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Judge Barbosa

Olsen v. PG DesignBuild Inc. (In re Smeltzer Plumbing Sys. Inc.)

The chapter 7 trustee brought a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue that a portion of funds from a partially-completed subcontract held in escrow represented a preferential transfer from the debtor to a supplier. The trustee sought to avoid an unnegotiated check for the benefit of the estate.
Ruling: 
Check written to supplier, on funds held in escrow by underwriter for payment to debtor, but never negotiated, was not a transfer and not avoidable.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 12,2011, LexisNexis #0212-090

In re Stokes Excavating Inc.

Debtor corporation filed a petition under chapter 11 and operated its business as a debtor-in-possession. A health, welfare, and pension fund filed a claim against the debtor's bankruptcy estate, seeking payment of dues and contributions the debtor was required to make under a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA"), and after the court ordered the debtor to make those payments, the fund sought an award of attorneys' fees.
Ruling: 
Reasonable attorneys' fees of pension fund allowed under debtor corporation's collective bargaining agreement with union, which was not rejected or modified.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 09,2011, LexisNexis #0212-095

Harnden v. United States (In re Harnden)

Debtor brought an adversary complaint against defendant, United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), seeking to discharge of income tax and penalties that were originally assessed two years prior to the IRS commencing the assessment.
Ruling: 
IRS claim assessed two years after notice of deficiency was nondischargeable.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 17,2011, LexisNexis #1211-081

Goldstein v. Dealer Servs. Corp. (In re Goldstein)

Defendant finance company sought summary judgment on a counterclaim that $73,697 owed by plaintiff debtor, an auto dealer, under an inventory financing program was nondischargeable per 11 U.S.C.S. § 523(a)(4) because debtor's alleged sale of vehicles "out of trust" without remitting proceeds to defendant breached a fiduciary duty. At issue was whether defendant's claims were supported by the Indiana Trust Code, Ind. Code § 30-4-1-1 et seq.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy court sua sponte held that debt under inventory financing program was nondischargeable due to debtor's sale of vehicle out of trust without remitting proceeds.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on October 31,2011, LexisNexis #1211-048

In re Gluth Bros. Constr. Inc.

The United States Trustee, joined by the Creditor Trustees on behalf of the liquidating trust formed by the confirmation of the debtor's chapter 11 Plan, objected to the final fee application filed by the Debtor's attorneys (the law firm) and also sought to disgorge the fees previously received by the law firm.
Ruling: 
Debtor's law firm ordered to disgorge large portion of fee due to failure to disclose representation of debtor's largest creditor.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on October 19,2011, LexisNexis #1111-039

In re Jokiel

Debtor filed a petition under chapter 7 and claimed that money he had in an executive retirement plan was not part of his bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C.S. § 541(c)(2) because the plan was subject to a valid anti-alienation clause, and was exempt under 735 ILCS 5/12-1006 from creditors' claims. The debtor's former employer filed an objection to the claim, and the bankruptcy trustee joined that objection.
Ruling: 
Executive retirement plan that was not an ERISA qualified plan and not intended in good faith to qualify under the Internal Revenue Code was property of the estate.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on April 21,2011, LexisNexis #0511-086

In re Jokiel

In a chapter 7 case, the trustee moved under 11 U.S.C.S. § 542 to compel turnover by the debtor of an employment severance payment. The debtor claimed an exemption for the payment pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 541(a)(6), and the trustee objected.
Ruling: 
Debtor ordered to turn over employment severance payment less portion attributable to postpetition service.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on April 21,2011, LexisNexis #0511-087

In re St. Vincent

Chapter 13 debtors moved for sanctions against their non-creditor bank, asserting it refused to provide access to their bank account funds after they notified the bank that they had filed for bankruptcy. Debtors argued that the refusal to release the funds was a willful violation of the automatic stay, and sought attorneys' fees and consequential damages under 11 U.S.C.S. § 362(k).
Ruling: 
Bank's refusal to release hold on funds in face of state law liability was not a willful violation of stay.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on April 01,2011, LexisNexis #0511-006

Myler v. Main St. Pship LLC (In re Hunter)

Trustee brought an adversary proceeding against the landlord of a bankruptcy debtor's restaurant premises, alleging that the landlord received a preferential transfer or an unauthorized postpetition transfer by removing the debtor's equipment and wine from the premises.
Ruling: 
Landlord did not receive preferential transfer of property allegedly abandoned at premises by debtor tenant that was subsequently "missing."
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on March 25,2011, LexisNexis #0711-019

Greater Rockford Auto Auction Inc. v. Goldstein (In re Goldstein)

Plaintiff creditor filed a complaint against defendant Chapter 7 debtor seeking a determination that a debt was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C.S. § 523(a)(2)(A).
Ruling: 
Presentation of bad checks for outstanding balance on cars purchased at auction did not result in nondischargeable debt.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 14,2010, LexisNexis #0111-086

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