Judge Lipez

In re Net-Velzquez

Plaintiff bankruptcy trustee filed an adversary proceeding challenging defendant's garnishment of funds in the bank account of a corporation wholly owned by the Chapter 7 debtor and his wife. Defendant appealed from the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico's affirmance of a bankruptcy court judgment in favor of the bankruptcy trustee.
Ruling: 
Avoidance of garnishment as preferential transfer upheld.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 02,2010, LexisNexis #1110-128

Morse v. Rudler (In re Rudler)

Appellant United States Trustee moved under 11 U.S.C.S. § 707(b)(1) to dismiss appellee chapter 7 debtor's case as abusive and argued that he should not have included the mortgage debt in his calculation of secured debt because he intended to surrender the property and would not be making payments on the mortgages. The bankruptcy court denied the motion and the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit affirmed. The trustee appealed.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy court properly allowed debtor to claim deduction for installment payments on property intended for surrender.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on August 05,2009, LexisNexis #0909-012

Ameriquest Mortg. Co. v. Nosek (In re Nosek)

A bankruptcy court awarded emotional distress damages and punitive damages, pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 105(a), to appellee chapter 13 debtor in an adversary proceeding based on appellant mortgagee's violations of 11 U.S.C.S. § 1322(b). The Massachusetts District Court affirmed the judgment and confirmation of an amended chapter 13 plan to reflect the awards. Appellant challenged the decisions.
Ruling: 
Damages awarded for mortgage creditor's alleged violations of plan reversed due to absence of underlying violation of Bankruptcy Code.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on October 03,2008, LexisNexis #0109-029

Paging Network Inc. v. Nationwide Paging Inc. (In re Arch Wireless Inc.)

Appellant corporation that received a chapter 11 discharge sought to enforce that discharge against appellee company. The company argued that it did not receive proper notice of the bankruptcy proceedings and thus due process prevented the discharge injunction from barring its state court claims. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied the corporation's contempt motion. The corporation appealed.
Ruling: 
Discharge injunction did not apply against known creditor with only general awareness of debtor's case.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on July 23,2008, LexisNexis #0808-098

Pasquina v. Cunningham (In re Cunningham)

In a bankruptcy case, appellant creditor sought review of a decision of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which held that the postpetition sale of appellee debtor's home, for which he had obtained a homestead exemption under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 188, § 1, protecting it from creditors, did not cause the proceeds of the sale to lose their exempt status under the Bankruptcy Code and become subject to a prepetition debt.
Ruling: 
Proceeds of sale of exempt homestead were not subject to nondischargeable claim by creditor.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 22,2008, LexisNexis #0208-065

United States v. Hyde

The District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled that defendant bankruptcy debtor's restitution order, imposed in a criminal case, created an entirely new obligation owed to plaintiff United States unaffected by the debtor's homestead exemption and 11 U.S.C. § 522(c), and the United States could enforce its garnishment order against sale proceeds of the debtor's home. The debtor appealed the district court's order.
Ruling: 
Obligation under Mandatory Victims Restitution Act was not subject to homestead exemption.
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McGarry v. Chew (In re Chew)

Appellant siblings, who were referred to as creditors, challenged a decision of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which held that their arguments regarding their respective shares in appellee debtor's claimed state homestead exemption under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b) were barred by principles of claim preclusion due to their prior state court claims.
Ruling: 
Creditors'constructive trust arguments regarding debtor's homestead exemption should have been asserted in state court and properly barred by bankruptcy court.
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Watman v. Groman (In re Watman)

Debtor appealed the bankruptcy court's denial of his discharge and finding that he fraudulently transferred property under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2)(A) and (a)(7). The District Court for the District of Massachusetts affirmed. Debtor appealed, arguing that the bankruptcy court erred in both its factual findings and its manner of inquiry on remand following an earlier appellate decision.
Ruling: 
Debtor dentist's transfer of assets from bankrupt original practice to new practice was fraudulent.
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Marrama v. Citizens Bank (In re Marrama)

Appellant debtor filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Appellee bank contended in its adversary action that the debtor should have been denied a discharge because of a recent transfer of assets to defraud creditors, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2)(A). The bankruptcy court entered summary judgment for the bank; the District Court for the District of Massachusetts affirmed. The debtor filed a further appeal.
Ruling: 
Denial of discharge was affirmed since fraudulent intent was found.
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