Hello and Aloha
Welcome to Foster Law Offices. We are a bankruptcy, personal injury and real estate law firm with offices in both Washington and Hawaii.
The purpose of our website is to provide you with information about our law practice and an overview of what you can expect when you retain Foster Law Offices to represent you in your legal matter. Founded in 2003 by attorney Jeffrey E. Foster, Foster Law Offices puts Mr. Foster's legal expertise and highly competitive spirit to work on our client's behalf to provide superior legal representation in the areas of personal injury, bankruptcy and real estate law. Representation in civil litigation matters is accepted on a case-by-case basis.
At Foster Law Offices, we are not motivated by the recognition we receive from our peers or the praise of a judge or juror. Our sole motivation is to obtain the best results for our clients. Whether it's a lucrative settlement, a hard fought bankruptcy discharge, reorganization or litigation victory, or a successful closing in a real estate sale or acquisition, we work tirelessly to engineer results.
Our formula for success is fairly straightforward: Listen, listen and listen more to our clients. As attorneys, the majority of our time is spent communicating. However, lawyers spend far too much time talking and not enough time listening when it comes to client communication.
We understand that by carefully listening to our clients, we gain a thorough understanding of not only the facts of client's case or transaction but also the client's specific objectives in the representation. By arming ourselves with this understanding, clients gain a better understanding of their legal options and we become more informed and better prepared advocates.
Get to Know Us
We welcome you to peruse the information we have compiled on our website in order to gain further insight and a better understanding of how we may be able to assist you in obtaining the best for you in your legal matter. Below you will find a brief overview of our practice areas. Additional information can be found by clicking on the various page links located on the top and side of the page.
If you would like to discuss your specific legal needs with an attorney at Foster Law Offices, we can be reached by phone at (206) 442-9500 or (808) 348-7800, or if you prefer to submit your inquiry in writing, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
~~~ Our Personal Injury Practice ~~~
Overview of Personal Injury Law:
Personal injury is a term used by lawyers and the courts to describe a legal claim whereby one person becomes entitled to a financial settlement based on an accident caused by another person. A personal injury case usually involves an accident caused by a careless or negligent act resulting in an injury. The injured victim of the accident gains the right to assert a claim against the careless person for various financial losses sustained by the injured victim as a result of the accident.
Our personal injury practice is devoted to the representation of people injured based on the carelessness of others. When a person is injured in an “accident” caused by someone else, the victim is entitled under both Washington and Hawaii law to various types of financial compensation.
The financial compensation to which an injured victim becomes entitled to under the law, includes but may not be limited to:
· Recoupment of past medical expenses
· Payment for future medical expenses
· Payment for damage to a vehicle or other property
· Pain and suffering
· Loss of income
· Loss of earning capacity
· Loss of enjoyment of life activities
· Mental anguish
· Loss of consortium
In order to ensure that each client receives the superior representation she or he deserves, we limit our personal injury practice to the representation of seriously injured victims in cases involving:
· Car accidents
· Truck/Semi accidents
· Motorcycle accidents
· Bicycle accidents
· Pedestrian/crosswalk accidents
· Uninsured motorist claims
· Insurance Bad Faith
· Dog/Animal bites
By limiting our practice to representing only seriously injured clients, we are able to keep our caseload small and provide the highest level of personal attention to each and every one of our clients. The “factory” personal injury law firms, who accept any and all cases, are usually forced to utilize inexperienced associates and paralegals to handle the large case volume. This can lead to an unpleasant and financially disastrous experience for the client.
Personal Injury and Insurance Companies:
In most cases, the at-fault party looks to his or her insurance company to pay a victim. Insurance companies are publicly traded corporations who's only objective is to deliver profit to shareholders. Profit is gained by not only generating revenue from policyholders, but also by minimizing the payouts when the insurance company is required to pay a settlement to an accident victim.
By paying less money to victims, an insurance company can deliver more profit to its shareholders and justify the millions of dollars paid in bonuses to the insurance company's CEO and management. An insurance company minimizes the amount it pays in settlements by employing numerous underhanded tactics with victims and attorneys.
If a victim is not represented by an attorney, the insurance company will attempt to make a settlement offer as quickly as possible. If a victim chooses not to settle right away, the insurance company will seek to obtain as much information and evidence as possible from the victim. The information gathering will include recorded phone interviews, in-person recorded statements, and obtaining medical releases from the injured victim, which will enable the insurance company to access medical records as soon as possible after the accident. The information obtained from the victim will be used by the insurance company to argue liability and the existence and extent of the victim's injuries when.
~~~ Our Bankruptcy Practice ~~~
Overview of Bankruptcy:
Bankruptcy is a formal legal process in which individuals and businesses can request that their debts be discharged or reorganized by filing and pursuing a bankruptcy case with the United States Bankruptcy Court. Bankruptcy is a series of federal laws located at Title 11 of the United States Code (USC).
The bankruptcy code is further broken down into chapters under which individuals and businesses can file for relief. The three chapters utilized most often by bankruptcy filers include Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13.
Types of bankruptcy cases we handle:
Our bankruptcy practice is devoted to representing individuals and businesses seeking protection from creditors under Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13, as well as the representation of bankruptcy trustees and creditors seeking to enforce their rights in a bankruptcy proceeding. We also represent a wide array of clients in lawsuits filed in bankruptcy cases (called adversary proceedings).
The Automatic Stay:
When a bankruptcy case is filed, federal bankruptcy law mandates that most creditors must refrain from continued collection efforts outside of bankruptcy court. This means that most creditors are prohibited from making threatening phone calls, letters and all other means by which such creditors attempt to collect on a debt.
Additionally, if a lawsuit, judgment, garnishment or other formal legal action has been initiated by a creditor in state or federal court, bankruptcy law requires (most) creditors to immediately cease and desist from undertaking any further legal action in any court other than the United States Bankruptcy Court.
For individuals or businesses seeking to file a bankruptcy petition to stop collection efforts and/or a pending legal action, it is quite important to consult an attorney experienced in bankruptcy law to determine whether the automatic stay can provide you with protection from creditors. Although most debts are subject to the automatic stay, there are many debts to which no protection is afforded.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is the most common type of bankruptcy. In most cases, the Chapter 7 case lasts between 80-100 days from the filing date. Although many Chapter 7 cases are what are considered “no-asset” cases, there are numerous cases where an individual or business's assets are liquidated by a bankruptcy court-appointed trustee.
Assets may be liquidated in a Chapter 7 case where the asset is: (1) Not secured by a loan and (2) Not protected by an exemption. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee also may liquidate assets transferred prior to a bankruptcy filing.
Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Since October 2005, individuals who seek to file for Chapter 7 must pass an eligibility test called the means test if the individual's debt consists primarily of consumer debt. Individuals with “non-consumer” debt or businesses organized as corporations or limited liability companies are not required to file a means test.
Unlike the means test, which analyzes income earned prior to the bankruptcy filing, those desiring to discharge debts in a Chapter 7 case must also undertake a current income/expense inquiry. The income/expense test is found in bankruptcy schedules I and J, respectively, and analyzes current income and the expenses that will be incurred on a monthly basis after the bankruptcy is filed.
It is of vital importance to consult with an attorney experienced in both eligibility tests before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
The benefit to filing Chapter 7 is the elimination of (certain) debts. This debt elimination benefit is called the “Discharge”. The Discharge is a bankruptcy court order signed by the Bankruptcy Judge assigned to the Chapter 7 case, which absolves the Chapter 7 filer of her or his legal obligation to repay certain dischargeable debts. Debts eligible for discharge in Chapter 7 include:
· Credit Cards
· Medical Bills
· Mortgage debt for those who do not wish to retain real property
· Auto Loan Repossession Judgments
· Utility Bills
· Collection Agency Accounts (unless the collection agency is collecting on behalf of a creditor who's debt is non-dischargeable such as a student loan, parking ticket or traffic ticket)
· Business Debts (unless based on fraud or another non-dischargeable claim)
· Attorney's Fees (unless based on child support/alimony award)
· Auto Accident Claims (unless based on drunk or drugged driving)
Currently, there are 19 types of debt that cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 case. A list of such debts can be found at 11 U.S.C. 523, but below are some of the types of non-dischargeable debt:
· Student Loans
· Child Support, Alimony or in connection with a separation agreement, divorce decree or other court order regarding the same
· Taxes incurred during certain time periods prior to filing
· Homeowner's (HOA) Dues incurred AFTER the filing of the Chapter 7 case
· Debts based on fraud, deceit or breach of fiduciary duty
· Traffic tickets, driving infractions parking tickets and other fines owed to a governmental agency
· Debts for “luxury goods or services” incurred on or within 90 days before filing the Chapter 7 case
· Cash advances aggregating more than $750 on or within 70 days before filing the Chapter 7 case
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case involves a reorganization of debt. Chapter 13 is available to individuals only. Businesses are not eligible to file a Chapter 13 case. The most common type of Chapter 13 filing is the “home saver” plan.
In Chapter 13, an individual may propose a plan to avoid foreclosure repay a mortgage lender or servicer the monthly mortgage along with any missed mortgage payments spread out over a period of 36 or 60 months. For example, if an individual files a Chapter 13 and has a monthly mortgage payment of $2,000 per month and has $60,000 in missed payments (called arrears) owing to the mortgage creditor, the mortgage payment in Chapter 13 would be $3,000 per month (i.e. $2,000 monthly payment + $1,000 arrears payment calculated by dividing $60,000 by 60 months).
Contrary to online advertisements and information conveyed by friends, family and co-workers, first mortgage principal balance/arrears on a primary residence may NOT be reduced in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. However, in cases where there is no equity securing a 2nd mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), judgment lien and other eligible junior lien, an individual may be eligible to strip the lien from title if a court order is signed by a bankruptcy judge and the individual completes the full term of their Chapter 13 plan. In non-primary residences, the first mortgage may be eligible to be reduced to the value of the property.
Depending on the means test and the income/expense analysis, an individual filing a Chapter 13 case may be required to make additional payment(s) towards unsecured debt. Certain taxes, child support and certain other types of debt must also be paid as part of a Chapter 13 case.
A significant bar to filing a Chapter 13 case is debt limits. If an individual's unsecured or secured debt exceeds certain debt limits, she or he will not be eligible to file for Chapter 13. As of April 1, 2013, unsecured debt limits are $360,475, and secured debt limits are $1,081,400. Because the debt limits are subject to change, we recommend you review 11 USC 109(e) to determine the current debt limits.
In recent years, we have been successful in challenging the proof(s) of claim filed by loan servicers in Chapter 13 cases. When an individual files for Chapter 13, a mortgage servicer or owner may file a proof of claim and request payment through the Chapter 13 plan. In many cases, the mortgage loan servicer files the proof of claim in order to object to the amount of a debtor's proposed plan payment in Chapter 13. When a proof of claim is filed, the Debtor and her or his attorney have the opportunity to review and object to the proof of claim. If an objection to a proof of claim is filed, the Debtor and/or her/his attorney have the opportunity to present the basis for the objection at a formal hearing. If the bankruptcy judge decides that the issues presented by the Debtor and Servicer cannot be resolved without the presentation of evidence, a trial may be ordered. If the Debtor prevails at trial, the proof of claim is set aside and the servicer may not be eligible to receive payment for the entire term of the Chapter 13 case. Only the most experienced bankruptcy/lending law attorneys should handle these types of cases.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy:
Chapter 11 is available to both individuals and businesses that seek to reorganize debt. At Foster Law Offices, we only handle Chapter 11 cases where the client seeks to reorganize real estate related debt. For questions about Chapter 11, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.
~~~ Our Real Estate Practice ~~~
Our real estate practice is limited to representing individual and institutional buyers and sellers, as well as bankruptcy trustees, court-appointed receivers and other parties in real estate transactions.
On the commercial side, we represent clients seeking to buy, sell or lease the following types of properties:
· Multi-Family investment properties such as apartment buildings
· Office Buildings
· Land at any stage of entitlement/permitting, as well as raw land
On the residential side, we represent clients seeking to buy, sell, or lease the following types of properties:
· REIT or investor-owned distressed assemblages
· Single Family
In addition to his role as managing attorney for Foster Law Offices, Mr. Foster is also the designated broker for Navigation Real Estate, LLC (Washington) and the principal broker for Navigation Real Estate, LLC (Hawaii). Information on Navigation Real Estate can be found at www.navigationre.com.
CONTACT FOSTER LAW OFFICES:
For more information about Foster Law Offices, or to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal needs contact us today:
144 Railroad Ave. Suite 308 PO Box 127
Edmonds, WA 98020 Captain Cook, HI 96704
(206) 903-1836 (808) 348-7800
This law firm is designated by the United States Bankruptcy Code as a debt relief agency. We file bankruptcy cases in the United States District Court for Washington and Hawaii.