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Michael Baxter
Works at Baxter & Baxter, LLP
Attended Lewis & Clark College
Lives in Portland, Oregon
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Michael Baxter

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Frequently Asked Questions about Filing for Bankruptcy in Oregon and Washington
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about filing for bankruptcy in Oregon and Washington.
Can I file bankruptcy without an attorney?
Yes. Were you surprised to read that on this website? You are not required to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy. However, the process of filing for bankruptcy is complex, and an experienced bankruptcy attorney can assist in many aspects of the case. First, your bankruptcy attorney can analyze your income, assets and debts, and determine whether you should file for bankruptcy, and what type of bankruptcy you qualify for. Your bankruptcy attorney can assist you with pre-petition planning. Your bankruptcy lawyer can also assist you with timing of your filing, to maximize the discharge, such as in the case of back taxes. Your bankruptcy attorney can also assist you with lien stripping and avoiding second mortgages. Finally, if you are receiving collection calls, letters, and lawsuits, your bankruptcy attorney can stand between you and your creditors. In the long run, hiring a qualified bankruptcy attorney can save you much more money than you might save by filing without an attorney.
How much does filing bankruptcy cost?
The fee for filing your bankruptcy case varies, depending on the type of case you file, and the complexity of your particular case. We offer a free initial consultation to our clients so that we can evaluate your financial situation, and give you an accurate quote based upon your specific case. In addition to your attorney fees, you will also be responsible for some additional costs, including the Court's filing fee of $306 or $281, depending on what type of case you file, and debtor education and credit counseling courses, which usually cost about $20-25.
Will I lose all of my property, my car, or my personal possessions in bankruptcy?
Probably not. The policy of bankruptcy is to give a debtor a "fresh start." You are entitled to have a roof over your head, to feed your family, and to get to work so that you can pay your bills. If you have a substantial amount of equity in your home or your car, the bankruptcy trustee may decide whether it is necessary to sell some property to pay your creditors. However, in this economic climate, very few people have equity in their homes or cars.
Can I stop collection calls and letters?
Yes. Once you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay prevents almost all of your creditors from taking any action to enforce any debt. This includes collection calls, letters, and lawsuits. In fact, you can retain our firm for as little as $100 to accept calls from debt collectors while you are preparing to file your bankruptcy case.
Can I stop a home foreclosure on my mortgage?
Yes. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure on your home. You can propose a payment plan to pay off your past-due mortgage payments over three to five years. If you file a Chapter 7, it will temporarily stop any foreclosure proceedings against you.
I have already filed a bankruptcy, can I file again?
Yes, if your previous bankruptcy was filed a specified amount of time in the past. If your previous bankruptcy was a Chapter 7 liquidation, you need to wait eight years from the date the previous case was filed. If your previous bankruptcy was a Chapter 13 wage earner repayment plan, you need to wait four years to file a new Chapter 7 case and two years to file a new Chapter 13 case.
Can I stop a garnishment of my bank account or paycheck?
Yes. Almost all garnishments can be stopped with the exception of child support or spousal support obligations. Some creditors that hold claims that will not be discharged like student loans can start garnishment again as soon as your discharge is entered.
Can I leave a creditor off my schedules?
No. You are required to list all debts. Even debts that you want to keep paying. In fact, just because a debt is not listed on a bankruptcy schedule does not mean it is not included in the bankruptcy. In many cases even unlisted debts are discharged.
Can I repay my friends, relatives, or other creditors after I file bankruptcy?
The legal consequence of bankruptcy is to discharge those debts allowed under the law, including to friends and family members. However, there is generally no restriction for people voluntarily choosing to pay money to friends, relatives, or other creditors after bankruptcy, if they choose to do so.
Can I file bankruptcy if I am unemployed?
Yes. There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation about filing for bankruptcy. If you are unable to meet your monthly expenses and are drowning in debt, you can meet with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss whether filing bankruptcy is beneficial in your situation -- whether or not your are currently employed.
Can I discharge student loans in bankruptcy?
Probably not. There is a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that allows the bankruptcy judge to discharge student loans in the case of "undue hardship." However, the standard for such a discharge is very high. But, even if a student cannot discharge his or her student loan debt, the bankruptcy attorneys of Baxter & Baxter, LLP, may be able to assist in discharging other debts, and getting the debtor into a new repayment plan that is compatible with his or her income.
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The Portland Business Journal recently reported on the legislation requiring fuller disclosures by debt buyers, which buy up portfolios of defaulted debt. Baxter commented “The big issue is the problem where somebody had a bill back in the ’90s that lay dormant and then was sold to another company that the consumers never heard of. They have no relationship (with the debt buyer). Then they get a bill or it shows up on their credit report.”
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The Oregon State Bar has released its online version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act Section in the 2012-2013 revision of Consumer Law in Oregon, authored by Justin Baxter of Baxter & Baxter, LLP.
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Justin Baxter Named Co-Chair Oregon Trial Lawyers Consumer Protection Section

Justin Baxter has been named to co-chair the Consumer Protection Section of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. For nearly 60 years, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) and its plaintiff attorney members have advocated for the rights of consumers by promoting safer products, workers' rights, and patient safety. OTLA works to ensure access to Oregon’s justice system, promote juries and jury service.
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Michael Baxter

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1101 Broadway Street, Vancouver, WA 98660
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Reinheitsgebot: The World’s First Consumer Protection Law

It’s no secret that we here at Baxter & Baxter, LLP, are fanatical about our craft beer. Did you know that the world’s earliest known consumer protection law was passed in 1516, to ensure the purity of beer in Bavaria? The Reinheitsgebot or “purity order” required that the only permissible ingredients in beer were water, barley and hops. This early food purity law ensured consumers that they were getting what they thought they were buying, and took away the competitive advantage from unscrupulous brewers who cut corners. In the same way, modern consumer protection statutes ensure a level playing field for consumers and businesses that follow the law.

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
8835 SW Canyon Lane, Suite 130
Portland, Oregon 97225
(503) 297-9031 Telephone
(503) 291-9172 Facsimile

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
421 High Street, Suite 103
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
(503) 657-6531 Telephone
(503) 291-9172 Facsimile

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
5635 NE Elam Young Parkway, Suite 300
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
(503) 681-9752 Telephone
(503) 291-9172 Facsimile

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
1101 Broadway Street, Suite 213
Vancouver, Washington 98660
(360) 574-5239 Telephone
(360) 326-1613 Facsimile
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Employment Background Reports

The National Consumer Law Center reports that 93 percent of employers run criminal background checks on some job candidates, and 73 percent of employers conduct such checks on all potential new hires. The Fair Credit Reporting Act applies to these employment background checks, not just to credit reports. These employment reports can include criminal history checks, public records checks, and proprietary credit reports.

As noted above, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the employer to take several actions to comply with the law. First, when an employer uses a "consumer report" (including public records checks, background screening, or credit reports) the employer must make a clear and conspicuous written disclosure that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. It must be disclosed in a stand-alone document consisting solely of the disclosure. Second, before taking any adverse action based on the report (whether in whole or in part), the employer must provide to the consumer a copy of the applicant's report and summary of the applicant's rights under the FCRA.

Also, the companies that prepare these background reports are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A consumer has a right to obtain a complete copy of their employment reports, and to dispute information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or obsolete. When a job applicant disputes information in their consumer report, the reporting agency must conduct an investigation and report back to the applicant the results of its investigation. The reporting agency must determine whether the information is complete and accurate, and if it cannot do so, it must delete the information.

© Baxter & Baxter, LLP 2012, All Rights Reserved

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
8835 SW Canyon Lane, Suite 130
Portland, Oregon 97225
(503) 297-9031 Telephone

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
421 High Street, Suite 103
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
(503) 657-6531 Telephone

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
5635 NE Elam Young Parkway, Suite 300
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
(503) 681-9752 Telephone

Baxter & Baxter, LLP
1101 Broadway Street, Suite 213
Vancouver, Washington 98660
(360) 574-5239 Telephone
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Consumer Protection & Bankruptcy Attorneys
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  • Baxter & Baxter, LLP
    Consumer Protection & Bankruptcy Attorneys, present
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Portland, Oregon
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503-297-9031
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8835 SW Canyon Lane, Suite 130, Portland, Oregon 97225
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Baxter & Baxter, LLP | Consumer Protection & Bankruptcy Attorneys | Oregon & Washington
Introduction
Michael Baxter has been in private practice as a trial attorney since 1991. His practice focuses on consumer litigation and personal injury litigation.

Mike was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1991. He is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates. In 2003, he received the NACA's prestigious Trial Attorney of the Year award. Mike received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 1970. He received an M.B.A. from the University of Detroit in 1984. He received his J.D. from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College in 1990.

  • In 1995, he obtained a $1 million punitive damage verdict against Carr Chevrolet for violations of Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act.
  • In 1998, he obtained a $600,000 verdict against TRW for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • In 2002, he obtained a $5.3 million verdict against Trans Union for violations of the FCRA.
  • In 2005, he obtained a verdict against Equifax for $210,000.
  • In 2007, he obtained a verdict against Equifax for $200,000.
  • In 2010, he obtained a $100,000 verdict in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case.
  • In 2010, he received the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rating ® for legal skill and ethics.
  • In 2013, he obtained a verdict against Equifax for $18.5 million.

Court Admissions

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States District Court for the District of Oregon
United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon

Oregon Supreme Court
Oregon Court of Appeals
Oregon Circuit Courts

Appearances

Credit Reports, Oregon State Bar Legal Links, December 2009.

Bragging rights
In 2003, he received the NACA's prestigious Trial Attorney of the Year award.
Education
  • Lewis & Clark College
    Law, 2012
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