This begins the eighth year after BAPCPA went into effect. On October 17, 2005, the new bankruptcy law went into effect. I asked Riverside Bankruptcy Trustee Arturo Cisneros what he remembered about that day and the pre-BAPCPA days. He said that the clerk’s office handled the crush very efficiently. He remembered the lines out the door and when the hearings came that he had to conduct his meetings of creditors in Judge Jury’s Courtroom as the Courthouse was full.
A memory I had of that time was that the Assistant United States Trustee in Riverside was Terry Anderson. There were so many people that had filed that both rooms in the Courtroom downstairs were used and a few of the rooms upstairs in the Judge’s Courtrooms were being used. The hearings would start at 800am and often go past 600pm in the evening. The UST Terry Anderson issued blue raffle tickets as a way to shuttle the debtors up and down the elevators to decrease in the congestion upstairs at the Courthouse.
There were people everywhere. The difficulty was placing the debtors into the correct room as there would be 100 people scheduled for 400pm. Though the clients may have been at the Courthouse, if they were not in the correct room, the client’s case would be continued. There were many short tempers those first weeks after the law changed as the Court system had never seen so many people.
I remember it was stressful but it was fun. It was like working at Disneyland and trying to control the crowds while keeping my sanity. The hearings and the continued hearings lasted until February 2006 and March 2006, so the system was full for four to five months after the law changed.
However the cases filed after October 17, 2005 came to a halt. The week before the law changed there were over 3000 cases filed in that week alone. The week after the law changed, there were only six cases filed! We did not know at the time that the Boom in filing caused by the law change would lead to a Bust in 2006, but that is for another story.