Judge Opel

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

Stapleton v. Walker (In re Walker)

Movant U.S. Trustee sought to have the chapter 7 bankruptcy case of respondent debtor dismissed under 11 U.S.C.S. § 707(b)(3)(B) as an abuse of chapter 7 under the totality of circumstances standard.
Ruling: 
Debtor passing BAPCPA "means test" does not also need to pass scrutiny of "totality of circumstances" test.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on February 05,2008, LexisNexis #0308-013

Stapleton v. Haynes (In re Haynes)

Respondent debtor filed a petition under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, and movant United States Trustee (UST) filed a motion to dismiss the debtor's petition, pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 707(b)(1) and (b)(3)(B).
Ruling: 
Discharge denied to debtor with steady income and ability to pay debts based on totality of circumstances test.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 25,2008, LexisNexis #0208-118

Nester v. Gateway Access Solutions Inc. (In re Gateway Access Solutions Inc.)

Movants, creditors and former corporate officials and other creditors of respondent bankruptcy debtor-in-possession, asserted that the debtor was suffering continuing losses and was subject to gross mismanagement. The movants filed a motion under 11 U.S.C. § 1112(b) to convert for cause the debtor's Chapter 11 reorganization case to a chapter 7 liquidation case.
Ruling: 
Case converted to chapter 7 due to debtor's continuing losses and mismanagement.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on September 24,2007, LexisNexis #1007-123

Stapleton v. Baldino (In re Baldino)

The United States Trustee ("UST") moved for reconsideration of the court's prior order denying the UST's motion to dismiss the debtor's case under 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(3). The motion alleged that the court's opinion contained a manifest error of law by failing to consider income of the non-filing spouse which was not expressly dedicated to household expenses.
Ruling: 
Non-filing spouse's income could be included in current monthly income calculation only to the extent contributed to household expenses.
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Gateway Access Solutions Inc. v. Nester (In re Gateway Access Solutions Inc.)

Movant bankruptcy debtor was permitted to reject a contract granting an option to purchase FCC leases from the debtor, and respondent creditors who held security interests in lease conversion payments under the contract asserted that their liens extended to proceeds from postpetition lease sales and that the creditors were entitled to adequate protection under 11 U.S.C. § 363(e) as a condition of the contract rejection.
Ruling: 
Adequate protection payments for security interests in FCC lease conversion payments not required as rejection of underlying option contract rendered interests worthless.
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