While it may not have shown up on your social media newsfeed, one of our own, David Ballard won a victory for local citizens and small business owners, alike. The case, argued before the Eleventh Circuit United States Court of Appeal, decided that small business owners who suffer economic loss and have to declare bankruptcy do not have to lose their retirement funds. Not only does Ballard’s case, Hoffman v. Signature Bank of Georgia, mean a big win for the retired Air Force Colonel in the case, but the case sets precedent and will protect the retirement savings of everyone in the same position.
As mentioned in a recent Forbes article, “Whether Roth IRAs are protected against creditors is very much a state-by-state issue, depending on the creditor exemption laws of the state where the debtor is resident at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed.” Ballard’s case was heard by a federal court and applies to Georgia law, but these protections can now be applied on a national scale, significantly improving conditions for small business owners and the US economy as a whole.
In Hoffman, a retired Air Force Colonel guaranteed a large loan for his daughter and son-in-law to run a small business. After the business failed, Signature Bank of Georgia initiated a lawsuit against all three individuals and went as far as to seize Hoffman’s retirement fund. David Ballard pursued the case through bankruptcy court and eventually got the opportunity to fight for his client in federal court.
Ballard states, “My client had served his country for decades in the Air Force and then built a career in the private sector. He was at risk of losing a large part of his hard-earned retirement assets after trying to help his family start a restaurant. I am so glad we were able to establish a precedent that protects Georgian’s Roth IRAs, and I am hopeful it will give comfort to all out entrepreneurs and small business owners.”
David Ballard is also a candidate for Georgia State House District 74, which encompasses Peachtree City, Griffin, Hampton and the surrounding areas.