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.

Movitz v. Fiesta Invs. LLC (In re Ehmann)

Shortly after issuance of the court's opinion and order, the parties conditionally agreed to a settlement of the instant adversary proceeding. Under the settlement, defendant would pay to the trustee $85,000. The condition of the settlement, however, was the court's withdrawal of its opinion. Both parties moved for approval of the compromise and settlement pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9019, and for the court's withdrawal of its opinion.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy court vacated its order and granted the trustee's motion to approve a settlement that mandated the court vacate its order but only after the court balanced the equities.
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In re Keith

On November 5, 2003, an order of discharge on behalf of debtors was entered. On June 7, 2005, the trustee moved to reopen the case on the grounds that he learned that one debtor had an insurance fraud claim worth approximately $5,000 which was not reported during the course of the bankruptcy case. Debtors filed an amended Schedule B to list the fraud claim and asserted an exemption under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 427.010(1). The trustee objected.
Ruling: 
Debtor failed to disclose an insurance fraud claim during the debtor's case and claimed a state law exemption after the case was reopened in bad faith.
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Roberts v. Pierce (In re Pierce)

Appellant claimant challenged an order of the district court, which affirmed a bankruptcy court's order granting in part and disallowing in part a proof of claim against appellee debtor without holding an evidentiary hearing in a voluntary chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.
Ruling: 
Order regarding proof of claim was affirmed since negative notices are permissible under the Code.
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Hutchinson v. Del. Sav. Bank FSB

Plaintiff debtors sued defendant lender for fraud, breach of contract, and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act ("NJCFA") and sued defendant loan servicing companies for negligence/intentional tort, breach of contract, violation of the NJCFA, and violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). Defendants moved to dismiss.
Ruling: 
Debtors'claims against the lender were not barred by confirmation of their chapter 13 plan since conversion to chapter 7 removed the res judicita effect of that chapter 13 plan.
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Gallagher Langlas & Gallagher P.C. v. Clair (In re Clair)

In a core proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(I), (J), plaintiff law firm sought to recover from defendant debtor a sum of attorneys'fees that the debtor was ordered to pay pursuant to a divorce. The firm moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Attorneys were denied summary judgment since a material issue remained as to whether an award of attorneys'fees to a debtor's former wife was intended to be a maintenance or support obligation and, thus, whether it was exempt from discharge.
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In re Hairston

Movant debtor filed an application for waiver of the chapter 7 filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1930(f)(1).
Ruling: 
Debtor's application for waiver of the chapter 7 filing fee was denied since the debtor's filings suggested that the debtor had the resources to pay the filing fee in installments if not in full.
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In re Beaver

Petitioner creditor filed a motion for preconfirmation adequate protection of its security interests in vehicles owned by one of respondent debtors. The debtors objected that adequate protection could be provided by means other than the direct payments requested.
Ruling: 
Court held that the debtor was not limited to making preconfirmation direct payments to provide adequate protection to the creditor of a security interest and approved an agreed-on preconfirmation installment payment plan.
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Simpson v. Simpson (In re Simpson)

Plaintiff former husband filed an adversary proceeding against defendant debtor, the former wife, to challenge the dischargeability of a debt for a vehicle, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(15). The obligation for the debt incurred to purchase the vehicle had been assigned to the debtor as part of the prepetition divorce proceeding.
Ruling: 
Deficiency obligation was nondischargeable, and the debtor was ordered to make small payments since the debtor had assumed the debt pursuant to a prepetition divorce and the payments would not materially lower the debtor's standard of living below that of the former husband.
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In re Wuthrich

This was a foreign proceeding. Debtors operated SwissAir, a world-wide commercial airline. Its operations included flights between Switzerland and the United States. Its trademark "SWISSAIR" was registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office ("USPTO"). An entity purchased debtors' flight operations and commenced a case before the USPTO to cancel debtors'registration of the trademark. The trustee moved to enjoin the proceeding in the USPTO.
Ruling: 
A foreign trustee was denied an injunction to enjoin a patent office proceeding since that proceeding was to address the threshold question of the ownership of a trademark, which needed to be decided before considering the appropriateness of injunctive relief.
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United States v. Bastin (In re Bastin)

Plaintiff U.S. government filed an adversary complaint seeking to deny a discharge to defendant debtor pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(3) and (4). The government moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Debtor was denied a discharge for not keeping adequate records, and the denial did not require finding of an intent to defraud.
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Cage v. Wyo-Ben Inc. (In re Ramba Inc.)

Two months before bankruptcy, a buyer received the debtor's assets free of liens, paid off the debtor's under secured lender, and paid the rest of the consideration to 10 defendant unsecured creditors. The debtor paid an 11th defendant unsecured creditor. The district court entered summary judgment against plaintiff trustee on an 11 U.S.C. § 547(b) preference action. The trustee appealed.
Ruling: 
Payment to an unsecured creditor was an avoidable transfer since the payment was not made according to ordinary business terms but rather was made on invoices older than the industry standard for making payment of 120 days.
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Peters v. WFS Fin. Inc. (In re Glandon)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee brought a complaint seeking avoidance of defendant creditor's lien in debtor's pickup truck as a preferential transfer under 11 U.S.C. § 547. The matter was pending judgment.
Ruling: 
Trustee was allowed to avoid creditor's lien in debtor's pickup truck as a preferential transfer since the lien was perfected during preference period.
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Dahmer v. United States (In re Dahmer)

Plaintiff chapter 7 debtors filed an adversary proceeding pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1) against defendants, the United States and the State of Missouri Department of Revenue ("MDOR"), seeking a declaratory judgment that any tax debt owed for the 1987 tax year was dischargeable and that any liens associated with that tax debt should be avoided or should attach only to the debtors'property as of the date of their bankruptcy filing.
Ruling: 
Debtors'additional federal tax assessment was dischargeable even though the debtors did not file an amended tax return since a state statute requiring a taxpayer to report federal tax assessment changes did not mean the taxpayer had to file an amended tax return.
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In re Adelphia Communs. Corp.

In this contested matter under the umbrella of the jointly administered chapter 11 cases of debtors, a communications company (parent company) and its subsidiaries, the Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders, who were the holders of bond debt issued by an intermediate subsidiary of the parent company, one of the 231 debtors whose chapter 11 cases were being jointly administered in this court, moved for several orders, including disqualifying counsel.
Ruling: 
Interdebtor disputes did not evidence fraud or mismanagement warranting the appointment of a trustee for the intermediate subsidiary of a chapter 11 debtor.
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Central Va. Cmty. College v. Katz

Respondent liquidating supervisor of a bankrupt estate commenced 11 U.S.C. §§ 547(b) and 550(a) proceedings to avoid and recover alleged preferential transfers to petitioner state institutions of higher education. The court of appeals affirmed a denial of a motion to dismiss. Certiorari was granted on the question whether the attempt to abrogate state sovereign immunity in 11 U.S.C. § 106(a) was valid.
Ruling: 
Supreme Court affirmed a denial of state institutions of higher education's motion to dismiss an alleged preferential transfers proceeding since Congress pursuant to the Bankruptcy Clause had determined that states were amenable to such proceedings and thus could not use sovereign immunity to bar such proceedings.
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