Recent Opinions

ABI's Bankruptcy case opinion summaries website provides summaries of bankruptcy-related opinions issued by U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, District Courts and Circuit Courts of Appeal since 2005. Search almost 20,000 opinion summaries by keyword, relevant code section, court and judge. Opinion summaries are provided by our partner LexisNexis® Collier and are updated weekly.

Hedquist v. Fokkena (In re Hedquist)

Appellant, a pro se debtor, challenged a decision of the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota that held debtor and his wife were ineligible to file their chapter 11 bankruptcy case for failing to comply with the credit counseling requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 109(h), and dismissed their case.
Ruling: 
Court rejected equal protection argument of pro se debtor in dismissing debtor's case for failing to comply with section 109(h) credit counseling requirement.
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Wolfe v. Farrior (In re Farrior)

Plaintiff trustee filed a complaint to sell defendant debtors'real property free and clear of liens and defendant co-owner's interest, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 363(h) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 6004.
Ruling: 
Court declared disclaimer void and ordered trustee to adminster debtor's interest in property as property of estate.
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Marrama v. Citizens Bank (In re Marrama)

Appellant debtor filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Appellee bank contended in its adversary action that the debtor should have been denied a discharge because of a recent transfer of assets to defraud creditors, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2)(A). The bankruptcy court entered summary judgment for the bank; the District Court for the District of Massachusetts affirmed. The debtor filed a further appeal.
Ruling: 
Denial of discharge was affirmed since fraudulent intent was found.
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In re Hawkins

The court previously entered an order to show cause why debtor's case ought not be dismissed for failure to obtain credit counseling prior to the petition date, as required to satisfy the requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 109(h).
Ruling: 
Court deemed that debtor need only make colorable claim of receiving credit counseling to assert jurisdiction and impose automatic stay.
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In re Mills

A bankruptcy petitioner obtained credit counseling as required by 11 U.S.C. § 109(h) on the same day that her bankruptcy petition was filed. The trustee moved to dismiss the petition based on the petitioner's ineligibility to be a debtor under section 109(h).
Ruling: 
Case was dismissed since debtor obtained credit counseling on same day as filing.
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Ranney v. IRS (In re Ranney)

Plaintiff debtor filed a complaint to determine the dischargeability of his income tax debt to defendant IRS, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1).
Ruling: 
Debtor's tax liability was deemed nondischargeable since the debtor did not sign or acknowledge the substituted tax return.
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In re Fowle

Bankruptcy debtors'confirmed chapter 13 plan provided for treatment of a mortgagee's claim as partially secured and partially unsecured. The debtors moved to strip down the mortgagee's lien with regard to the unsecured portion of the claim, and the mortgagee did not respond to the motion. The court sua sponte questioned whether bifurcation of the mortgagee's claim was proper under 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(2).
Ruling: 
Debtor's motion to strip down the mortgagee's lien was granted even though section 1322 prohibited bifurcation since the mortgagee failed to respond to the motion.
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Whitaker v. Baxter (In re Whitaker)

Debtors who filed a second chapter 13 petition within a one year period moved to reinstate the automatic stay of pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(B) or (c)(4)(B) as amended following the effective date of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The bankruptcy court considered whether such relief was available, or whether the application of 11 U.S.C. § 105(a) relief was warranted.
Ruling: 
Court reinstated automatic stay for second filing based on its equitable powers to prevent abuse of process since debtors had acted in good faith and creditors had not objected to stay reinstatement.
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Colton v. Verola (In re Verola)

Appellant debtor filed a bankruptcy action under chapter 7, and sought a determination that a state court's order requiring him to pay restitution to fraud victims was dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(7). The bankruptcy court found that the state court's order was dischargeable, but the District Court for the Southern District of Florida reversed that judgment. The debtor appealed.
Ruling: 
Court affirmed that debtor's restitution obligation imposed by a state as part of a criminal sentence was not dischargeable.
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In re Walton

Respondent creditor objected to the confirmation of petitioner debtor's chapter 13 plan on the ground that it contained an illegal plan provision seeking to discharge her student loans.
Ruling: 
Court struck illegal plan provision that attempted to pay down student loan debt principal first then the remainder second and directed deb tor to submit a plan without such provision.
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In re Dana Corp.

Movants, an ad hoc committee of asbestos personal injury claimants, sought an order directing the trustee to appoint an official committee of asbestos personal injury claimants, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 1102. The debtors and 41 of its affiliates objected to the proposed appointment.
Ruling: 
Motion for appointment of a separate official committee of asbestos claimants was denied since the inclusion of one asbestos claimant on the already appointed official committee adequately protected the asbestos claimants.
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In re Tomlinson

Petitioners, a debtor and her chapter 7 trustee, jointly moved to withdraw the reference of a bankruptcy case from a bankruptcy court to a district court in order to enforce two of the bankruptcy court's orders, which determined and certified that respondents, the debtor's bankruptcy petition preparers, owed damages and fees for violating 11 U.S.C. § 110(h)(2). The preparers opposed the motions.
Ruling: 
Court held that bankruptcy petition preparers engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and made false and misleading representations.
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Hower v. Molding Sys. Engg Corp.

Appellant creditor appealed from the District Court for the Southern District of Illinois which denied his motion to stay the sale of appellee debtor's assets in a bankruptcy proceeding because the sale had already taken place.
Ruling: 
Creditor was denied motion to stay sale of debtor's assets since the sale had already occurred and creditor had not obtained a stay of the sale prior to the sale.
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In re Del Monico

With leave of the bankruptcy court, bankruptcy debtors retained counsel to represent them in their chapter 11 case, and counsel's subsequent application for compensation was denied in part for services rendered after a chapter 11 trustee was appointed. Counsel filed an unsecured proof of claim for its denied fees, and the trustee objected to the claim.
Ruling: 
The disallowance of fees as an administrative claim under section 330 for services rendered after a chapter 11 trustee was appointed precluded debtor's counsel from having any further claim for those services.
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Holland v. Zimmerman (In re Zimmerman)

Plaintiffs, investors, filed a complaint to determine that defendant debtor's liability to them was excepted from discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2), (4) or (6). The court subsequently allowed the investors to amend their complaint to invoke the dischargeability exception in section 523(a)(19). The investors also filed a motion to lift the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C. § 362(a) to permit them to prosecute pending arbitration proceedings.
Ruling: 
Modification of automatic stay was deemed appropriate to allow arbitration to continue since the arbitration statute did not conflict with the applicable section 523(a)(19) of the Bankruptcy Code.
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