Court Connection - April 2017




Court Connection: e-Edition


The Court is proud to share the e-edition of the Court Connection.

For readers who prefer to read the newsletter on paper, it can be printed in its entirety by downloading a full-text PDF version.

Click here for the PDF version.

Upcoming Events

May 1 - Law Day

Click here for a list of events!


May 5

CFBLA Annual Seminar and 
"State of the District"
with Chief Judge Williamson
Citrus Club - Downtown Orlando


June 1

TBBBA Annual Dinner
Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club

August 25

JBBA Annual Seminar
Sawgrass - Ponte Vedra, FL


October 17-20

2017 ABJA Certified Bankruptcy Assistant Seminar  - Memphis, TN

Click here for more info!

Sheryl L. Loesch Sworn-in as Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court

On Friday, April 14, 2017, Sheryl L. Loesch was sworn-in as Clerk of Court of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida, by Chief Judge Michael G. Williamson in a short ceremony held in the Tampa Courthouse.


Pictured above with Chief Judge Williamson during the oath; and below with Judge Delano, Chief Judge Williamson and Judge McEwen. 


Please join us in welcoming Sheryl as our next Clerk.

Click here to read more.

The Tampa Office of the United States Trustee has a New Attorney!

Nathan Wheatley joined the Tampa office of the United States Trustee after over 17 years of private practice in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Most recently, Nathan was a partner at the Cleveland-based firm, Weston Hurd LLP, where he was the head of its insolvency and creditor’s rights group, and the chair of its banking and finance committee. 

Click here to read more.

Please take time to introduce yourself to Nathan when in Tampa.


Department of Justice 

Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow

Middle District of Florida


March 15, 2017


(813) 274-6388



          Tampa, FL – Acting United States W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Josiah E. Hutton (60, Winter Haven) today pleaded guilty to concealment of assets from a bankruptcy estate. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.  Sentencing has been set for June 5, 2017.

Click here for the full release.


Judges' Corner

Inside the lives of our judges



Judge Catherine P. McEwen pictured with Lee Ann Bennett, at Lee Ann's new office in Washington, D.C.


On April 13, 2017, Judge Roberta A. Colton administered the Oath of Admission to her Law Clerk, Nick Abbattista at a small swearing-in ceremony. Nick graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School and just recently learned he passed the Florida Bar.  


Judge Catherine P. McEwen with fellow Smith Inn of Court members Eula Bacon (left) and Carolay Vargas (right) at their recent Cooley Law School graduation ceremony.


Dear Point and Click:

Answers to technical questions

Q.  I am a newly registered electronic filer in the United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida. Do you have any filing tips for new users?

A. Yes, we do. Thanks for asking!   

Click here for a list of the Top 5 most helpful tips for new users!


Court Services




The judges of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida are considering proposed amendments to the Local Rules. The proposals were posted on the Court’s website for public comment beginning on April 3, 2017. The public comment period ends on May 18, 2017. When promulgated by the judges, the amended and new Local Rules will become effective on July 1, 2017.

Below is a summary of the proposed changes. Click here to review the proposed new and amended rules and provide comments.

Click here for the summary of changes.


Filing Statistics

Click here for case filing statistics for the district.


Local Bar Events

Across the Middle District


August 25 - Annual Seminar



April 28 - OCBA Bankruptcy Committee feat. Judge Jennemann

May 5 - CFBLA Annual Seminar and "State of the District" with Judge Williamson


April 27 - TBBBA Happy Hour

May 2 - TBBBA Consumer Lunch feat. Judge McEwen

May 9 - TBBBA CLE Luncheon

May 25 - TBBBA Happy Hour

June 1 - Annual Dinner

Click here for the full calendar.


The Court Connection is published quarterly in January, April, July and October.  We are always seeking submissions.

Please submit items for the July edition by June 30, 2017 to:

Lee Ann's Legacy


Chief Judge Michael G. Williamson


     “Hers is an American success story,” said Chief Bankruptcy Judge Paul M. Glenn in June of 2006 on the appointment of Lee Ann Bennett as Clerk of our court. As described by Judge Glenn, “She has literally come up through the ranks,” having held almost every job within the Clerk’s office during her 18 years of service to the federal court system. “Her performance has been exceptional at every level and in every Division of this Court, she has proven her abilities, and she is highly regarded by all in the Court."

     Judge Glenn’s words were prophetic. In the years that followed with Lee Ann at the helm of our court, she oversaw the management of a court with an operating budget of more than $9.6 million and at one time employing more than 160 senior staff, deputy clerks in charge, supervisors, and case managers resident in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando.

     In recent years working with Chief Judge Karen Jennemann, Lee Ann helped guide our court through the transition of eight judge teams to a new model based on “One Court, One Team.” Her knowledge of court administration led her to be appointed Chair of the Bankruptcy Clerks Advisory Group in 2015, where she provided advice to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts on topics including work measurement formulas, shared administrative services, and bankruptcy rules and form changes. Not surprisingly, she was recognized for her achievements by being awarded the Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2015.

Click here to real the full article.


Trustee Spotlight:

News from the U.S. Trustee

Tampa Trustee, V. John Brook, Jr. Retires from Active Case Rotation in 2017

Submitted by The Office of the U.S. Trustee


V. John Brook Jr. was appointed to the Tampa panel of trustees on August 2, 1988, and retired from active case rotation on January 1, 2017. Over the past 28 years he has been assigned thousands of cases. 

John reflects that in those years some cases were fun—others were downright aggravating. The two cases he remembers most involved a large phosphate plant and a case of a tax protester back in the 1990’s. He fondly remembers that  . . .   

Click here to read more.


Pro Bono Corner

Helping the legal community

The Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar Recognizes Samuel Pennington with the Pro Bono Service Award

     The Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar recognized Samuel Pennington with the Pro Bono Service Award for his “efforts above and beyond the call of duty to serve the legal community and Florida as a whole.”[1] The award is given annually to lawyers, groups, and a member of the judiciary in recognition of their commitment to making legal services available to the poor.[2] In his legal career, Pennington has been committed to helping people through pro bono legal services. 

     Pennington graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1979. After working for several years with Christian Prison Ministries, he took the Florida Bar exam in 1988. Since the mid-1990s, Pennington limited his practice to the area of bankruptcy law and kept focus on providing pro bono legal services.[3]

Click here to read the full article.


Judge McEwen's

Make-Me-Smile Moments

Before the end of February, the entire month of March’s Tampa Division courthouse clinic spots were fully subscribed! That’s really stepping up. Thank you, volunteers, on behalf of all the Tampa division judges.

In open court, Raul Cabrera offered to write out a motion to waive the personal financial management course requirement for an elderly pro se debtor who is undergoing chemotherapy and whose daughter manages her financial affairs.


Awards and Recognition

The Orange County Bar Association Honors Judge Arthur Briskman with the James E. Glazebrook Memorial Bar Service Award

Submitted by: Eva Gadzheva


Pictured: OCBA President, Wiley S. Boston, Esq., and Judge Arthur Briskman 

The Orange County Bar Association honored Judge Arthur Briskman with the 2017 James E. Glazebrook Memorial Bar Service Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of a state or federal judge who serves and supports local bar associations; is dedicated to professionalism, both in and out of the courtroom; and who exemplifies qualities that heighten professionalism, including civility, integrity, and respect for our system of justice. Judge Briskman has served the bankruptcy community for over thirty years and has helped improve the effectiveness of the bankruptcy courts in their service and accessibility to those most in need. In his award speech, Judge Briskman highlighted the role of professionalism in helping those who feel invisible. 


Click here to read the full article.


IT News

Security Updates

The IRS is now using private debt collectors
by Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Do you have a debt with the IRS that’s more than two years old? If so, you might be getting a letter from the IRS about your account being transferred to a private debt collector. This new program only applies to taxpayers who have had an IRS debt for years, and who were previously contacted about it by the IRS. Here’s how it will work – and how to spot a scam.

If your debt is put into this program, the IRS says you will get two letters. The first letter will come from the IRS and will say which private debt collection company your account has been assigned to. The companies are: CBE, ConServe, Perfomant, or Pioneer. The second letter will come from the private debt collection company assigned to your account. Both letters will include the tax amount owed, the name of the private debt collection company assigned, and a taxpayer authentication number that is unique to you.

But here’s how you can tell you’re dealing with the actual debt collector, not a scammer.

Click here for the full article.


Case Law Update


Submitted By:  

Bradley M. Saxton & C. Andrew Roy

Winderweedle Ward Haines and Woodman, P.A.  

Supreme Court Cases

Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp.

137 S.Ct. 973 (March 22, 2017)

Eleventh Circuit Cases

In re Lunsford

848 F.3d 963 (11th Cir. February 15, 2017)

In re Appling
848 F.3d 953 (11th Cir. February 15, 2017)

Bankruptcy Court Cases

In re Progressive Plumbing, Inc.

6:15-BK-07275 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. March 2, 2017) (Jennemann, J.)

In re Rothenbush
2017 WL 933019 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. February 27, 2017) (Colton, J.)

In re Aye
2017 WL 713566 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. February 22, 2017) (Colton, J.)

In re Stanton
2017 WL 587983 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. February 14, 2017) (Williamson, J.)

In re Kaschkadayev
2017 WL 587982 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. February 14, 2017) (Williamson, J.)

In re Rhodes
563 B.R. 380 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. February 3, 2017) (Briskman, J.)

In re Ferrer
2017 WL 401188 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. January 30, 2017) (Funk, J.)

In re Dunning
Adv. 8:16-AP-00343 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. January 25, 2017) (Colton, J.)

In re Bell
2017 WL 384678 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. January 25, 2017) (Glenn, J.)

In re Fohrmeister
8:13-BK-14728 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. December 30, 2016) (Colton, J.)

In re Petsch
8:16-BK-01766 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. December 13, 2016) (Colton, J.)

Click here to read the summaries.


Local Bar Associations

News and events from your local bar association

Click the links below for updates, news and pictures from the local bar associations:

*Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association

* Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association

*Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association

*Southwest Florida Bankruptcy Professionals Association