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.

McDow v. Geddings (In re Geddings)

Plaintiff U.S. trustee brought an adversary proceeding against defendant chapter 7 debtors, seeking denial of their discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 727(a). The trustee moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied discharge since the debtors were deemed to have intended to defraud by not disclosing transferred property and by filing inaccurate documentation.
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Gilbane Bldg. Co. v. Air Sys. (In re Encompass Servs. Corp.)

After the debtors' chapter 11 plan was confirmed, plaintiff contractor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant purchaser, seeking a declaration that the debtors'assignment of a subcontract to the purchaser was invalid and remained in the estate, and seeking an injunction against the purchaser from further prosecuting the subcontract in state court. The parties cross- moved for summary judgment; the purchaser moved for abstention.
Ruling: 
Court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over an action involving the assigment of a subcontract since the subcontract was created independent of the bankruptcy and did not impact postconfirmation distributions to creditors.
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Wellman v. Salt Creek Valley Bank (In re Wellman)

Debtors appealed from the bankruptcy court's orders: (1) dismissing their chapter 13 case with prejudice; and (2) denying their motion to reconsider the order of dismissal. Appellee was a first lienholder on a parcel of unimproved land adjacent to debtors'residence.
Ruling: 
Dismissal of debtors'chapter 13 case was affirmed since a substantial deficit in plan payments showed the debtors had materially defaulted in performing under their plan's terms.
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HLI Creditor Trust v. Metal Techs. Inc. (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 and 550, certain allegedly preferential transfers made by debtors to defendant, the transferee. The matter was before the court for decision following trial.
Ruling: 
Transfers made within credit terms did not insure that such transfers were made in the ordinary course of business, and, thus, some of the debtor's payments were deemed preferential transfers.
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Law v. Stover (In re Law)

Appellant debtors challenged orders of the bankruptcy court entered on June 27, 2005, and June 29, 2005, in each of these cases sustaining the objection of appellee, the chapter 7 trustee, to debtors'claim of exemption in the portions of their federal tax refunds attributable to the federal child tax credit.
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied exemption of their federal child tax credit refunds since the refunds were contingent interests in future payments and thus were estate property.
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Movitz v. Fiesta Invs. LLC (In re Ehmann)

Shortly after issuance of the court's opinion and order, the parties conditionally agreed to a settlement of the instant adversary proceeding. Under the settlement, defendant would pay to the trustee $85,000. The condition of the settlement, however, was the court's withdrawal of its opinion. Both parties moved for approval of the compromise and settlement pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9019, and for the court's withdrawal of its opinion.
Ruling: 
Bankruptcy court vacated its order and granted the trustee's motion to approve a settlement that mandated the court vacate its order but only after the court balanced the equities.
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In re Keith

On November 5, 2003, an order of discharge on behalf of debtors was entered. On June 7, 2005, the trustee moved to reopen the case on the grounds that he learned that one debtor had an insurance fraud claim worth approximately $5,000 which was not reported during the course of the bankruptcy case. Debtors filed an amended Schedule B to list the fraud claim and asserted an exemption under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 427.010(1). The trustee objected.
Ruling: 
Debtor failed to disclose an insurance fraud claim during the debtor's case and claimed a state law exemption after the case was reopened in bad faith.
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Roberts v. Pierce (In re Pierce)

Appellant claimant challenged an order of the district court, which affirmed a bankruptcy court's order granting in part and disallowing in part a proof of claim against appellee debtor without holding an evidentiary hearing in a voluntary chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.
Ruling: 
Order regarding proof of claim was affirmed since negative notices are permissible under the Code.
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Hutchinson v. Del. Sav. Bank FSB

Plaintiff debtors sued defendant lender for fraud, breach of contract, and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act ("NJCFA") and sued defendant loan servicing companies for negligence/intentional tort, breach of contract, violation of the NJCFA, and violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). Defendants moved to dismiss.
Ruling: 
Debtors'claims against the lender were not barred by confirmation of their chapter 13 plan since conversion to chapter 7 removed the res judicita effect of that chapter 13 plan.
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Gallagher Langlas & Gallagher P.C. v. Clair (In re Clair)

In a core proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(I), (J), plaintiff law firm sought to recover from defendant debtor a sum of attorneys'fees that the debtor was ordered to pay pursuant to a divorce. The firm moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Attorneys were denied summary judgment since a material issue remained as to whether an award of attorneys'fees to a debtor's former wife was intended to be a maintenance or support obligation and, thus, whether it was exempt from discharge.
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In re Shepard

Bankruptcy debtors, husband and wife, filed a joint chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, but the debtors did not identify as an asset a condominium that was co-owned by the husband and a daughter. A lender which financed the purchase of the condominium filed a proof of a secured mortgage claim, and the trustee moved to dismiss the debtors petition based on debt limits under 11 U.S.C. § 109(e).
Ruling: 
Debtor husband was ineligible for chapter 13 relief because the debtor husband's unsecured claims exceeded the statutory limit.
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R&L Dist. Inc. v. MacPherson (In re MacPherson)

Plaintiff creditor filed an adversary proceeding against defendant debtor seeking a determination that the debt owed to him, which resulted from a personal guarantee of debts owed by corporations owned or controlled by the debtor, was nondischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2), (a)(4) and (a)(6). The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment only as to the section 523(a)(2) claim.
Ruling: 
Court deemed debt dischargeable since creditor did not establish causal connection between debtor's personal guarantee of debt and alleged false representation.
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Roberts v. Pierce (In re Pierce)

Appellant claimant challenged an order of the district court, which affirmed a bankruptcy court's order granting in part and disallowing in part a proof of claim against appellee debtor without holding an evidentiary hearing in a voluntary chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.
Ruling: 
Order regarding proof of claim was affirmed since the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in setting the particularities of notice procedure, including not conducting an evidentiary hearing.
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In re Ball

The debtors initiated a proceeding for relief under chapter 13. The debtors had filed two earlier petitions for relief under chapter 13 and under chapter 7, and the debtors had received a chapter 7 discharge in October 2005. The debtors filed a motion to extend the automatic stay, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(B), and the creditor objected to the extension.
Ruling: 
Debtors were granted automatic stay extension for chapter 13 case filed shortly after chapter 7 discharge since the debtors appeared to be acting in good faith to address the mortgage debt.
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Hutchinson v. Del. Sav. Bank FSB

Plaintiff debtors sued defendant lender for fraud, breach of contract, and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act ("NJCFA") and sued defendant loan servicing companies for negligence/intentional tort, breach of contract, violation of the NJCFA, and violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). Defendants moved to dismiss.
Ruling: 
Debtors were not bound following a chapter 7 conversion to the estate value stated in their chapter 13 plan since the debtors'claims against the lender were not listed in their chapter 13 plan but later in their chapter 7 case.
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