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Are there any IL Ch 7 bankruptcy exemptions for EEOC conciliation settlements?

Belvidere, IL |

Im a single mom supporting a family of 3 on less than $700 a month (exempt) and cant afford an attny.

Just had my (pro-se) Ch7 trustee meeting and was notified today of eligibility??? for a $60k EEOC conciliation award for employment discrimination in 2009 . IF this is real, 50% is being paid as back wages on a W2 (earned but unpaid wages?)and 50% as non-wages damages.

Can I use the following exemptions?

* the greater of 85% of gross or 45X fed min hrly wage for the $30k in earned/unpaid wages (735 ILCS5/12-803; 740 ILCS 170/4
* amt remaining under $4k wildcard for part of the 15% not incl above
* 100% of the $30k award for compensation for a crime under 755 ILCS 5/12-1001; 740 ILCS 45/18

And do I report this by filing amended schedules B, C , I and J?

State of IL just intercepted $700 of my 100% exempt EITC government benefit from my tax return to collect their back taxes. I was hoping to use that money to secure an attorney. Found one who will take my case for $500 (he hasnt told me what he will DO yet) so now I hve $506 for the rest of the month, and $900 worth of bills due and again, no resources to secure an attorney. .

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I think it would be advisable to get an attorney. On the wildcard exemption that can be used for any personal property of the debtor and your lawsuit up to $4,000. On the other two exemptions it would require research by the attorney. 735 ILCS 5-12-803 is for protecting income already generated from a garnishment and a review of case law and the award would be necessary. On the 755 5/12-1001 that would also need to be researched. You can claim any exemption but the question is going to be whether or not it is valid and whether the trustee objects to it. The two I mentioned would likely garner an objection. The wildcard would not. It is advisable to get an attorney.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response. I only have about $2k left on the wildcard with which to protect this. And if that's all I CAN protect, I'm ok with that, especially if it means that the secured debts and priority unsecured debts are addressed before the unsecured debts. What other exemptions might be viable ? Case law on ~803 can go either way from what I've found in IL bankruptcy filings. Its not a given, but at times it has been allowed. I've found the case referencing both kinds of decisions. Yes, I understand that I can claim any exemption and that its up to the creditors to challenge it. Do you have any suggestions on where I can find research on 12-1001? googling so far hasnt been productive. thank you.

Marc Gregory Wagman

Marc Gregory Wagman

Posted

I doubt googling it would lead to any results. Either Lexus or Westlaw may or may not be productive, my guess this would be an issue of first impression. It is unlikely that the creditors would object to the exemption it would be the trustee who does it. I would again say that you need an attorney.

Marc Gregory Wagman

Marc Gregory Wagman

Posted

On the crime victim exemption I think it would be very unlikely that it would apply. The statute from my reading of it says that it is for compensation for violent crime. An EEOC claim certainly would not fit into that definition.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again for your response. I understand that I need an attorney. I've been talking to attorneys for over two years and cant find any who will take my case. I cant make my monthly expenses as it is. How how do you recommend that I go about finding one?

Paula Brown Sinclair

Paula Brown Sinclair

Posted

Bankruptcy attorneys come in many varieties, some distressingly less diligent than others. Your exemption issues require aggressive and knowledgeable representation by someone not afraid of litigation. As a group, members of NACBA meet this definition. Use the attorney-finder at www.nacba.org. good luck to you.

Posted

You need a lawyer, badly. Very badly. I understand you think you can't afford one, but that decision could be a very, very costly one already. Depending on what you originally scheduled, a Trustee might object to all your exemptions for the asset. You may have cost yourself many thousands of dollars by not having a lawyer and discussing this issue before filing. You most definitely need one now.

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Posted

Thank you for this response. I have talked with several attorneys before filing. The decision to file pro se was not taken lightly, and actually, I was backed into a corner in doing so because I needed the automatic stay. If you can offer a solution as to *how* I can secure the attorney that you say I need badly, I would be very open to your suggestions. I've attempted to secure an attorney for two years before filing but haven't found any who are willing to take my case,. I qualify for legal aid, but this case does not.

Posted

PLEASE, do not try to handle this bankruptcy on your own. If you don't do the 50+ page petition correctly, it could cost you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ thousands.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.

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Posted

Thank you for your comments. I've already done the petition and been granted a waiver of filing fees--frankly--because I've tried for two years to secure an attorney and none have been willing or able to work with my circumstances--and I just couldnt wait any longer. My income and assets are collection proof. If you have any suggestions as to how to secure an attorney who is willing to work take the case pro-bono, I would be very grateful for the advice.

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