May 29, 2012
By: John Clark
A Maryland resident with Asperger’s syndrome had more than $300,000 in student loans discharged after a bankruptcy judge ruled that the woman’s disability prevented her from earning enough money to repay the loans, according to a report from The National Law Journal.
Thanks to a controversial amendment to U.S. bankruptcy law in 2005, it is very difficult for filers to discharge their unpaid student loans in bankruptcy court. There are, however, some exceptions. The most powerful exception to this law is the so-called “undue hardship” exception.
If a filer can prove to the judge that he or she would not be able to repay student loans due to an undue hardship, then the student loans may be discharged. This standard, however, can often be hard to meet, which makes the recently decided case in Maryland very newsworthy.
In this case, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gordon agreed with 63-year-old Carol Todd’s reported argument that she was unable to repay her student loans due to her debilitating Asperger’s syndrome.
Even Todd’s bankruptcy lawyer was reportedly surprised by the decision, claiming that one can “hardly find a student loan case where the debts are discharged,” but also observing that his client had “serious disabilities” that warranted the judge’s decision.
At the time of her bankruptcy hearing, Todd owed $339,361 in student loans that were incurred through her long journey through higher education. Todd began attending the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1992, but sources say she never received a degree.
Several years later, Todd obtained a master’s degree from Towson University and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school. After receiving these expensive degrees, Todd claims that she was unable to obtain a job due to her disease.
Sources say that Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, may prevent sufferers from functioning productively in social settings.
Judge Gordon, who witnessed Todd’s odd behavior during her bankruptcy hearing, wrote in her opinion that, “to expect Ms. Todd to ever break the grip of Autism and meaningfully channel her energies toward tasks that are not in some way either dictated, or circumscribed, by the demands of her disorder would be to dream the impossible dream.”
PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT: THIS WEB SITE IS A GROUP ADVERTISEMENT AND THE PARTICIPATING ATTORNEYS ARE INCLUDED BECAUSE THEY PAY AN ADVERTISING FEE. It is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal services plan. Total Bankruptcy is not a law firm. Your request for contact will be forwarded to the local lawyer who has paid to advertise in the ZIP code you provide. Total Bankruptcy does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who participates in the network nor does it analyze a person's legal situation when determining which participating lawyers receive a person's inquiry. It does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The information contained herein is not legal advice. Any information you submit to Total Bankruptcy does not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Do not use the form to submit confidential, time-sensitive, or privileged information. All photos are of models and do not depict clients. All case evaluations are performed by participating attorneys. An attorney responsible for the content of this Site is Kevin W. Chern, Esq., licensed in Illinois with offices at 25 East Washington, Suite 400, Chicago, Illinois 60602. To see the attorney in your area who is responsible for this advertisement, please click here, or call 866-200-8052.
FLORIDA ONLY: Total Bankruptcy is considered a lawyer referral service in the state of Florida under the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. By all other standards, Total Bankruptcy is a group advertisement and not a lawyer referral service.
If you live in Mississippi, Missouri, New York or Wyoming, please click here for additional information.
By an Act of Congress and the President of the United States, we are a federal Debt Relief Agency. Attorneys and/or law firms promoted through this Web site are also federally designated Debt Relief Agencies. They help people file for relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Disclosures Required Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.