Northern District

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

In re Vaupel

The debtors filed for relief under chapter 13, and the matter was converted to a case under chapter 7. The creditor held a security interest in an automobile. The debtor and the creditor filed a reaffirmation agreement reaffirming the debt to the credit union in the amount of $3,397. The parties filed an agreed joint stipulation and order between the debtor and the creditor.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy court declined to approve stipulation based on reaffirmation agreement that would not have been approved.
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In re Miller

A debtor filed a reaffirmation agreement with a creditor in order to retain a motorcycle, and the court held a hearing in order to evaluate the reasonableness of the reaffirmation.
Ruling: 
Reaffirmation of loan secured by motorcycle denied as not in debtor's best interest.
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Loftus v. Sallie Mae Servicing (In re Loftus)

Plaintiff bankruptcy debtors, former husband and wife, brought an adversary proceeding against defendant creditors, seeking a determination that their student loan debt to the creditors was dischargeable based on undue hardship under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8). The bankruptcy court conducted a trial.
Ruling: 
Debtor wife's student loan debt was dischargeable but debtor husband's was not.
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Fokkena v. Smith (In re Smith)

Plaintiff, the U.S. Trustee, sought an order denying a discharge to debtor pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2) and (a)(4)(A) on claims that debtor concealed property from the estate by omitting assets from his petition and knowingly made a false oath or account when he testified to the accuracy of his petition.
Ruling: 
Discharge denied due to debtor's concealment of interests in real estate contract and joint bank account.
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