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.

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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Stoe v. Flaherty

Plaintiff former officer sought review of a decision of the district court, which denied the officer's motion for mandatory abstention under 28 U.S.C. § 1334 after defendants, current and former officers of the officer's former employer, removed the officer's action for unpaid severance benefits to federal court. Defendants were also ultimately successful on the merits of the case.
Ruling: 
Court ruled that mandatory abstention applied to cases removed to federal court including the case of a former officer for unpaid severance benefits since the case was related to but did not arise in a bankruptcy case, did not arise under the Code, and was started in state court.
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In re Refco Inc.

After several related entities filed voluntary chapter 11 petitions, movant official committee of unsecured creditors moved to clarify its obligation under 11 U.S.C. § 1102(b)(3)(A) to provide unsecured creditors who were not members of the committee with access to information.
Ruling: 
Official committee of unsecured creditors had duty to keep unsecured creditors informed but did not have to disclose information that was confidential or required waiving of attorney-client privilege.
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In re Jaraki

A bankruptcy debtor was discharged but his case was reopened upon discovery of a pending state litigation by the debtor which was not disclosed in the bankruptcy. The trustee moved for approval of a settlement of the litigation for $12,500 pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9019, and the debtor objected to the settlement on the ground that the value of the litigation substantially exceeded the settlement.
Ruling: 
Debtor's objection to a settlement of undisclosed litigation was overruled s ince the settlement provided for more recovery than was likely to occur and, thus, was in the best interest of the estate.
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Will v. Northwestern Univ. (In re Nutraquest Inc.)

Appellant university filed a third party complaint seeking contribution from various makers of ephedra products after it was sued following the death of one of its football players. Appellee debtor, one of the makers, later filed for bankruptcy protection. The university appealed after the district court upheld the bankruptcy court's approval of a settlement between appellee and the player's estate.
Ruling: 
Court did not abuse its discretion in finding that a tort settlement met Rules requirements and state tort law.
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In re Koliba

In earlier proceedings, the trustee filed a motion to dismiss the debtors'petition for bankruptcy relief because debtors'counsel had not complied with the signature requirements for electronic filing, and the motion to dismiss was denied. The trustee also asked the court to review and deny the fees paid to the debtors'attorney, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 329(a) and to order a full or partial disgorgement of the fees already paid.
Ruling: 
Court denied a trustee's motion for denial of the debtor's attorney's fees since the attorney had made a technical filing error and had promptly corrected it.
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In re Council

A prior bankruptcy of debtors, husband and wife, was dismissed upon the debtors'failure to make payments due under their confirmed chapter 13 plan. The debtors subsequently filed a second chapter 13 petition and moved to extend the automatic bankruptcy stay pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(B).
Ruling: 
Automatic stay extension was granted from a prior chapter 13 case since the debtors showed that although they had not complied with the prior plan, that non-compliance was due to a job loss and their second filing was made in good faith.
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In re Evans

In a chapter 13 bankruptcy case, debtors objected to a proof of claim filed by creditor, a mortgagee. More specifically, they objected to the extent of creditor's claim. The court conducted a hearing on the objection.
Ruling: 
Court sustained debtors' objection to some of a creditor mortgagee's proof of claim for attorneys'fees and costs since the creditor could not make a secured arrearage claim under section 1322(e) if the fees and costs did not first qualify as part of a secured claim under section 506(b).
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Gruver v. United States Dept of the Treasury (In re Gruver)

Plaintiffs, joint bankruptcy debtors, brought an adversary proceeding against defendant United States, alleging that the government violated the automatic bankruptcy stay by offsetting the debtors'income tax refund against the prior tax liability of one of the debtors.
Ruling: 
Debtors failed to show that the IRS had intentionally violated the automatic stay since the IRS reversed its offsetting of the debtors' refund against a prior tax liability once it became aware of the bankruptcy case.
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In re Star Broad.

Creditor filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay, 11 U.S.C. § 362, in chapter 11 debtor's case and a motion to dismiss debtor's case under 11 U.S.C. § 1112(b).
Ruling: 
Creditor was granted a motion for relief from the automatic stay since the debtor's acting in bad faith by attempting to reject a perceived unprofitable contract warranted such relief.
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In re Slocum Lake Drainage Dist.

The debtor, a county drainage district located in the State of Illinois petitioned for bankruptcy relief pursuant to chapter 9. The movant creditor sought dismissal of the petition pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 921(c), because it contended that the debtor was not authorized under Illinois law to file a petition under chapter 9, as required by 11 U.S.C. § 109(c)(2).
Ruling: 
Debtor's case was dismissed since the debtor was not authorized under Illinois law to file a petition under chapter 9.
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AC&S Inc. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co.

Appellant asbestos company (insured) sought review of a decision of the district court, which affirmed an arbitration award in favor of appellee insurance company. The arbitration resolved an issue regarding the allocation of claims between the insured's products coverage and its "operations"coverage.
Ruling: 
Arbitration award violated automatic stay since the arbitration should have been halted once it was evident that estate property could be negatively affected.
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In re Nobex Corp.

A bankruptcy debtor in possession, a development stage biopharmaceuticals company, sought to preserve its assets while pursuing a sale of substantially all of its assets pursuant to an orderly sale process. The debtor moved for authorization to pay sale-related incentives to senior management officials.
Ruling: 
Sale-related incentive pay met Code requirements.
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