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Southern District

In re Rattler

Debtor's chapter 13 matter was before the court pursuant to a creditor's Motion to Allow Administrative Claim related to debtor's failure to meet her obligations to pay rent under a post-petition residential lease.
Ruling: 
Administrative expense claim allowed for debtor's postpetition rental arrearage.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on March 06,2013, LexisNexis #0313-112

Brannon v. Chuck Stevens Auto Inc.

Plaintiff debtor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant creditor, an auto dealer, asserting that creditor, through an agent, willfully violated the automatic stay by harassing her despite actual knowledge of her bankruptcy filing, pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 362(k). Creditor moved to dismiss the complaint, denying it had received formal notice of the bankruptcy filing.
Ruling: 
Creditor that received at least oral notice could not dismiss proceeding for stay violation.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 22,2013, LexisNexis #0213-042

Brannan v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg. (In re Brannan)

Putative class plaintiffs, debtor-mortgagors who alleged that defendant lender filed, or caused to be filed, false affidavits in support of motions for relief from automatic stay. The debtors requested that two classes of plaintiffs be certified by the court pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7023.
Ruling: 
Class certification granted for plaintiff debtor mortgagees with fraud claims against lender for false affidavits filed in stay proceedings.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 08,2013, LexisNexis #0113-140

In re Crenshaw

Creditors filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C.S. § 362(d)(2) in order to pursue state law remedies with regard to their lien on the debtor's property.
Ruling: 
Relief from stay to pursue state court remedies granted given lack of equity in property that was not necessary for reorganization.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 08,2012, LexisNexis #1212-005

In re Feaster & Sons Oil Distribs. Inc.

A chapter 7 trustee objected to two claims of a creditor, contending that the claims were filed as secured claims but there was no property of the estate to which a security interest attached.
Ruling: 
Balance of claim that creditor agreed to cap at time of sale order disallowed as no longer secured by property of the estate.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on September 28,2012, LexisNexis #1212-007

Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co. v. Analytical Chemical & Testing Inc. (In re Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co.)

Plaintiff chapter 11 debtor sought recovery pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 547 of certain prepetition transfers from the debtor to defendant, a provider of chemical testing reports. The provider filed a motion for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
In a preference action, defendant was not entitled to ordinary course of business defense in 11 U.S.C. § 547(c)(2).
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on September 13,2012, LexisNexis #1012-023

Johnson v. Cougar Oil Inc. (In re Johnson)

Plaintiff, a former chapter 7 debtor who had won a discharge, sought relief against defendant lessor, an oil company, on claims that defendant had violated the automatic stay in 11 U.S.C.S. § 362 and the discharge injunction in 11 U.S.C.S. § 524. Other claims were dismissed before trial, and the issue under § 362 was deemed to have been abandoned. Issues included whether damages were properly awarded under 11 U.S.C.S. § 105.
Ruling: 
Damages awarded for creditor's seeking criminal prosecution on bad check in violation of discharge injunction.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on September 07,2012, LexisNexis #1012-052

In re Tracy

This matter was before the court on debtor's motion for sanctions or contempt against a creditor.
Ruling: 
Creditor's collection of excessive fees under reaffirmation agreement, which was quickly corrected, was not grounds for sanctions.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on June 27,2012, LexisNexis #0712-071

In re Vista Bella Inc.

Petitioning creditors filed an involuntary chapter 11 bankruptcy petition against debtor corporation, and the court entered an order of relief and subsequently converted the case to one under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. The chapter 7 trustee filed a motion under 11 U.S.C.S. § 327, seeking permission to employ an attorney as special counsel for the purpose of filing fraudulent transfer actions against several individuals and a business.
Ruling: 
Trustee's application to employ special counsel granted despite counsel's prior representation of debtor and creditors.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on May 29,2012, LexisNexis #0612-071

In re McBride

Debtors moved for an order requiring creditor to show cause why it was not in violation of the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C.S. § 362 for having repossessed a vehicle leased by one of the debtors. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama found that the creditor violated the stay, and compensatory and punitive damages were awarded to the debtor. The creditor appealed.
Ruling: 
Punitive damages for stay violation properly denied.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on May 22,2012, LexisNexis #0612-039

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