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 21,500 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 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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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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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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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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IndyMac Bank F.S.B. v. Mitchell (In re Mitchell)

Plaintiff creditor filed an adversary proceeding against defendant debtor, claiming that the debtor's obligation under a construction loan entered into between the debtor and the creditor was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A), or (a)(2)(B), or (a)(6). The creditor filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims.
Ruling: 
Summary judgment was denied to a creditor claiming loan obligation nondischargeability since the creditor presented insufficient evidence regarding alleged false statements in the loan application and reliance on these statements.
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In re Estate of Roberts

In petitioner individual's capacity as executor of a decedent's estate, petitioner filed a chapter 13 petition on behalf of a decedent's probate estate
Ruling: 
A decedent's estate or its executor are not persons under the Code and thus may not be debtors.
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In re Jenkins

Moving creditor sought to reopen a bankruptcy case to permit filing a motion to modify or amend the order of discharge and for relief from the discharge injunction, so the creditor could bring a claim against the debtor for the unauthorized use and conversion of the creditor's house boat in the Circuit Court for Knox County, Tennessee.
Ruling: 
Creditor was denied motion to reopen bankruptcy case but only because the creditor was not listed as a creditor and could pursue a separate nondischargeability proceeding regarding damages claim at any time.
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Dircks v. Global Fin. Credit L.L.C. (In re Dircks)

Plaintiff debtor and the debtor's wife filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy protection under chapter 7 of the Code. The debtor and the debtor's wife filed an adversary action against defendant creditor to have the court declare as void a prepetition agreement between the parties.
Ruling: 
Court ruled it did not have jurisdiction over debtors'adversary action against a creditor since the trustee had abandoned the claims related to the action and thus had no effect on the estate.
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Fuller v. Cash Am. Pawn (In re Fuller)

Plaintiff, chapter 13 debtor, brought an adversary action against defendant pawn shop alleging the latter violated the automatic stay by disposing of jewelry she had placed with the pawn shop as security for a personal loan and notifying debtor of a purported forfeiture under S.C. Code Ann. § 40-39-110. The pawn shop moved for summary judgment on the claim.
Ruling: 
Pawn shop's notice of forfeiture and selling of the debtor's pawned jewelry violated the automatic stay.
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Bellows v. Froug (In re Froug)

Defendant debtor commenced a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. Plaintiff former wife contended that certain obligations were not dischargeable in bankruptcy under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5). She filed a motion for partial summary judgment or a judgment on the pleadings.
Ruling: 
Former wife was granted partial summary judgment against debtor in finding spousal and child support were not dischargeable but postponed uncertain determination regarding second mortgage.
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Richardson v. Pilgrim (In re Pilgrim)

Plaintiff, a Chapter 7 trustee, sought denial of the debtors' discharges pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2)(A), (a)(2)(B), (a)(3), (a)(4)(B), and (a)(5). The trustee moved for a default judgment, which the bankruptcy court denied without prejudice. The trustee, having re-served the complaint and summons and filed an affidavit addressing the debtors' military status, renewed his motion for a default judgment.
Ruling: 
Discharge was denied where the debtors failed to provide accounting of cash settlement received three months prior to filing or respond to trustee's inquiries or default judgment motion.
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Chelsea Woods Condo. v. Okupe (In re Okupe)

Movant creditor filed a request for an order to terminate or annul the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C. § 362(a) in order to consummate a foreclosure sale of respondent debtor's condominium unit.
Ruling: 
Creditor's motion to terminate automatic stay was granted since evidence showed a foreclosure sale on the debtor's condo occurred prior to filing.
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