March 2014 Vol. 112 No. 5 THE REVIEW
VIEW FULL ISSUEFEATURED ARTICLES

House Swaps: A Strategic Bankruptcy Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis

Lynn M. LoPucki

Since the price peak in 2006, home values have fallen more than 30 percent, leaving millions of Americans with negative equity in their homes. Until the Supreme Court’s 1993 decision in Nobelman v. American Savings Bank, the bankruptcy system would have provided many such homeowners with a remedy. They could have filed bankruptcy, discharged the negative equity, committed to pay the mortgage holders the full values of their homes, and retained those homes. In Nobelman, however, the Court misinterpreted reasonably clear statutory language and invented legislative history to resolve a three-to-one split of circuits in favor of the minority view that debtors could not modify even the unsecured portions of the mortgages on their principal residences. Courts and commentators have since assumed that modifying home mortgages in bankruptcy is impossible.

This Article presents a legal strategy for modifying home mortgages despite Nobelman. The strategy requires that debtors move out of their houses, lease the houses for one year, file bankruptcy, and propose mortgage modification plans that pay mortgage holders the full current values of the houses. This Article argues that despite the artificiality of a move-out with the intention to return, bankruptcy judges will approve the modification plans. The judges will do so because existing precedent requires approval and because the modification plans will be in the best interests of not only the debtors but also the mortgage holders and the American economy. The strategy will enable hundreds of thousands of homeowners to retain homes they would otherwise have lost to foreclosure.

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Private Control Over Access to the Law: The Perplexing Federal Regulatory Use of Private Standards

Nina A. Mendelson
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NOTES

Responding to Independent Juror Research in the Internet Age: Positive Rules, Negative Rules, and Outside Mechanisms

Robbie Manhas

Independent juror research is an old problem for jury trials. It invites potentially prejudicial, irrelevant, and inaccurate information to guide jury decisionmaking. At the same time, independent juror research compromises our adversarial system by preventing parties from responding to all the evidence under consideration and obfuscating the record on which the jury’s decision is made. These threats have only increased in the internet age, where inappropriate sources of...

Houston, We Have a (Liability) Problem

Justin Silver

The development of private manned space flight is proceeding rapidly; there are proposals to launch paying passengers before the end of 2014. Given the historically dangerous nature of space travel, an accident will probably occur at some point, resulting in passengers’ injury or death. In the event of a lawsuit stemming from such an accident, a court will likely find that a space flight entity operating suborbital flights is a common carrier, while an entity operating orbital...


& Other Current Events

The Tools of Political Dissent: A First Amendment Guide to Gun Registries

On December 23, 2012, a newspaper in upstate New York published a provocative map. On it appeared...

Cultivating Inclusion

Twenty-five years ago, law schools were in the developing stages of a pitched battle for the future of legal...

Aftermarketfailure: Windows XP's End of Support

"After 12 years, support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014." So proclaims a Microsoft website with...

Globally Speaking—Honoring the Victims' Stories: Matsuda's Human Rights Praxis

Globally speaking, international law and the vast majority of domestic legal systems strive to protect...

Toward A Multiple Consciousness of Language: A Tribute to Professor Mari Matsuda

I am thrilled to be part of this commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Professor Matsuda's...
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