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.

In re Nuttall

Debtors, a husband and wife, filed an application for waiver of the chapter 7 filing fee for individuals who could not pay the filing fee in full or in installments pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1930(f).
Ruling: 
Debtors were granted a waiver of the filing fee based on a review of their income.
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Sallie Mae Servicing Corp. v. Ransom (In re Ransom)

Appellant, a student loan lender, sought review of a decision of the bankruptcy court, which determined that appellee debtor was not obligated under the confirmed chapter 13 plan to pay accrued interest charged by the lender as part of her student loan obligation.
Ruling: 
Panel rejected that a confirmed plan could preclude a student loan lender from recovering postpetition interest on a student loan debt and thus discharge the interest obligation without conducting an undue hardship hearing.
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McKloskey v. Schabel (In re Schabel)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee filed an adversary proceeding against defendant creditors, the parents of one of the debtors, seeking to avoid an alleged transfer from the debtors as preferential. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Court granted summary judgment to the creditors, debtor's parents, by finding that they had asserted the new value defense to an otherwise preferential transfer.
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Darrah v. Franklin Credit (In re Darrah)

Plaintiff bankruptcy debtor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant, the holder of the mortgage on the debtor's residence, alleging that the holder violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The debtor did not list the claim against the holder in his bankruptcy schedules, and the holder moved for summary judgment based on the debtor's lack of standing.
Ruling: 
Debtor could not bring an adversarial proceeding against the mortgage holder since the claim itself was estate property and, thus, a claim that only the trustee could bring.
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In re Cotton

Debtor commenced a chapter 13 case. Before the court were debtor's motion seeking to voluntarily dismiss the case, along with several other matters, to wit: a motion for relief from automatic stay filed on behalf of an estate, a motion for approval of settlement filed on behalf of debtor's former counsel in related state litigation, and the chapter 13 trustee's objection to confirmation of plan.
Ruling: 
Court denied the debtors their motion to dismiss a chapter 13 case and ruled that the best interests of the creditors were to have the case converted to chapter 7.
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Grosser v. Lang (In re Northeastco Door & Millwork Co.)

Plaintiff seller of total interest in defendant corporate bankruptcy debtor brought an action in state court against the debtor and defendant principal of the debtor, alleging breach of the contract of sale. The bankruptcy trustee removed the action to the bankruptcy court after the debtor filed its bankruptcy petition, and the seller moved for abstention and to remand the action to state court.
Ruling: 
Court abstained from hearing the breach of contact action and remanded it back to the state court since the bankruptcy court could not conduct a jury trial without consent of both parties, which the court did not have.
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Jimenez v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (In re Jimenez)

Plaintiff bankruptcy debtor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant bank, alleging that the bank violated the automatic bankruptcy stay provisions of 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(3) by freezing the debtor's accounts after learning of her bankruptcy. The debtor and the bank cross-moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Bank violated an automatic stay by freezing the debtor's accounts after learning of the debtor's filing.
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Shubert v. Lucent Techs. Inc. (In re Winstar Communs. Inc.)

Plaintiff, a chapter 7 trustee substituted for a debtor, asserted against defendant creditor claims for, inter alia, breach of contract, preferential transfer avoidable under 11 U.S.C. § 547, and equitable subordination. The creditor filed counterclaims for, inter alia, fraud and misrepresentation. Those claims were tried to the court.
Ruling: 
Trustee was able to avoid transfers as preferential and was granted equitable subordination of the creditor's claim since the creditor as the debtor's lender had coerced the debtor into purchasing unneeded products.
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In re Great Lakes Factors Inc.

The trustee filed a motion pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 327(a) to employ special legal counsel to represent the trustee on behalf of the estate for the pursuit of certain tort and/or contract claims that was anticipated would have the effect of enlarging the estate of the debtor. The banking company and the court-appointed receiver filed objections to the appointment of the special counsel.
Ruling: 
Trustee's motion to employ special counsel was granted over objections since the special counsel qualified as a disinterested professional and the intended use of special counsel did not appear to harm estate assets or to raise res judicata issues as claimed.
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In re Smith

Debtors filed a motion for sanctions pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(h), as it existed prior to the amendments provided by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, alleging that a creditor and the creditor's repossession agent willfully violated the automatic stay by attempting to repossess the debtors' automobile during their ongoing chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
Ruling: 
Debtors were awarded damages for the creditor's attempt to repossess the debtor's car in violation of the automatic stay.
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In re Allied Holdings Inc.

Debtors, who had filed voluntary petitions under chapter 11, filed a motion for approval of a key employee retention program ("KERP") pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 363(b). The KERP was supported by the official committee of unsecured creditors and the debtors'postpetition lenders but opposed by a union committee and the U.S. trustee.
Ruling: 
Court provided that it would approve a key employee retention program with certain amendments to the program since the debtors had a sound business reason for proposing the program.
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In re Messer

Debtors filed a motion for sanctions pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(h), alleging that a mortgage creditor and its attorney violated the automatic stay that was implemented when they filed a bankruptcy petition under chapter 13.
Ruling: 
Debtors were awarded damages after a mortgage creditor willfully violated an automatic stay by intentionally initiating a foreclosure proceeding.
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Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of 360networks (USA) Inc. v. U.S. Relocation Servs. Inc. (In re 360networks Inc.)

Plaintiff bankruptcy debtors brought an adversary proceeding against defendant relocation service company, seeking to recover as preferential transfers payments made by the debtors to the company for the company's services under a contract to assist in relocating the debtors'employees. The parties'cross-moved for summary judgment with regard to the company's defenses under 11 U.S.C. §§ 547(c)(1), (2).
Ruling: 
A company helping debtors relocate their employees did not show in a transfer avoidance proceeding that transfers were made in the ordinary course of business, but the court ruled that it was unclear regarding whether its services constituted contemporane
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Turner v. Stuart (In re Stuart)

Two cases came before the court on motions filed by movant, the trustee, to dismiss each of respondent debtor's cases with prejudice. Also, in one of the cases, movant creditor sought to annul the automatic stay so that it could complete the foreclosure sale to the third-party bidder.
Ruling: 
Debtor's third and fourth cases were dismissed for cause due to filing in bad faith.
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Abboud v. Ground Round Inc. (Ground Round Inc.)

Appellee landlord commenced an adversary proceeding to determine appellant chapter 11 debtor's interest in a liquor license previously used in its operation of a restaurant at a leased premises. The bankruptcy court granted the landlord summary judgment, holding that the landlord was entitled to enforce a retransfer provision under the lease. The debtor appealed.
Ruling: 
Landlord was entitled to enforce a lease's retransfer of a liquor license provision, and the debtor's argument that the landlord had an alternative right of payment remedy available that constituted a dischargeable claim was rejected.
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