Northern District

Johnston v. Fifth Third Bancorp (In re Johnston)

Plaintiff debtor filed for relief under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The debtor filed an action against defendant creditor, and intervenor creditor joined the proceedings, to determine the dischargeability of the debtor's student loan obligations pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 523(a)(8). The court held a trial and issued findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Ruling: 
Debtor with schizoaffective disorder who failed to complete graduate degree granted undue hardship discharge of student loan debt.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on March 11,2008, LexisNexis #0408-030

Schnittjer v. Pickens (In re Pickens)

Defendant creditor sought reconsideration of a judgment in favor of plaintiff trustee for avoidable preferential payments by the debtors. The creditor sought to reduce the judgment pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 547(c)(4) by the amount of subsequent new value she allegedly granted to the debtors on her credit card.
Ruling: 
New value received from use of charge card could be set off against preferential payments.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on February 05,2008, LexisNexis #0308009

Mitchell v. Bigelow (In re Bigelow)

Plaintiff creditor filed an adversary proceedings against defendant chapter 7 debtor. He asked the court for an order authorizing him to proceed with a claim he had against the debtor in state court or, in the alternative, for an order tolling the state statute of limitations on his claim. The debtor filed a motion to dismiss the creditor's action, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
Ruling: 
Unlisted creditor's action dismissed as statute of limitations which was not tolled during bankruptcy had expired.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 22,2008, LexisNexis #0208-067

Schnittjer v. Pickens (In re Pickens)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee filed an adversary proceeding against defendants, the parents of one of the debtors, seeking to avoid transfers made to them pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 547(b). The parents asserted affirmative defenses under 11 U.S.C. § 547(c)(1), (c)(2), (c)(4) and (c)(9).
Ruling: 
Payments to debtor's parent for charges on credit cards were avoidable.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on January 03,2008, LexisNexis #0208-008

In re Timmerman

The debtors filed for relief under chapter 7. A company filed an application for allowance of administrative priority expenses. The company claimed that it was owed $37,525 in expenses, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 503. After a chapter 7 trustee objected, the trustee and the company informed the court that they had reached a compromise on the application and sought approval of the compromise.
Ruling: 
Settlement of administrative expense claim not approved as not in best interests of creditors.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 14,2007, LexisNexis #0208-044

In re Timmerman

Debtors filed a petition under chapter 12 Code, and subsequently moved to convert their case to one under chapter 7. After the court granted the debtors'motion, the debtors filed a motion under 11 U.S.C. § 707(a) to dismiss their case. The chapter 7 trustee, the United States Trustee, and three creditors filed objections to the debtors'motion.
Ruling: 
Debtors who converted from chapter 12 to chapter 7 could not obtain voluntary dismissal for failure to obtain credit counseling after taking advantage of bankruptcy laws for a number of months.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 10,2007, LexisNexis #0108-047

Hanrahan v. Grundy County Farm Serv. Agency (In re Walterman Implement Inc.)

Plaintiff trustee sought to avoid a transfer to defendant county farm service agency ("FSA") as a voidable preference under 11 U.S.C. § 547(b). The court had previously entered a consent order granting the trustee summary judgment on her case in chief, and the remaining issues for decision were FSA's 11 U.S.C. § 547(c)(2) course of business defense and its assertion of immunity from recovery under 11 U.S.C. § 550(a)(1).
Ruling: 
Transfer to farm service agency conforming to standard agency practices and procedures was unavoidable as made in ordinary course of business.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on November 27,2007, LexisNexis #0108-010

In re Worrel

The United States Trustee ("UST") moved to dismiss the debtors' chapter 7 case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(1) and (3) on the grounds that the filing constituted a substantial abuse of the provisions of chapter 7.
Ruling: 
Expensive vehicle leases of cars used to transport show dogs for debtor husband's low paying job would prevent payment to unsecured creditors and resulted in bad faith dismissal.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 09,2007, LexisNexis #1207-014

In re Vantiger-Witte

Though debtor filed a chapter 12 proceeding, no chapter 12 plan was confirmed. After selling the real estate to pay off secured creditors, debtor moved to convert to chapter 13. The trustee appeared and argued that there was no statutory authority for such a conversion. At issue was whether a chapter 12 debtor may convert to a chapter other than chapter 7.
Ruling: 
Chapter 12 debtor could convert case to chapter 13.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on November 06,2007, LexisNexis #1207-070

In re Binninger

The United States Trustee ("UST") moved to dismiss the debtors'chapter 7 case for abuse under 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(1). Alternatively, the UST argued that the petition be dismissed under 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(3)(B), the totality of the circumstances test.
Ruling: 
Presumption of abuse applied where extra income due to debtor's overtime occurred regularly and possible upcoming retirement was not mandatory.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on October 19,2007, LexisNexis #1107-118

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