raises valid points about the complexity of the Chapter 13 system and participants’ unrealistic expectations of future financial stability, he argues that these issues apply equally to Chapter 7 debtors and concludes that, absent more probative evidence of systemic failure, they are better solved by providing debtors with increased judicial oversight and legal assistance than by conversion to a single-chapter bankruptcy system.