The Bankruptcy Reform Process: Maximizing Judicial Control in Wage Earners’ Plans

This article examines the effort to maximize judicial control over the bankruptcy process and its impact on H.R. 8200’s procedural requirements for the nonbusiness bankruptcy option known currently as the wage earners’ plan. As background, it describes the present nonbusiness bankruptcy options and the statutory procedures for monitoring confirmed wage earners’ plans. Then, using illustrative samples from three years of cases in the Buffalo region of the Western District of New York, it assesses whether present plans are being administered in accordance with the statutory formalities. The economic incentives which affect creditors’ behavior in taking advantage of their opportunities to monitor these proceedings are also examined. The article describes the procedures ·which were developed for such cases in the Bankruptcy Rules and the legislative processes which produced H.R. 8200. Finally it assesses the consequences if status politics produces procedures which do not reflect accumulated experience.