Skip to main content
Matthew Scott Berkus

Matthew Berkus’s Answers

6,715 total


  • I was mistreated by campus security in a residence hall from a university. What can I do legally to get justice?

    I have severe anxiety that the school has on record from a doctor that wasn't taken into consideration. Two campus security officers forced me to move out of my dorm, and to pack everything I owned very quickly. They didn't tell me where I was goi...

    Matthew’s Answer

    I doubt there is a viable lawsuit here, but as to your question; the type of attorney with whom you would speak is a personal injury attorney or general civil litigation attorney. But candidly, you would spend more money on the lawsuit than you would likely recover, assuming you can find an attorney that thinks you have a case. What is the measure of your outrage...do even have, or are willing to part with, $10,000 to "start" a lawsuit?

    See question 
  • How can I obtain the title to my car after Chapter 7 bankruptcy Discharge?

    My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy was discharged in May of 2015. The full amount of my auto loan was also discharged. The car lender listed on my resent credit report under status: " Discharged through bankruptcy Chapter 7/ Never late. And Recent balance r...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The lender has a secured claim against the vehicle. A bankruptcy does not vacate, void, or discharge that secured claim (i.e. lien). The bankruptcy discharges your "personal" obligation to pay the loan (hence, that is why it is reported the way it is on your credit report). Think of it like this, the car is also liable for the debt. You filed bankruptcy, not your car. You discharged your obligation on the car loan, but not the car's obligation.

    If there was still a balance due on the loan when you filed the bankruptcy case, you don't get title. You still need to pay off the secured claim in order to get title. Note, if you haven't been making payments, you may be in for a repossession surprise.

    See question 
  • If my court appointed juvenile attorney quits isn't the state of Washington required to provide me with another attorney

    My juvenile court appointed attorney quit in January I have had 2-3 court dates sense then but another attorney was not assigned to my case. This week the court told me to come in and fill out paper work to see if I still qualify for a appointed a...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Then, you should go in and fill out the paperwork, the court still needs to make a determination of eligibility.

    See question 
  • How much does it cost to file chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    I need to file bankruptcy, but don't have a whole lot of money. I need to file chapter 7 bankruptcy. I have over 15,000, but not credit card debt.

    Matthew’s Answer

    More than you "want" to pay, less than you "should" pay. However, legal services, including bankruptcy are still a custom service, so to find out how much "your" bankruptcy will cost you will need to meet with lawyers and discuss the details of your situation so you can receive realistic and fair quotes for "your specific" case.

    See question 
  • Can I sue the coach who supervised the weight room at a high school for my son's herniated disc, which required surgery?

    My son was 15 at time. Taking the class because it was part of football and required to graduate. My grievance is the boys were not properly supervised in the weight room and my son tried to lift too much, thereby injuring his back. The injury ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Not likely. Failure to supervise is a subjective determination. You have your opinion, the school has its. It is unlikely the court is going to find any sort of negligence on the part of the school on the contention that the coach "should" have been more involved. Unless the coach dropped the weight on top of your son and that caused the injury, a case is unlikely. Also, as Donald points out, public schools tend to immune from suits for negligence. Also, whether you realize it or not, you probably signed or are subject to a waiver of liability regarding injuries sustained while participating in sports or sports related activity.

    By all means, speak to a personal injury lawyer and get a case assessment, but you have to act fast, assuming you can sue and immunity doesn't apply, you have to notify the school district in pretty short order (think in terms of a few month) of your intent to sue.

    See question 
  • Can I sue a school district for being kicked out when I was 17 yrs old

    When I was in high school I was kicked out because the principle said I was 18 yrs old but I told him I was 17yrs old but he would not listen now 15 yrs latter I want to attend adult school and I noticed on my transcript they had my bday informat...

    Matthew’s Answer

    As Robert states, even if you "could have" sued (not likely), 15 years after the fact is too late. Also, why didn't you get a hold of your birth certificate and provide it to the school before you got kicked out. It seems like this would have been a really easy dispute to resolve?

    See question 
  • Does a college have to notify students before increasing tuition fees?

    I wanted to know if the students had to be notified before increase in fees because our college increased the fees and students were not notified of it.

    Matthew’s Answer

    Depends on context. Generally, school does not increase fees "during" a semester for "THAT" semester. But, presumably, you would get a bill for next semester stating what the costs will be for that semester...that is your notice.

    See question 
  • Do bankruptcy attorneys have the right to charge twice for a case that has not been resolved with the court?

    He charged her 1,500.00 and then when the case was dismissed without prejudice, because he did not want to include a vehicle that he had recommended she buy, she did not want to fraud the government. He is now charging her another 1,500.00 to incl...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Bankruptcy representation is a discrete service, representation runs form when the person hires the attorney to the end point in the case...that endpoint is usually one of (1) discharge, (2) dismissal, (3) closure, or (4) attorney withdrawal; whichever occurs first. So, if the first case ended in dismissal, that ended the attorneys representation. If the person wanted to do another bankruptcy with that attorney, it is entirely legitimate to charge another fee.

    Now, there appear to be some extenuating circumstances, but what you describe as happening doesn't make much sense...it is not at all clear why the case was dismissed. But, to your core question, can attorney charge 2 bankruptcy fees for 2 SEPARATE BANKRUPTCIES, YES.

    See question 
  • CHapter 13 eligibility on debt amount and 11 U.S.C. 109(e)

    I have debts totalling much less then the allowed under the eligibility requirements of 11 U.S.C. 109(e), however after filing my petition, someone filed a claim of $475,000 which is a frivolous claim and has no merit, but nonetheless causes me tr...

    Matthew’s Answer

    And you haven't had this discussion with your attorney...why? Given the way attorney fees are structured in chapter 13 and the complexity of chapter 13, it baffles me why anyone would not hire an attorney? In fact, if a person, in reality, cannot afford an attorney, that is almost a sure sign that they should NOT be filing chapter 13. It is like a litmus test, if you can't afford to hire an attorney in chapter 13, you can't successfully do a chapter 13.

    As to your question, You have to respond to the motion to dismiss as to both form and substance. First, did you list this person as a creditor on your petition. The person thinks you owe something...you believe it is frivolous (and maybe it is), but there are 2 sides to every story. The court is not going to assume the claim is frivolous. You said this person filed claim; I assume, you mean the person filed a proof of claim. The first thing you must do is object to that proof of claim. However, that is probably not going to be enough. You will likely also need to file an adversary proceeding. However, only after a review of the claim and circumstances could anyone even remotely advise on a strategy for you. Yes, ,you could ask the court to delay ruling on the motion to dismiss, but you still need to substantively respond to the motion to dismiss and you must properly object and raise your defense (which might mean filing an adversary proceeding).

    Do yourself a favor, if you don't have an attorney, now is the time to get one. You have obviously stepped into a pile of something, time to get an attorney with a large shovel as opposed to you with your baby spoon to clean up the mess.

    See question 
  • Questions for an attorney regarding credit and collections.

    I have an old debt that was sold off from the original creditor about 5yrs ago to Midland Funding. There has been absolutely no activity on this account for many years. Midland is now trying to sue me and place a Judgement. I'm trying to figure...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You can file a Motion to Dismiss (although, check your court's rules of procedure regarding pre-answer motions if you have not filed your answer). Another responder said the statute of limitations was 6 years (I don't know what the SOL is in GA, but the SOL is 6 years also in CO), so assuming that is the case, you need to have some evidence that the Date of Last Activity was 6 years prior to you being served (or prior to the case being filed with court...again, which event (service or filing) triggers the end of the SOL is up to the rules of procedure). Generally, for credit card debts, the SOL clock starts ticking on the date of default (it is upon default that the creditor has a mature right to sue). Default occurs on the date of the first missed payment + any grace period.

    For example, let's say you made your last payment on the account on November 5, 1999 and the due date of payment is the 10th of each month and you have a 5 day payment grace period. The SOL clock would start on December 16, 1999. After November 5th, your next payment was due December 10 and you didn't make that payment. The grace period expired December 15, so the first day the creditor "could have" sued you is December 16, that is the date used to calculate the start of the 6 year statute of limitations.

    Now, there are a host of exceptions and events that could have paused the SOL (e.g. the filing of bankruptcy, leaving the country, making even a $1 payment, making a written acknowledgement of the debt, etc.).

    If you really want to fight the fight over the SOL, hire a debtor advocate attorney.

    See question