Judge Opel

In re Tufano

Bankruptcy debtors moved to convert their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to a case under Chapter 13 pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 706(a), and the bankruptcy trustee objected to conversion on the grounds that the debtors were untruthful and could not propose a confirmable Chapter 13 plan.
Ruling: 
Conversion to chapter 13 granted over trustee's objection where debtors' misstatements and omissions were due to erroneous advice of former counsel.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on April 19,2011, LexisNexis #0511-066

Butz v. People First Fed. Credit Union (In re Butz)

Plaintiff debtor filed a motion for summary judgment with respect to the debtor's adversary complaint brought against defendant creditor for violation of the automatic stay pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 362(k).
Ruling: 
Computer generated past due statement was a demand for payment of prepetition debt that violated stay.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on March 30,2011, LexisNexis #0411-108

Fidelity Deposit & Discount Bank v. Domiano (In re Domiano)

In this individual Chapter 11 proceeding filed by respondent debtors, a husband and wife, movant, a secured creditor, sought conversion of the case to Chapter 7 and an accounting regarding some of the secured creditor's collateral. The debtors sought dismissal of the conversion motion.
Ruling: 
Case converted to chapter 7 due to gross mismanagement of estate.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 28,2010, LexisNexis #0411-065

Caruso v. DeHart (In re Caruso)

Movant, a chapter 13 debtor, sought to amend his confirmed plan under 11 U.S.C.S. § 1329. Respondent chapter 13 Trustee objected to the motion and to the proposed plan.
Ruling: 
Trustee was bound by confirmation of original plan and barred from objecting to identical language contained in proposed amended plan.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on August 06,2010, LexisNexis #0910-061

DeAngelis v. KCs Pub LLC (In re KCs Pub LLC)

U.S. Trustee asserted that respondent bankruptcy debtor-in-possession, which owned and operated a restaurant and tavern serving both food and liquor to the general public, failed to maintain liquor liability insurance coverage. The trustee moved to dismiss the debtor's chapter 11 case for cause under 11 U.S.C.S. § 1112(b)(4)(C) based on the debtor's failure to maintain appropriate insurance.
Ruling: 
Debtor restaurant owner's failure to maintain liquor liability insurance coverage was not grounds for dismissal.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on June 03,2010, LexisNexis #0810-062

DeAngelis v. Rose (In re Rose)

Plaintiff, the acting United States trustee, brought an adversary complaint objecting to the debtor's discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 727(a)(2)(A). The debtor was alleged to have violated § 727(a)(2)(A) through a series of loan agreements he entered into with private individuals during the one year pre-petition period where he was insolvent.
Ruling: 
Payment of older creditors with proceeds of numerous high interest loans obtained during preference period was fraudulent and grounds for denial of discharge.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on March 12,2010, LexisNexis #0610-023

Wayne Bank v. Johnson (In re Johnson)

Plaintiff bank filed an adversary proceeding against defendant chapter 7 debtor, seeking an order denying the debtor's discharge under 11 U.S.C.S. § 727(a)(2)(A). The debtor filed a motion for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Motion for denial of discharge denied due to issue of fact regarding auto loans.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on September 23,2009, LexisNexis #1109-058

Fedor v. American Home Mortg. Servs. (In re Fedor)

Plaintiff bankruptcy debtors brought an adversary proceeding against defendant mortgagee seeking to avoid a mortgage under 11 U.S.C.S. § 522(h), based on an incorrect street address and a defective acknowledgment, and seeking to bifurcate the mortgagee's claim into secured and unsecured claims under 11 U.S.C.S. § 506(a). The mortgagee moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim.
Ruling: 
Allegation of improper acknowledgement were sufficient to support mortgage avoidance proceeding.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on April 30,2009, LexisNexis #0909-008

Dehart v. Lopatka (In re Lopatka)

Chapter 13 trustee filed an objection to confirmation of the debtor's plan, asserting that the above-median debtor's plan with a negative projected monthly disposable income could not be confirmed over the objection if the plan did not provide full payment of all allowed unsecured claims and was for less than five years. The court considered whether the plan duration could be set at less than five years.
Ruling: 
Above median debtor with negative disposable income could propose plan with term of less than five years.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on February 17,2009, LexisNexis #0409-091

Stapleton v. Weiderhold (In re Weiderhold)

The United States trustee moved to dismiss the debtors' chapter 7 case for abuse under 11 U.S.C.S. § 707(b)(1), because the debtors claimed vehicle ownership expenses on their unencumbered vehicles on their Official Bankr. Form B22A, and the debtors thus failed the means test for a chapter 7 filing. The issue turned on the meaning of the term "applicable" with respect to the ownership expenses.
Ruling: 
Debtors could include ownership expenses on unencumbered vehicles on Form B22A.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on February 11,2008, LexisNexis #0308-084

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