WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Supreme Court cites to Collier on Bankruptcy in Hamilton v. Lanning. In this Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy case, Justice Alito cited Collier multiple times regarding the discretion courts have to account for changes in the debtor's income:
". . . Prior to BAPCPA, the general rule was that courts would multiply a debtor's current monthly income by the number of months in the commitment period as the first step in determining projected disposable income. See, e.g., In re Killough, 900 F.2d 61, 62-63 (CA5 1990) (per curiam); In re Anderson, 21 F.3d 355, 357 (CA9 1994); In re Solomon, 67 F.3d 1128, 1132 (CA4 1995). See 2 Lundin § 164.1, at 164-1 (2000 ed.) ("Most courts focus on the debtor's current income and extend current income (and expenditures) over the life of the plan to calculate projected disposable income"). But courts also had discretion to account for known or virtually certain changes in the debtor's income. See Heath, 182 B. R., at 559-561; Richardson, 283 B. R., at 799; In re James, 260 B. R. 498, 514-515 (Bkrtcy. Ct. Idaho 2001); In re Jobe, 197 B. R. 823, 826-827 (Bkrtcy. Ct. WD Tex. 1996); In re Crompton, 73 B. R. 800, 808 (Bkrtcy. Ct. ED Pa. 1987); see also In re Schyma, 68 B. R. 52, 63 (Bkrtcy. Ct. Minn. 1985) ("[T]he prospect of dividends . . . is not so certain as to require Debtors or the Court to consider them as regular or disposable income"); In re Krull, 54 B. R. 375, 378 (Bkrtcy. Ct. Colo. 1985) ("Since there are no changes in income which can be clearly foreseen, the Court must simply multiply the debtor's current disposable income by 36 in order to determine his 'projected' income"). 4 This judicial discretion was well documented in contemporary bankruptcy treatises. See 8 Collier on Bankruptcy P 1325.08[a], p. 1325-50 (15th ed. rev. 2004) (hereinafter Collier)In re Greer, 388 B. R. 889, 892 (Bkrtcy. Ct. CD Ill. 2008) ("'As a practical matter, unless there are changes which can be clearly foreseen, the court must simply multiply the debtor's current monthly income by thirty-six'" (quoting 5 Collier P 1325.08[a] (15th ed. rev. 1995))); James, supra, at 514 (same) (quoting 8 Collier P 1325.08[a] (15th ed. rev. 2000)); Crompton, supra, at 808 (same) (citing 5 Collier P 1325.08[a], [b], at 1325-47 [*21] to 1325-48 (15th ed. 1986)). Accord, 8 Collier P 1325.08[b], at 1325-60 (15th ed. rev. 2007) ("As with the income side of the budget, the court must simply use the debtor's current expenses, unless a change in them is virtually certain" (emphasis added)). ("As a practical matter, unless there are changes which can be clearly foreseen, the court must simply multiply the debtor's known monthly income by 36 and determine whether the amount to be paid under the plan equals or exceeds that amount" (emphasis added)). . . ."
The U.S. Supreme Court has cited to Collier on Bankruptcy 128 times, and twice in the past four months.