Eastern District

Hutson v. Smithfield Packing Co. (In re Natl Gas Distribs. LLC)

Plaintiff bankruptcy trustee brought an adversary proceeding against defendant purchaser of natural gas from a bankruptcy debtor, seeking to avoid transfers of gas to the purchaser as fraudulent under 11 U.S.C. § 548(a)(1). The purchaser moved to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, because the transfers were made in connection with a swap agreement and thus not subject to avoidance under 11 U.S.C. § 546(g).
Ruling: 
Forward agreement for sale of natural gas by debtor was not a swap agreement so that transfers thereunder were avoidable.
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In re Price

Chapter 13 debtors submitted for confirmation a proposed plan that would bifurcate creditor's claim which was secured by debtors'motor vehicle pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 506, and strip down the secured part of the claim to the current value of the vehicle. Creditor filed an objection, asserting the plan violated the prohibition on bifurcation in 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a), because the debt in issue created a purchase money security interest.
Ruling: 
Strip down allowed where secured claim included obligations separate from and in addition to purcahse price of vehicle.
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In re Tune

A debtor filed a motion to extend the automatic stay in his chapter 13 bankruptcy case. A creditor filed a motion to dismiss, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 109(g)(2).
Ruling: 
Debtor who filed sixth case within 180 days of prior case was not an eligible debtor.
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In re Howard

The chapter 13 debtors filed an uncontroverted motion, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(B), for continuation of the automatic stay as to all creditors.
Ruling: 
Debtor who was disabled after being placed on life support for fourteen days granted exemption from mandatory credit counseling.
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Murray v. Lyon (In re Lyon)

Defendant estranged husband filed a motion for summary judgment on plaintiff trustee's adversary proceeding, which sought to recover real property transferred by the debtor to the husband or, in the alternative, sought a sale of the husband's interest in the property with that of the debtor on the ground that the transfer was null and void under 11 U.S.C. § 548.
Ruling: 
Look-back provision for fraudulent transfers in not tolled by operation of automatic stay.
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In re Sledge

Debtors filed a motion for an order requiring defendant, debtor's former counsel, to disgorge fees paid to him. At issue was whether the fees as paid exceeded the reasonable value of the services rendered as described in 11 U.S.C. § 329(b) and whether defendant violated his duties under North Carolina's rules governing professional responsibility of counsel.
Ruling: 
Debtor's attorney ordered to disgorge fees in full due to professional misconduct.
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In re Hinson

Movant debtor filed a motion for contempt against respondent creditor for attempting to recover attorney's fees that the debtor was not required to pay.
Ruling: 
Ipso facto clause in motor vehicle purchase contract was not enforceable where debtor gave timely notice of intention to reaffirm debt.
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Natl Gas Distribs. v. Branch Banking & Trust Co. (In re Natl Gas Distribs.)

Plaintiff bankruptcy trustee brought an adversary proceeding against defendant bank, seeking to recover note payments made by the bankruptcy debtor to the bank as preferential transfers. The trustee moved for summary judgment, and the bank asserted the defense under 11 U.S.C. § 547(c)(2) that the note payments were made according to ordinary business terms.
Ruling: 
Note payments made to bank were deemed not paid under ordinary business terms and, thus, were avoidable preferential transfers.
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In re Alexander

The chapter 13 trustee filed motions to confirm the chapter 13 plans in several cases. The debtors in these cases all objected because the trustee had not included language in the plans that allowed the possibility of early termination. The trustee contended that the applicable commitment period was a period of either three or five years depending upon a debtor's current monthly income.
Ruling: 
Court deemed plans confirmable if projected disposable income was calculated under section 1325(b)(2)'s new disposable income definition and that amount, if any, was committed to pay unsecured creditors for applicable commitment period.
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In re Donald

At a discharge hearing pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 524(d), the court had to consider whether to approve a reaffirmation agreement between the chapter 7 debtors and a secured creditor under section 524(c)(6)(A) as being in the best interest of the debtors. The debtors argued that they could retain their car by making their payments even if the court disapproved the reaffirmation agreement, thereby making it unenforceable.
Ruling: 
Reaffirmation agreement was approved since it was in best interest of debtors and was required for debtors to retain car.
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