U.S. Supreme Court Denies Hearing For Lawyer Denied Bar Admission Due to Bankruptcy

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Hearing For Lawyer Denied Bar Admission Due to Bankruptcy

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in a case in which a lawyer argued that the Florida Supreme Court wrongly denied her admission to the state bar on grounds she had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy (B.U.U. v. Florida Board of Examiners, No. 13-1101, Chapter 13, U.S. Sup.).

Bankruptcy

Barbara U. Uberoi, an attorney, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida in 2012.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners held a formal administrative hearing as part of its investigation into Uberoi’s bankruptcy filing.  The board had recommended Uberoi be admitted to the state bar prior to the bankruptcy filing.

However, the Florida Supreme Court, in an effort to ensure that its attorneys have “the requisite good moral character, fitness and competence” to be members of the Florida Bar, established an investigative process that was triggered when Uberoi filed her petition.

Application Denied

Based on the investigation, the Supreme Court of Florida denied her application to the state bar.

Uberoi filed a petition for writ of certiorari directly with the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8, 2014, naming the board as a defendant.  She contended that the principals of due process do not allow the Florida Supreme Court to deny an applicant admission to the state bar after she had been recommended for admission without offering her the opportunity to be heard on the matter.

She also contended that 11 U.S. Code Section 525 prevented the Florida Supreme Court from denying admission without considering the payment of debt through a trustee absent a showing of intent to defraud creditors.

11 U.S. Code Section 525

Uberoi maintained that the Florida Supreme Court violated 11 U.S. Code Section 525 by disregarding the Bankruptcy Court's assessment that she and her husband were debtors under the law and entitled to discharge of debts as a result of the bankruptcy.

Specifically, the Florida Supreme Court relied on the misconception that during the 12 years prior to the bankruptcy, Uberoi was delinquent on and willingly failed to pay her federal and state taxes and educational loans.

Uberoi of Tampa, Fla., appears pro se.

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