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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 Gee

A putative bankruptcy debtor filed a bankruptcy petition and a certification of exigent circumstances in support of a request for waiver of the requirement under 11 U.S.C. § 109 that the debtor obtain debt counseling prior to filing her petition. The certification of exigent circumstances was denied, and the debtor moved to vacate the order rejecting the certification.
Ruling: 
Debtor was ineligible to be a debtor despite exigent circumstances since the debtor failed to request credit counseling services prior to filing.
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In re Booth

Debtors petitioned for bankruptcy relief pursuant to chapter 13 on October 20, 2005. The debtors had not completed the prepetition credit counseling required by 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(1), and they filed a motion to obtain an exemption from the credit counseling requirement or for an extension of time in which to meet the requirement.
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied motion for exemption from prefiling credit counseling requirement since they had failed to certify that they had requested but were unable to obtain the counseling.
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Klayman v. United States (In re Klayman)

Plaintiff debtor filed suit against defendant United States for a declaratory judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a) that certain tax liability was dischargeable. The debtor proposed to deal with that claim in the instant Chapter 11 case. The government opposed the complaint and moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Old tax liability was deemed nondischargeable since the government established debtor had willfully attempted to evade tax payments.
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Kirchner v. Sticht (In re Sticht)

Plaintiffs, several buyers or intended buyers of homes built by debtors, brought consolidated adversary proceeding seeking denial of a discharge of debtors'obligations to them pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727 and a determination that debtors'debts to them were not dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523.
Ruling: 
Debtor builders were denied discharge since the numerous errors and omissions in their schedules amounted to a reckless disregard for the truth.
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Burns v. Shelton (In re Shelton)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee sought avoidance of the transfer of property between defendants, debtor and his father, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 549(a). The court previously determined that the "earmarking doctrine" did not apply to the transfer. The matter was remanded from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Ruling: 
The earmarking doctrine did not apply to a postpetition mortgage transaction, and the mortgage was invalid since a prior transfer of the underlying property was avoided.
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In re E.S. Profl Servs.

Petitioning creditor filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition under 11 U.S.C. § 303(b)(2) against the alleged debtor. The court conducted a trial on the involuntary bankruptcy petition.
Ruling: 
Creditor's involuntary petition was dismissed where the debtor showed that the debtor had more than twelve creditors and was generally paying its debts as they came due.
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Richardson v. Schoemperlen (In re Schoemperlen)

Plaintiff bankruptcy trustee brought an adversary proceeding against defendant debtor seeking to revoke the debtor's discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(d)(2) for the debtor's failure to turn over an inheritance that the debtor received after filing the debtor's bankruptcy petition. The debtor turned over the required amount immediately prior to trial.
Ruling: 
Debtor's discharge was revoked since the debtor failed to comply with instructions to turn over any inheritance obtained within six months of discharge and only complied on the eve of trial.
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In re Field

Debtors proposed a second amended chapter 12 plan of reorganization for their farming operation. Two creditors objected, and the trustee in bankruptcy recommended confirmation of the plan only if its terms were altered.
Ruling: 
Plan confirmation was denied where the debtors had failed to file a motion to modify the plan and to demonstrate that the plan was feasible.
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In re Bramlett Plumbing Inc.

In August, 2005, the debtors filed an application to employ an accounting firm, and the application disclosed that the debtors had paid the firm a prepetition retainer. The court advised debtors that the filing was deficient and the debtors filed a pleading withdrawing the application. The debtors were directed to file a report disclosing the actual amount of the retainer and its disposition.
Ruling: 
Debtors'counsel was ordered to refund the debtor a retainer that had been characterized to the court as for bankruptcy case services but that had been applied to a prepetition services debt.
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In re Hettler

Plaintiff creditor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant bankruptcy debtors, alleging that the creditor's state court judgment against the debtors established willful and malicious injury to the creditor and thus the judgment debt was not dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) based on collateral estoppel. The creditor moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
State jury findings of actual malice sufficiently established willful and malicious injury under the Code and thus judgment was nondischargeable.
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In re Lott

The bankruptcy court granted the chapter 7 trustee's motion to reopen the debtors' case. The issue was whether the wife debtor's interest in the proceeds of an action for the wrongful death of her mother were property of the estate. The trustee claimed that the debtor's interest in the wrongful death action proceeds was property of the estate because that interest, and the cause of action, arose on the prepetition date of death.
Ruling: 
Debtor's interest in the proceeds of a wrongful death action of her mother's estate was property of the estate since it was at least a prepetition contingent right to the proceeds.
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Khuu v. Beeren & Barry Invs. LLC (In re Khuu)

Plaintiffs, chapter 13 debtors, brought an action to set aside a prepetition foreclosure sale at which defendant purchasers bought debtors'house. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim for relief.
Ruling: 
Court denied a motion to dismiss the debtor's complaint since the complaint stated a claim and the debtors had standing under the circumstances to assert transfer avoidance powers that ordinarily reside with the trustee.
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Wash. Mut. Bank F.A. v. Sommerville (In re Sommerville)

Plaintiff, a servicer for a prior lien holder, alleged that it filed a corporate deed of release in error and that defendant debtor's note has not been paid in full. The servicer sought to have the deed of release set aside and the deed of trust reinstated. The debtor and defendant trustee opposed reinstatement of the deed of trust as violating 11 U.S.C. § 544(a). The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Lien holder was barred by automatic stay from correcting the lien holder's mistaken release of debtor since filing established the trustee as a hypothetical lien creditor senior to the lien holder.
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In re Engebregtsen

Debtors filed a chapter 13 case, and creditor, the holder of a lien in debtors'pickup truck, filed a proof of claim in the total amount of $21,834.72, delineating $20,475 as the secured portion of the claim and $1,359.72 as the unsecured portion. Debtors opposed the creditor's valuation of the vehicle and filed an objection to allowance of the claim.
Ruling: 
The liquidation value at the time of filing was held to be the valuation method for the creditor's objected-to proof of claim on the lien held on the debtor's pickup truck and was not affected by the debtor's continued unauthorized use of the vehicle.
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