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 23,000 opinion summaries by keyword, relevant code section, court and judge. Opinion summaries are provided by our partner LexisNexis® Collier and are updated weekly.

Swartz v. Billingsley (In re Billingsley)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee filed an adversary complaint for accounting and turnover of funds naming the debtor, the debtor's ex-spouse, and a corporation as defendants. The debtor and his ex-spouse were the sole shareholders of the corporation. The complaint sought a turnover of assets from the corporation. The debtor and the corporation moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Trustee was not allowed to seek turnover of assets from a non-debtor corporation of which the debtor was the sole shareholder.
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HLI Creditor Trust v. Metal Techs. Woodstock Corp. (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, 550, certain allegedly preferential transfers made by debtors to defendant transferee during the 90-day period prior to the filing of debtors'petitions. The matter was before the court for decision following trial.
Ruling: 
Some transfers were deemed made in the ordinary course of business but not those that altered the payment practice between debtor and transferee.
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In re Carver

In their chapter 13 plan, the debtors listed the creditor that financed their vehicle as having a fully secured allowed claim for $15,000 and proposed to pay the creditor in monthly installments of $250 without interest. The debtors did not dispute that they purchased the vehicle during the 910-day period prior to filing their petition and that they purchased it for personal use. The creditor filed an objection to confirmation of the plan.
Ruling: 
Court interpreted new section 1325(a)(9) to provide that claims under a chapter 13 plan involving a vehicle purchased within the 910-day period prior to filing must receive the greater of either the claim's full amount without interest or the amount the creditor would have received if the claim were bifurcated between secured and unsecured portions and crammed down.
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In re West

A bankruptcy court issued an order to show cause why counsel for bankruptcy debtors failed to comply with the court's requirement that pleadings be filed electronically rather than on paper. Upon counsel's continued failures to comply with the requirement and counsel's apparently inconsistent statements, the court considered whether to sanction counsel pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011.
Ruling: 
Counsel was sanctioned for refusing to file pleadings electronically and for making misrepresentations to the court regarding the counsel's ability to file electronically.
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In re Hardacre

A bankruptcy debtor proposed a chapter 13 plan that provided no return to her unsecured creditors. The trustee objected to confirmation of the plan on the ground that the debtor impermissibly deducted her mortgage and car loan expenses twice under 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(2)(A)(i) in calculating her disposable income.
Ruling: 
Plan confirmation was denied since the debtor had made a double deduction for mortgage and car loan expenses in calculating projected disposable income.
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In re Schmitz

In a chapter 13 matter, debtor objected to the allowance of attorney fees to a creditor as part of the creditor's claim.
Ruling: 
Oversecured creditor's proof of claim was allowed, but the attorneys'fees for prepetition work was reduced.
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Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp. v. Shapiro (In re Lee)

Appellant creditor challenged the decision entered by the bankruptcy court, which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee trustee, in an adversary proceeding. The trustee moved for judgment upon his claim to avoid the creditor's mortgage as a preferential transfer under 11 U.S.C. § 547.
Ruling: 
Creditor's refinance mortgage was deemed not preferential since under the earmarking doctrine the debtor's estate was valued the same before and after the refinance transaction.
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Intl Paper Co. v. MCI Worldcom Network Serv.

Plaintiff paper company sued defendant communications company, alleging state law claims of trespass, slander of title, and unjust enrichment. The District Court for the Western District of Arkansas granted summary in favor of the communications company. The paper company appealed. Presently before the court was the communications company's motion to dismiss the appeal.
Ruling: 
Confirmation of the reorganization plan discharged the prepetition trespass claim, and the court did not recognize a further postpetition claim of trespass.
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Flinn v. Rains (In re Rains)

Plaintiff, the chapter 7 trustee, moved for an order appointing him to act on behalf of defendant judgment debtor to withdraw $250,000 from an Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA")-qualified pension plan as an exercise of the court's authority to appoint a person to perform an act on behalf of a disobedient party pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 70 and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7070.
Ruling: 
Trustee was granted an order appointing the trustee to act on the judgment debtor's behalf to withdraw funds from the debtor's retirement plan since the debtor did not already deliver the amount to the trustee as ordered.
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In re Bell

In a chapter 13 case, a creditor sought allowance of its secured claim. Debtor sought to treat the deficiency at issue as an unsecured claim.
Ruling: 
Creditor's secured claim on a car was disallowed as long as the debtor surrendered the insurance proceeds from the car that was totaled in an accident during the performance of a confirmed plan.
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Morris v. Delgado (In re Alton)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee filed an adversary proceeding against defendant creditor seeking to avoid an alleged transfer from the debtor as preferential. The debtor granted a security interest in a vehicle to the creditor and subsequently surrendered the vehicle to the creditor.
Ruling: 
Debtor's granting of a security interest in a vehicle to a creditor to secure a loan was deemed a preferential transfer since the lien was not timely perfected and no exceptions to the preferential transfer rule applied.
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DeRose v. Chiro Plus Inc. (In re Chiro Plus Inc.)

Appellant creditors were hired by two chapter 7 debtors to process and collect their bills. The creditors filed claims after the debtors terminated their contract and filed for bankruptcy protection. The creditors appealed after the bankruptcy court granted a motion filed by appellee, a chapter 7 trustee, and expunged the claims that they had filed in the debtors'consolidated bankruptcy proceedings.
Ruling: 
Creditors'argument that burdens of proof were improperly allocated was rejected since the trustee rebutted the prima facie validity of the creditors'claims and the creditors failed to then show the claims were valid.
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Barrett v. Sallie Mae Servicing (In re Barrett)

Plaintiff debtor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant creditor, alleging that his medical problems prevented his repayment of student loans and seeking to discharge the loans based on undue hardship under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8). The bankruptcy court conducted a trial.
Ruling: 
Student loan debt was deemed dischargeable due to undue hardship related to the debtor's medical problems.
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Fetlas Trading Post Inc. v. Granet (In re Fetlas Trading Post Inc.)

Plaintiffs, chapter 11 debtors, filed an adversary proceeding against six defendants, three financial companies and three individuals, alleging inter alia, (Count I) preferential payments pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 547(b), and (Count II) fraudulent transfers under 11 U.S.C. § 548. The matters were before the court on one of the individual defendant's motion to withdraw admissions, and on debtors'motion for partial summary judgment on Counts I and II.
Ruling: 
Court granted debtors partial summary judgment against all but one defendant in an adversary proceeding by finding transfers to these defendants to be avoidable preferential transfers.
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In re Schiffman

Before the court in a chapter 13 bankruptcy matter were debtor's objection to provisions of paragraph 1 of the court's local chapter 13 plan form, as well as the chapter 13 trustee's and a creditor's objections to paragraph 14, and the creditor's objection to paragraph 17, in which the trustee joined, of the amended plan.
Ruling: 
Debtor's objection to the court's chapter 13 plan form was overruled since the debtor sought to exclude tax refunds from estate property.
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