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 Wilson

Three chapter 13 debtors filed motions asking the court to extend the automatic stay beyond the 30-day automatic expiration period set forth in 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(A). A creditor of one of these debtors opposed the motion. Two other chapter 13 debtors filed unopposed motions to impose the automatic stay pursuant to section 362(c)(4)(B).
Ruling: 
Debtors were denied unopposed motions to impose automatic stays despite prior recent filings since they did not overcome presumption of bad faith.
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Hamilton v. Wash. Mutual Bank FA. (In re Colon)

Plaintiff trustee in bankruptcy brought an adversary proceeding seeking to use the strong arm powers under 11 U.S.C. § 544 to avoid defendant mortgagee's lien against debtors'homestead for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. Primarily the trustee argued that the mortgage, which described the property as "Lot 29" instead of "Lot 79," would not give a bona fide purchaser constructive notice. The mortgagee moved for summary judgment.
Ruling: 
Trustee could avoid the mortgage with erroneous description as a bona fide purchaser or as a hypothetical lien creditor since the mortgage did not impart constructive notice on the trustee.
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In re Pawlowicz

The debtors filed a petition for bankruptcy under chapter 13. After the court found a creditor to be in contempt after the creditor failed to defend itself against the debtors'motion for violation of the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C. § 362(a), the debtors filed a request for monetary and punitive damages and attorney fees pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(h) .
Ruling: 
Debtors were granted award of damages against a creditor who violated the automatic stay by declaring the debtors in default and keeping the security provided for the loan.
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Kendall v. Turner (In re Turner)

Two adversary proceedings were consolidated for trial. In one action, plaintiff, the chapter 7 trustee, brought a fraudulent transfer action against defendants, debtor's former spouse, et al. In the second action, plaintiffs, two individuals who alleged conduct against debtor in another matter that was found by a jury to be tortious, filed an objection to discharge action. The proceedings were before the court for decision following trial.
Ruling: 
Debtor was denied discharge due to the debtor's efforts to defraud creditors by concealing retained interest in the debtor's home.
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In re Smith

A lessor was sanctioned under 11 U.S.C. § 362(h) for violating the automatic bankruptcy stay by unilaterally terminating the farm lease of bankruptcy debtors, but the lessor asserted that the lessor did not know of the bankruptcy and that the debtors'tenancy was terminated prior to the bankruptcy. The lessor moved for relief from the judgment of sanctions.
Ruling: 
Lessor was denied relief from automatic stay violation sanctions since confirmed lease was in place and notice of the bankruptcy was not required.
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In re Moore

A bankruptcy debtor's prior bankruptcy case was dismissed and the debtor filed a second case within a year after the prior case was closed. The debtor moved to extend the automatic bankruptcy stay in the second case, which would otherwise expire 30 days after the second case was filed pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3).
Ruling: 
Automatic stay was extended for second filing made within a year of a prior case being closed since the prior case had actually been dismissed just not closed more than a year before the second filing.
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Verdini v. Poirier (In re Verdini)

Plaintiff bankruptcy debtor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant, the debtor's former spouse, alleging that debts to the spouse arising from the parties'settlement agreement in their divorce proceedings were dischargeable. The spouse contended that the debts were nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5) and (15) as alimony and as marital debts which the debtor was able to pay.
Ruling: 
Marital debts were deemed dischargeable since the alimony was actually compensation for unequal distribution of corporate assets.
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Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys. v. Townsend (In re Townsend)

Debtor filed a pro se motion styled as "Emergency Motion to Reconsider Order of Dismissal Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 109(g) to Shorten Time for Notice and to Permit Re-Filing." The motion was opposed by creditor, which filed a request to deny debtor's Emergency Motion.
Ruling: 
Court denied the debtor's emergency motion to reconsider a section 109(g) dismissal order since the debtor failed to file a court-requested affidivat of making chapter 13 plan payments or postpetition mortgage arrearages.
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Vaughn v. Pipkin (In re Vaughn)

Before the court in a chapter 13 case was movant debtor's request for continuation of the automatic stay. Debtor sought continuation of the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(3)(B) as to all creditors and parties of interest until the case was closed.
Ruling: 
Debtor was granted an automatic stay continuation in a chapter 13 case since the criteria for obtaining an injunction were met.
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In re Talib

Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(3), a chapter 13 debtor filed a certification of exigent circumstances and a motion to waive debt counseling prior to filing.
Ruling: 
Debtor's motion to waive pre-filing debt counseling requirement was denied since she did not establish exigent circumstances.
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In re Artimm S.r.l.

An Italian bankruptcy trustee filed an ancillary proceeding under former 11 U.S.C. § 304 to avert a default judgment against the debtor in a California case filed by the debtor's former executive. Bankruptcy court approval was sought for a proposed settlement agreement entered into by the debtor and a movie studio; the executive and a movie producer opposed the settlement's provision for the transfer of funds to the trustee in Rome.
Ruling: 
Settlement was approved and settlement funds were directed to Italian bankruptcy court to assure an economical and expeditious administration of the estate.
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Campos v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

Appellant debtor challenged the decision entered by the bankruptcy court that denied the debtor's claim for relief from appellee bank's seizure of funds from the debtor's savings account.
Ruling: 
Debtor could not recover setoff because the obligation was more than a year old and did not render debtor insolvent.
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In re Balthrop

Chapter 13 trustee filed an objection to confirmation of debtors'plan, which objection was joined by creditor, claiming that the plan did not comply with 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(4).
Ruling: 
Debtors'chapter 13 plan was confirmed since the plan met the best interests of the creditor test, the debtors could exempt the marital residence, and the creditor did not show a medical emergency exception to this exemption.
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In re Ross-Tucker

A chapter 7 trustee obtained a judgment ordering the debtor to pay the trustee an amount representing proceeds of a lawsuit settlement that the debtor failed to disclose. The trustee then filed motions to hold the debtor in contempt and to surcharge the debtor's exempt property (the debtor's home) based on the debtor's failure to comply with the judgment.
Ruling: 
A surcharge against exempt property was allowed where a debtor failed to disclose and spent case settlement proceeds.
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In re Williams

Debtor requested a waiver of the requirement to obtain budget and credit counseling under 11 U.S.C. § 109(h). Rather than filing the required certification, the debtor filed a motion to be excused from filing a certificate of credit counseling.
Ruling: 
Court denied the debtor's motion to be excused from filing a certificate of credit counseling and ordered the debtor to file either the required certificate of credit counseling or certification of exigent circumstances or risk dismissal of the case without further notice or hearing.
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