§ 541(a)

Hill v. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Plaintiff, the chapter 7 trustee of corporate debtor in a case converted from chapter 11, brought an adversary proceeding against defendant law firm, asserting the firm's actions in representing the debtor and certain insider creditors of the debtor in various financing transactions aimed at keeping the debtor afloat constituted breaches of fiduciary duties, enabled fraudulent transfers, and constituted securities fraud.
Ruling: 
Doctrine of in pari delicto barred a trustee standing in the debtor's shoes from recovering any damages for any alleged wrongful conduct in which the debtor participated.
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First Ave. West Bldg. LLC v. James (In re Onecast Media)

Appellee, a chapter 7 trustee, sought reconsideration of a bankruptcy court order denying the trustee's claim to recover proceeds obtained by appellant creditor under a letter of credit. The bankruptcy court denied the trustee's motion. The District Court for the Western District of Washington reversed a bankruptcy court's order. The creditor appealed.
Ruling: 
Security deposit was estate property since the trustee's rejection of the lease constituted a breach, not a recission, of the contract and enabled the trustee to then pursue a breach-of-contract action to recover the balance of the security deposit.
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Redmond v. Lentz & Clark P.A. (In re Wagers)

Plaintiff bankruptcy trustee brought an adversary proceeding against defendants, chapter 7 debtors and the law firm representing the debtors, alleging that the bankruptcy estate was entitled to the debtors'tax refunds which the debtors assigned to the firm prepetition to secure the firm's prepetition and postpetition services. The parties cross-moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Debtors'tax refunds were not estate property since the debtors had assigned prepetition the refunds to secure a law firm's prepetition and postpetition services and thus only held a revisionary, not ownership, interest in the refunds.
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Burgess v. Sikes (In re Burgess)

Appellant bankruptcy estate challenged the decision of the district court. A panel of the court of appeals reversed the prior decision of denying a motion for turnover.
Ruling: 
Crop-disaster relief payments were not estate property since the legislation providing for the payments was enacted after the filing.
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Law v. Stover (In re Law)

Appellant debtors challenged orders of the bankruptcy court entered on June 27, 2005, and June 29, 2005, in each of these cases sustaining the objection of appellee, the chapter 7 trustee, to debtors'claim of exemption in the portions of their federal tax refunds attributable to the federal child tax credit.
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied exemption of their federal child tax credit refunds since the refunds were contingent interests in future payments and thus were estate property.
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In re Lott

The bankruptcy court granted the chapter 7 trustee's motion to reopen the debtors' case. The issue was whether the wife debtor's interest in the proceeds of an action for the wrongful death of her mother were property of the estate. The trustee claimed that the debtor's interest in the wrongful death action proceeds was property of the estate because that interest, and the cause of action, arose on the prepetition date of death.
Ruling: 
Debtor's interest in the proceeds of a wrongful death action of her mother's estate was property of the estate since it was at least a prepetition contingent right to the proceeds.
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In re Huff

A debtor filed a motion to allow the substitution of collateral.
Ruling: 
Debtor's motion to substitute collateral was denied since the proceeds from the insurance policy covering the destroyed automobile collateral were payable to the creditor and thus not part of the debtor's estate.
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