Calvin Ashland; Bankruptcy Court Judge


Calvin K. Ashland, former chief federal bankruptcy judge of the Los Angeles-based Central District of California, has died at age 64.

Ashland died April 9 of complications of a stroke he had suffered a month earlier. He had continued to hear cases until he was stricken.

Appointed to the Bankruptcy Court in 1976, Ashland served as chief judge administering the court from 1991 to 1996. He also served on the appellate panel for the federal court’s 9th Circuit covering nine western states from 1982 until last year.


During his tenure as chief judge, Ashland helped increase the district’s number of bankruptcy judges from 19 to 21, introduced automated systems that improved case management and established offices in Santa Barbara and the San Fernando Valley.

Among Ashland’s notable cases were: granting control of 20% of properties, from hotels to boat slips in county-owned Marina del Rey, to Saudi Arabian Sheik Abdul Aziz al Ibrahim in 1993; handling the opposing bankruptcy claims of American and Japanese owners, and labor disputes at Egg City farm in Moorpark.

Known for his fairness and efficiency, Ashland as a veteran judge volunteered to handle Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases that usually went to beginning judges, and set up an “assembly line” to handle them. Often called “adjustment of debts,” the Chapter 13 cases permit anyone with a regular income and unsecured debts under $100,000 and secured debts under $350,000 to pay those debts at less than face value.

A native of Iowa, Ashland earned his undergraduate degree at Iowa State University and his law degree at George Washington University while working full time as a credit and collections manager for a General Electric subsidiary. After leaving GE, he began practicing law in the Washington, D.C., area specializing in commercial law and insolvency.

He relocated his practice to Los Angeles in 1972.

Ashland is survived by his wife of 39 years, Ilse.

Memorial contributions can be made to Shriners Hospital for Children, 3160 Geneva St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90020.