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Adversity & Justice : A History of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of
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Bankruptcy law is a major part of the American legal landscape. More than a million individuals and thousands of businesses sought relief in the United States’ ninety-three bankruptcy courts in 2014, more than twenty-seven thousand of them in the Eastern District of Michigan. Important business of great consequence takes place in them, yet the courts ordinarily draw little public attention. InAdversity and Justice: A History of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Kevin Ball takes a closer look at the history and evolution of this court.
Using a variety of sources from newspaper accounts and interviews to personal documentation from key people throughout the court’s history, Ball explores not only the history of the court from its beginning in the late nineteenth century, but two major courthouse scandals and their significant and long-lasting effects on the court. The first, in 1919, resulted in the removal of a court referee for a series of small infractions. The second was far more serious and resulted not only in the resignation of a judge but also in criminal convictions of the court’s chief clerk, one of his deputies, and one of Detroit’s most prominent lawyers.
The book culminates with a comprehensive account of the city of Detroit’s own bankruptcy case that was filed in 2013. Drawing on the author’s expertise as both a longtime bankruptcy attorney and a political scientist, the book examines this landmark case in its legal, social, historical, and political contexts. Anyone with an interest in bankruptcy, legal history or the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy case will be attracted to this thorough case study of this court.