Judge Howard

DeGiacomo v. Traverse (In re Traverse)

Ruling: 
Avoidance of mortgage on which debtor was current did not allow trustee to sell property in which debtor claimed a homestead exemption.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on May 23,2014, LexisNexis #0614-110

Soto-Rios v. Banco Popular de P.R.

Chapter 11 debtors sought to avoid creditor bank's mortgages, and to prevent any post-petition actions that would perfect them under 11 U.S.C.S. §§ 362(a), 544(a), 547(b). On summary judgment, the bankruptcy court rejected the debtors' efforts. The U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico affirmed. The debtors appealed.
Ruling: 
Mortgages that were perfected outside of 90-day window properly held unavoidable.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 23,2011, LexisNexis #1211-053

In re Black Diamond Mining Co. LLC

An interested party (objector) challenged a proof of claim filed by a law firm that had already been paid a $300,000 cash retainer in connection with its representation of debtors against which involuntary bankruptcy filings had been made. The firm sought approval for a $61,637 priority claim per 11 U.S.C.S. § 502(f) and 11 U.S.C.S. § 507(a)(3) for services performed in the ordinary course during the gap.
Ruling: 
Involuntary debtor's lawyers' priority claim for fees limited to gap period ordinary course fees incurred after exhaustion of retainer.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on February 10,2010, LexisNexis #0410-010

In re Black Diamond Mining Co. LLC

An interested party (objector) filed an objection to an application by claimant, debtors' ex-chief financial officer (CFO), seeking relief on an allowed administrative claim and a related proof of claim for $362,296 on account of his employment by debtor. Specifically at issue was whether the CFO was entitled to a $339,782 super-priority secured claim under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 376.150 and/or a $10,950 priority claim per 11 U.S.C.S. § 507(a)(4).
Ruling: 
Claims by debtor's former CFO denied in their entirety.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on February 10,2010, LexisNexis #0410-013

Hogan v. George (In re George)

Plaintiff judgment creditors filed a motion seeking reconsideration or clarification of the court's earlier ruling on the creditors' motion for summary judgment. In that ruling, the court had granted the summary judgment motion to the extent that it sought a finding that the damages awarded in a state court case for fraud and the punitive damages were non-dischargeable, but denied the motion with respect to other claims.
Ruling: 
Court declined to reconsider or clarify earlier ruling that negligent misrepresentation portion of state court judgment was dischargeable.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 30,2009, LexisNexis #0110-119

Miller Bros. Coal LLC v. Consol of Ky. Inc. (In re Clearwater Natural Res. LP.)

Plaintiff, one of the jointly administered debtors, was awarded a judgment for breach of coal mining agreement against defendant, the purchaser of the coal, which occurred when the purchaser declared force majeure. Before the court was the determination of damages for the debtor's lost profits.
Ruling: 
Creditor's declaration of force majeure violated stay, entitling the debtor to damages.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 11,2009, LexisNexis #0110-004

In re Black Diamond Mining Co. LLC

A financial advisor to a committee of bankruptcy debtors' unsecured creditors submitted its final application for payment of fees, and a company through which preexisting senior lenders acquired the debtors' stock and assets objected to payment of a transaction fee and the final monthly fees.
Ruling: 
Transaction fee and final monthly fees of advisor to committee of unsecured creditors granted over objection.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 11,2009, LexisNexis #0110-003

Kendrick v. CIT Small Business Lending Corp. (In re Gruseck & Son Inc.)

This matter was before the court on remand from the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit (the BAP) for determination of whether plaintiff Trustee could avoid defendant creditor's interest in property as a preference. Pending was the Trustee's renewed motion for summary judgment and the creditor's motion for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Trustee could avoid creditor's mortgage as preferential.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on August 31,2009, LexisNexis #1009-020

Sheehan v. Peveich

In eight consolidated cases, appellant trustee sought review of decisions of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, which overruled the trustee's objections and allowed exemptions claimed by debtors pursuant to W. Va. Code § 38-10-4. The trustee had objected to these claims of exemption, arguing that § 38-10-4 was preempted by federal law.
Ruling: 
State exemption scheme could not violate Supremacy Clause given specific authorization by the Bankruptcy Code.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on July 24,2009, LexisNexis #0809-118

In re Seafort

In consolidated cases, the debtors filed for relief under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. The debtors all sought to exclude their proposed 401(k) contributions from projected disposable income, which would otherwise have to be paid into their chapter 13 plans.
Ruling: 
Plan that excluded 401(k) loan payments from projected disposable income calculation could be confirmed.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on June 22,2009, LexisNexis #0809-093

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