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.

In re Moates

Debtors in two bankruptcy cases submitted to the court the question of whether they were required under 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(1)(B)(v), as individual debtors whose debts were primarily business debts, to file a statement of current monthly income. The question was before the court for decision.
Ruling: 
Debtors whose debts were not primarily consumer debts were not required to file a statement of current monthly income as the filing of schedules I and J provided redundant information and, thus, satisfied that requirement.
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In re Bakker

Defendant debtors, a husband and a wife, sought to discharge debt owed to plaintiff supplier. The supplier challenged the dischargeability of debt under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2), 727(a)(4)(A), (a)(4)(C), (a)(5) and (a)(7).
Ruling: 
Debt owed to a supplier was dischargeable since the supplier had failed to show fraud by the debtors.
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Burgess v. Sikes (In re Burgess)

Appellant bankruptcy estate challenged the decision of the district court. A panel of the court of appeals reversed the prior decision of denying a motion for turnover.
Ruling: 
Crop-disaster relief payments were not estate property since the legislation providing for the payments was enacted after the filing.
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In re Vinson

Petitioner debtors each claimed a homestead exemption in the same real property. Respondent trustee objected.
Ruling: 
Debtors were not permitted to claim state homestead exemption because the state law authorizing the exemption violated the Code by exempting non-debtor property.
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Evans v. Echevarria & Assocs. P.A. (In re Evans)

A pro se bankruptcy debtor sought disqualification of the bankruptcy judge under 28 U.S.C. § 144 based on an ex parte communication. The debtor moved for reconsideration of the order denying the debtor's motion for disqualification.
Ruling: 
Disqualification of the bankruptcy judge was not warranted since the judge had properly complied with applicable disqualification procedures.
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HLI Creditor Trust v. Metal Techs. Inc. (In re Hayes Lemmerz Intl Inc.)

Plaintiff, a creditor trust, commenced an adversary proceeding, seeking to avoid and recover pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 547 and 550, certain allegedly preferential transfers made by debtors to defendant, the transferee. The matter was before the court for decision following trial.
Ruling: 
Transfers made within credit terms did not insure that such transfers were made in the ordinary course of business, and, thus, some of the debtor's payments were deemed preferential transfers.
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Law v. Stover (In re Law)

Appellant debtors challenged orders of the bankruptcy court entered on June 27, 2005, and June 29, 2005, in each of these cases sustaining the objection of appellee, the chapter 7 trustee, to debtors'claim of exemption in the portions of their federal tax refunds attributable to the federal child tax credit.
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied exemption of their federal child tax credit refunds since the refunds were contingent interests in future payments and thus were estate property.
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Gilbane Bldg. Co. v. Air Sys. (In re Encompass Servs. Corp.)

After the debtors' chapter 11 plan was confirmed, plaintiff contractor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant purchaser, seeking a declaration that the debtors'assignment of a subcontract to the purchaser was invalid and remained in the estate, and seeking an injunction against the purchaser from further prosecuting the subcontract in state court. The parties cross- moved for summary judgment; the purchaser moved for abstention.
Ruling: 
Court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over an action involving the assigment of a subcontract since the subcontract was created independent of the bankruptcy and did not impact postconfirmation distributions to creditors.
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Wellman v. Salt Creek Valley Bank (In re Wellman)

Debtors appealed from the bankruptcy court's orders: (1) dismissing their chapter 13 case with prejudice; and (2) denying their motion to reconsider the order of dismissal. Appellee was a first lienholder on a parcel of unimproved land adjacent to debtors'residence.
Ruling: 
Dismissal of debtors'chapter 13 case was affirmed since a substantial deficit in plan payments showed the debtors had materially defaulted in performing under their plan's terms.
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In re Shepard

Bankruptcy debtors, husband and wife, filed a joint chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, but the debtors did not identify as an asset a condominium that was co-owned by the husband and a daughter. A lender which financed the purchase of the condominium filed a proof of a secured mortgage claim, and the trustee moved to dismiss the debtors petition based on debt limits under 11 U.S.C. § 109(e).
Ruling: 
Debtor husband was ineligible for chapter 13 relief because the debtor husband's unsecured claims exceeded the statutory limit.
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R&L Dist. Inc. v. MacPherson (In re MacPherson)

Plaintiff creditor filed an adversary proceeding against defendant debtor seeking a determination that the debt owed to him, which resulted from a personal guarantee of debts owed by corporations owned or controlled by the debtor, was nondischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2), (a)(4) and (a)(6). The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment only as to the section 523(a)(2) claim.
Ruling: 
Court deemed debt dischargeable since creditor did not establish causal connection between debtor's personal guarantee of debt and alleged false representation.
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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 the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in setting the particularities of notice procedure, including not conducting an evidentiary hearing.
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In re Ball

The debtors initiated a proceeding for relief under chapter 13. The debtors had filed two earlier petitions for relief under chapter 13 and under chapter 7, and the debtors had received a chapter 7 discharge in October 2005. The debtors filed a motion to extend the automatic stay, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(B), and the creditor objected to the extension.
Ruling: 
Debtors were granted automatic stay extension for chapter 13 case filed shortly after chapter 7 discharge since the debtors appeared to be acting in good faith to address the mortgage debt.
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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 were not bound following a chapter 7 conversion to the estate value stated in their chapter 13 plan since the debtors'claims against the lender were not listed in their chapter 13 plan but later in their chapter 7 case.
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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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