Judge Hillman

In re Anctil Plumbing & Mech. Contrs. Inc.

Applicant, an attorney retained by the corporate and individual debtors, sought the allowance of interim compensation and reimbursement of expenses for his representation in the converted cases. The chapter 7 trustee objected to parts of the application, and also to a retainer that had been paid pre-conversion, but also post-filing as to the initial chapter 11 filings.
Ruling: 
Post-conversion retainer in chapter 7 case was unauthorized and could be recovered by trustee.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on March 10,2009, LexisNexis #0709-026

Lassman v. Hegarty (In re Hegarty)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee filed an adversary proceeding against defendant debtor seeking to revoke his discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 727(a)(3) or (a)(4)(D). The trustee asserted that the debtor failed to keep and produce or knowingly and fraudulently withheld statements and cancelled checks with respect to two separate bank accounts.
Ruling: 
Debtor's discarding of bank statements due to misunderstanding with trustee was not grounds for denial of discharge.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 16,2008, LexisNexis #0309-125

Sternklar v. Heritgage Auction Galleries Inc. (In re Paul)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee and debtor sued defendant coin dealers, alleging, inter alia, breach of an employment agreement and fraudulent and preferential transfers of assets under a business relationship between the debtor and the dealers. Seeking to enforce arbitration clauses contained within various documents the debtor executed, the dealers moved to dismiss or stay and compel arbitration, or to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).
Ruling: 
Fraud claims brought under Bankruptcy Code were not arbitrable.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 04,2008, LexisNexis #1208-067

In re Reid

Following a chapter 7 discharge, an administrator of a decedent's estate sued the debtor in state court, seeking monetary damages for claims arising out of a pre-petition collision on the grounds that a release signed pursuant to a settlement agreement was unenforceable. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 350(b), the debtor moved to reopen her bankruptcy case seeking to enforce the discharge injunction against the tort claim.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy case reopened to determine validity of release of tort claim.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on October 03,2008, LexisNexis #0109-031

Braunstein v. Leung (In re Leung)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee sued defendant debtor and his wife, seeking to avoid the debtor's payment of $90,000 to reduce the wife's loan obligation as, inter alia, a fraudulent transfer under 11 U.S.C.S. § 548(a)(1). The bankruptcy court conducted a trial.
Ruling: 
Transfer from debtor to spouse to reduce spouse's loan obligation avoided as fraudulent.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on September 22,2008, LexisNexis #1208-068

Lassman v. Schultz (In re Anctil Plumbing & Mech. Contractors Inc.)

Defendants, the attorney for chapter 7 debtors and the attorney's firm, filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff chapter 7 trustee's adversary proceeding, which sought the turnover or recovery of money paid to the attorney from the debtor-in-possession account of one of the debtors prior to the conversion of the debtor's case from chapter 11. The attorney also filed a motion for sanctions pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011(c)(1)(A).
Ruling: 
Payment of "flat fee retainer" paid to debtor's attorney out of debtor-in-possession amount was not authorized.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on September 15,2008, LexisNexis #1008-057

In re Lane

Respondent creditor filed an objection to the confirmation of the chapter 13 plan regarding petitioner debtors. The debtors were above median income debtors with an applicable commitment period of five years, pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 1325(b)(4). The court conducted a hearing on the objection.
Ruling: 
Debtors required to file amended schedules and plan due to miscalculation on Form 22C.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on August 19,2008, LexisNexis #1108-056

In re Young

A creditor objected to confirmation of the debtor's amended chapter 13 plan under 11 U.S.C.S. § 1325(b) on the ground that the above median debtor understated his projected disposable income (PDI) by claiming expense deductions on Official Bankr. Form 22C to which he was not entitled.
Ruling: 
IRS Local Standards established fixed deductions, regardless of debtor's actual expenses.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on August 08,2008, LexisNexis #0808-121

In re Whall

Debtor filed a petition under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, and an amended plan for repaying his creditors. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MDOR) filed an objection to the debtor's fourth amended plan because the debtor proposed to pay postpetition taxes he accrued as an administrative expense of his bankruptcy estate.
Ruling: 
Chapter 13 debtor could not pay postpetition state income taxes as administrative expense.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on May 28,2008, LexisNexis #0808-010

In re Birchall

Movant creditor asked the court to abstain from adjudicating claims asserted by debtor on the ground that they were already being adjudicated in state court and further asked the court to dismiss the case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 305. Debtor sought relief under 11 U.S.C. § 362.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy court declined to hear claims related to state civil contempt proceedings against debtor.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 22,2008, LexisNexis #0208-106

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