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 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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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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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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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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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 Landahl

The debtor petitioned for bankruptcy relief under chapter 7, and claimed an exemption for his homestead under Florida law. The chapter 7 trustee objected to the exemption to the extent that it exceeded the $125,000 amount allowed by 11 U.S.C. § 522(p). The debtor filed a motion for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Court ruled that the $125,000 cap on homestead exemptions applied to exemption claims under state law in "opt-out"states such as Florida.
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In re Garden Ridge Corp.

Before the court in a chapter 11 matter was debtor's Seventh Omnibus Objection (Substantive) to Administrative and Priority Claims Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 105 and 502(b) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3001, 3003, 3007, and two responses thereto filed by claimants, former employees of debtor.
Ruling: 
Claims by debtor's two former employees were deemed allowed as unsecured priority claims since their employment ended during the 90-day priority period and the right to receive severance payments was earned no earlier than on termination.
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Miller v. MBM Corp. (In re Ameriking Inc.)

Plaintiff chapter 7 trustee filed an original complaint seeking recovery from defendant transferee of eight alleged transfers aggregating $1,222,901 under 11 U.S.C. §§ 547, 548, 502(d) and 550. The amended complaint asserted the same claims as the original complaint, but added a new two-page exhibit "B," detailing 56 apparently additional transfers totaling $4,959,980. The trustee moved for leave to file a second amended complaint.
Ruling: 
Trustee was denied a motion to further amend a transfer avoidance action complaint on procedural grounds and since the proposed new cause of action was barred by Code section 549(d)'s two-year limitations period.
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Wood v. United States (In re Wood)

Plaintiff debtor sought relief against defendant IRS for the IRS's postpetition efforts to collect debtor's prepetition tax deficiencies, asserting that the IRS violated the court's order confirming debtor's plan and the automatic stay, and filed an alleged false proof of claim. Debtor sought actual and punitive damages, and sanctions against the IRS, which moved to dismiss the complaint.
Ruling: 
IRS's postpetition efforts to collect prepetition debts did not violate automatic stay since the stay was lifted when the debtor received a discharge and the income tax deficiencies were exempted from discharge.
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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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Wood v. United States (In re Wood)

Plaintiff debtor sought relief against defendant IRS for the IRS's postpetition efforts to collect debtor's prepetition tax deficiencies, asserting that the IRS violated the court's order confirming debtor's plan and the automatic stay, and filed an alleged false proof of claim. Debtor sought actual and punitive damages, and sanctions against the IRS, which moved to dismiss the complaint.
Ruling: 
IRS's postpetition efforts to collect prepetition debts did not violate discharge injunction since the income tax deficiencies were exempted from discharge.
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Nazar v. N. Am. Savings Bank (In re Born)

In an adversary proceeding, plaintiff chapter 7 trustee invoked his 11 U.S.C. § 544 hypothetical lien creditor powers to avoid defendant creditor's lien in the debtors'residence, a mobile or manufactured home, as being unperfected under the Kansas Manufactured Housing Act. Debtors were also named as defendants. The matter was pending decision following trial to the court.
Ruling: 
Trustee's preserved lien was valued in accordance with Code section 506(a) by giving importance to the proposed use and disposition of the property in question.
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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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