In Rashad Blossom’s experience in bankruptcy law, he has seen people in multiple stages of the process. In his consultations, he often hears from clients that they had a difficult time with the process of finding a bankruptcy attorney that they truly felt could help them with their circumstance. This makes sense to Blossom, who realizes that the path to finding the best bankruptcy lawyer can sometimes be lined with false hopes and bad fits. Rashad Blossom knows that the process of selecting the best bankruptcy lawyer for your specific case can be daunting if you are unsure of what qualities to look for and provides this list to assist that are currently looking.
While Rashad Blossom believes that a vast knowledgebase and experience are important in any field of law, when dealing with bankruptcy these qualities cannot be emphasized enough. You need an attorney that has a lot of experience dealing with situations like yours and it is not the time to experiment with lawyers that do not have extensive experience in the specific field. When looking for a bankruptcy attorney, Rashad Blossom urges people to look at a few specifics. For example, how many years has your potential attorney been practicing bankruptcy law? How many cases do they handle? It is also good to know if they have handled Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings and how often they tend to be successful.
Word of mouth and online reviews are extremely useful for figuring out the reputation of your potential bankruptcy attorney. You want a lawyer that is well respected and has a reputation for being just and dedicated to his or her field. Reviews on Better Business Bureau and other resources can be a great way to determine if the lawyer you are thinking of hiring has done well by their other clients. In a situation like dealing with bankruptcy filing and their direct conclusions, you need someone that will stand by you and give their all to the case.
In order to have a strong working relationship with your bankruptcy attorney, you will need to be at ease and comfortable with them and the way they handle themselves. One of the most indispensable qualities of a suitable bankruptcy attorney is empathy. Rashad Blossom recognizes that empathy is important to have in the industry for several reasons. For example, for best results, an attorney needs to have a vested interest in your case and its success. The desire of an attorney to learn all of the surrounding information that they can and grow investment in seeing you achieve the best outcome you can is a clear sign of a quality professional. Rashad Blossom believes that what separates a good bankruptcy attorney from a great one is the ability to put themselves in your shoes and use it as a motivator to successfully handle your needs.
A case involving a client of Rashad Blossom saw the United States Supreme Court get involved. To skip ahead to the conclusion, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for third-party defendants to have cases removed from state courts to federal courts.
Rashad Blossom represents Mr. Jackson, a North Carolina consumer who filed a putative class action lawsuit in state court against American hardware titan, The Home Depot, and a related defendant, Carolina Water Systems. Home Depot, after being served with the complaint, removed the lawsuit from state court to federal court, which it believed would strengthen its odds of a victory in the courtroom. The federal district court, however, sent the case back to the North Carolina state court, where it decided the case belongs. Home Depot disagreed with the federal court’s decision, appealed to the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and eventually convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its argument that “any” defendant can have a case removed from state court to federal court.
However, the Supreme Court, through Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority 5-4 opinion on May 28, 2019, affirmed the federal court’s decision. In other words, the lower federal courts got it right. The case belonged in state court. The Supreme Court relied on the plain meaning of the applicable statutes, which do not expressly provide for removal by third-party defendants, and held that only “any” original defendants can remove.
The problem for Home Depot is that it was not an original defendant. It was a third-party defendant. The only original defendant was Mr. Jackson because Citibank initially sued him in state court to collect on the debt that he incurred to purchase a home water filtration system from Home Depot and Carolina Water Systems. Upon being sued on the debt, Mr. Jackson merely filed third-party lawsuits against Home Depot and Carolina Water Systems, alleging that they, through a fraudulent referral scheme, swindled him into buying a $9,000 filtration system in the first instance.
Class actions are normally initiated by plaintiffs, not by someone like Mr. Jackson who was the initial defendant in this case and who then became a third-party plaintiff upon suing Home Depot and Carolina Water Systems. In that respect, Mr. Jackson’s case is rather unusual.
Nonetheless, Rashad Blossom was encouraged by the decision, considered it a huge victory and believed it helped shed clarity on a common misconception. He explained, saying, “there is a misconception that state courts are plaintiff friendly and that is totally unfounded, especially in North Carolina. It does not have a reputation of having jackpot juries or as being a plaintiff-oriented state.” Blossom further stated, “the Supreme Court’s ruling will help change that perception. It appears that the Supreme Court is convinced that state courts, in general, and North Carolina state courts, in particular, are fully capable of administering justice and deciding cases fairly.”
In other Supreme Court class action cases this year, the Court denied certiorari in an attack on cy pres settlements in Frank v. Gaos and did not allow the use of equitable tolling to excuse the failure to file a Rule 23(f) appeal within fourteen days in Neutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert.