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Knock Out of Homestead Exemption -- Ediscovery and Skilled Cross Examination Get at the Truth

Schwartz v. Rodin / In re Ellen Elvie Sroog Rodin
(United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, 8/23/2013, Case No. 13-40732-RLE; Chapter 7)
We represented Creditor Schwartz 

Jay Itkowitz traveled to Oakland California to try a homestead exemption case affecting a four-family house in Yonkers, New York.  A partner of Mr. Schwartz, Ellen Rodin, had filed a Chapter 7 proceeding  and in a bid to retain her interest in the property declared the Yonker’s property as her “homestead” even though she actually lived in Berkeley, California.  Nevertheless, because homestead exemptions are liberally construed in favor of debtors and the burden of proof is on person challenging the exemption, the trial was far from a “slam dunk”.  Using documents garnered in E-Discovery, including an image of the debtor’s personal computer, Mr. Itkowitz established that the debtor never intended to live in Yonkers but instead intended to sell the property.  Following two days of testimony in Oakland California Bankruptcy Court, Honorable Judge Roger L. Efremsky sustained Mr. Schwartz’ objection to the debtor’s claim of Yonkers being her “homestead.”

Here is a link to some of the particularly compelling cross-examination of the Debtor by Mr. Itkowitz.

Link to Full Decision

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At March 6, 2014 at 1:39 PM , Blogger 0s0-Pa said...

Sure will be interesting to see how eDiscovery evolves as the digital age continues to evolve, with larger volumes of data being stored practically everywhere.


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