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.

Tynes v. Lowell (In re Lowell)

Plaintiff former spouse of defendant bankruptcy debtor brought an adversary proceeding against the debtor, seeking a determination that amounts owed by the debtor under the parties'divorce decree were non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5) and (15). The court conducted a trial.
Ruling: 
Debts owed to debtor's former spouse pursuant to a divorce decree were nondischargeable since they were intended as part of spousal support.
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Savage & Assocs. P.C. v. A.I. Credit Corp. (In re Teligent Inc.)

Plaintiff representative of unsecured creditors of reorganized bankruptcy debtors brought an adversary proceeding against defendant, a company which financed insurance premiums, alleging that the debtors' payments to the company for financing its business insurance premiums constituted preferential transfers under 11 U.S.C. § 547. The company moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Debtors'payments to a company for financing the debtors'business insurance premiums were not preferential transfers since the company was oversecured and had properly perfected its security interest.
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Thurmond v. Rajapakse (In re Rajapakse)

The chapter 7 trustee moved, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 521(4), for an order directing the debtors to turn over and account for certain property located outside the United States. The debtors contended that the disputed property was not property of the estate and was therefore beyond the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction.
Ruling: 
Order directing the debtors to turn over property located outside the United States was granted since estate property includes that located inside or outside the United States.
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Gordon v. NovaStar Mortg. Inc. (In re Hedrick)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee in bankruptcy sought to avoid as a preference, a security deed recorded for the benefit of defendant lender against debtors'residence that secured a refinancing loan, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 547. The trustee asserted that the recording was a transfer of an interest in debtors'property within the 90-day period preceding the bankruptcy, made while debtors were insolvent. Both parties moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Creditor's loan security deed was not an avoidable preference since the security deed was effective not on its recording but on the date of execution, which was prior to 90-day lookback period, and under equitable subordination doctrine.
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Cadle Co. v. Preston-Guenther (In re Guenther)

Plaintiff creditor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant Chapter 7 debtors, seeking the denial of a discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2), (a)(3) and (a)(4).
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied discharge where they did not dispute that they had made false oaths that were material.
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Unsecured Claims Admr v. Franks (In re Centennial HealthCare Corp.)

Respondent judgment creditor filed a claim against the debtors alleging that the debtors were liable to her pursuant to a judgment from a state court in Massachusetts in the amount of $114,148, which included an assessment of punitive damages. Movant, unsecured claims administrator, objected to the claim because he contended that punitive damages were not allowed in a bankruptcy context.
Ruling: 
Objection to creditor's state court punitive damages claim was rejected since punitive damages claims are permissible though often subordinated claims under Code sections.
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Rutherford v. Auto Cash Inc. (In re Rutherford)

Plaintiffs, debtors, sought sanctions against defendant creditor pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(h). The debtors contended that the creditor willfully violated the automatic stay when it refused to turn over a vehicle, which the creditor repossessed prior to the filing of the petition. The creditor argued that before turning over the vehicle, it was entitled to a court order determining that the creditor's interest in the vehicle was adequately protected.
Ruling: 
Sanctions for willful violation of the automatic stay were imposed on a creditor who repossessed a vehicle prior to the debtor's filing and refused turnover without a court order.
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Stephens v. Park Villas Homeowners Assn (In re Stephens)

Debtors, a husband and wife, filed a motion to avoid a lien in a bankruptcy proceeding. Respondent homeowners association objected to the motion.
Ruling: 
Debtors were allowed to avoid a judicial lien because it impaired an exemption to which the debtors would have been entitled in the absence of any liens.
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In re Wycuff

Bankruptcy debtors, a husband and wife, claimed a homestead exemption in their residence to which the wife held sole legal title, including the husband's dower interest in the property. Creditors, the debtors'mortgagees, objected to the exemption.
Ruling: 
Debtors were only entitled to a homestead exemption as to the property's legal title in relation to the trustee's interest pursuant to the debtor husband's dower interest, but the debtors' homestead exemption was disallowed as to the property's equitable interest since the creditor's mortgage existed premarriage and thus was superior to the claimed exemption.
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In re Kennedy Mfg.

A law firm representing a bankruptcy debtor submitted its final application for compensation and reimbursement of expenses. The U.S. trustee objected to the application on the grounds that certain of the firm's services did not benefit the estate, time spent with a financial advisor was not compensable, and the firm engaged in overstaffing.
Ruling: 
Debtor's attorneys were granted most of their fees over the trustee's objection that their services did not benefit the estate since the fees were reasonably calculated to benefit the estate when they were performed.
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In re Value Music Concepts

Plaintiff, in his capacity as the creditor representative appointed pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 1123(b)(3) under debtors'confirmed chapter 11 plan, sued defendant creditors, seeking to recover, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 547(b), alleged preferential transfers for the benefit of unsecured creditors. Defendants moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Creditor representative could pursue preference avoidance actions on debts assumed under a settlement agreement between debtors and creditors two weeks before chapter 11 filings.
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Sec. Investor Prot. Corp. v. Rossi (In re Cambridge Capital LLC)

Moving defendant, the fiancee of the primary defendant, moved for partial summary judgment to dismiss adversary claims brought against her by plaintiff trustee for liquidation, under 11 U.S.C. § 542 and N.Y. Debt. & Cred. Law §§ 273–78, asserting allegations of fraud and constructive fraud concerning the transfer of $ 1.5 million in assets by the primary defendant, including the sale of his personal residence to the fiancee.
Ruling: 
Trustee had standing to assert claims of fraud regarding transfer by chief executive officer of the debtor of personal residence to wholly owned investment company and then to the officer's fiancee.
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Cadle Co. v. Taras (In re Taras)

Plaintiff creditor filed a complaint objecting to the discharge of defendant debtor pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2) and (4).
Ruling: 
Debtor was denied discharge due to debtor's material omission from debtor's schedules of an interest as a trust beneficiary.
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In re Lawrence

Plaintiff chapter 7 debtor filed an adversary proceeding against defendant United States and others to determine the dischargeability of his various student loan obligations. The United States, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, moved to dismiss with respect to the debtor's Health Education Assistance Loans ("HEAL").
Ruling: 
Debtor's HEAL student loans were deemed nondischargeable and the undue hardship argument was irrelevant since an unconscionability standard applied and the debtor did not plead unconscionability sufficiently.
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Powers v. United States (In re Powers)

Plaintiff debtor filed an adversary proceeding against defendant, the Colorado Department of Revenue ("DOR") challenging an assessment by the DOR for additional state income tax that the DOR claimed that the debtor owed for two tax years after the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") reported changes in the debtor's federal income discovered through an audit. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
An additional state tax income assessment was deemed nondischargeable since the debtor had failed to file an amended state tax return required after the IRS had audited the debtor and reported changes in the debtor's income tax.
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