Oppenheim Law Round up: Debtors’ Prisons, Bank Settlements and Florida’s Nuclear Plants
Could you end up in jail for not paying your bills? Is our country’s need for speed going to derail efforts to end improper loan-servicing and foreclosure practices? How do Florida’s nuclear power plants compare to those in Japan?
Those are just some of the questions being asked this week from top tier business and real estate reporters around the country. Most importantly, the answers could have profound effects on Florida’s housing market and our country’s economy.
Welcome to Debtors’ Prison, 2011 Edition
More than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who are behind on credit-card payments, auto loans and other bills to be jailed, according to The Wall Street Journal Business Writer Jessica Silver-Greenberg.
In Florida, training this week for dozens of new judges moving to courts with the power to lock up borrowers includes a session about potential abuses of debt-related warrants. “Before we take away a person’s freedom, we want to ensure that there are procedural safeguards,” said Peter Evans, a Palm Beach County, Fla., state-court judge who proposed the session.
A Swift Deal May Not Be a Sound One
This country’s need for speed derailed the mortgage industry, and that same breakneck pace is threatening to ruin a bank settlement being devised by state attorneys general relating to improper loan-servicing and foreclosure practices.
Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times comments in her column, “While some might argue that a rapid approach will help borrowers, it is apt to benefit the banks far more.”
“Hurrying to strike a deal means less time to devote to understanding how pernicious the foreclosure practices were at the nation’s largest institutions. How can you determine appropriate penalties for troubling practices when you haven’t conducted a full-fledged investigation?”
The truth is you can’t.
How Florida’s nuclear plants compare to Japan’s
Sun-Sentinel House Keys Blogger Julie Patel offered an in-depth comparison of the Japanese nuclear plants in dire crisis and Florida’s plants, asking whether question our plants are prepared to deal with similar problems.
According to nuclear operators in Florida, the biggest threat their plants face is hurricanes. While extremely powerful, hurricanes provide plant operators far more time than a tsunami to shutdown the plant far in advance.
For a technical breakdown of other key differences between Florida’s nuclear plants and the ones facing meltdown in Japan, check out the entire article.
It seems our nuclear war zones have leaked from Wall Street to Main Street.