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Messerlian v. A.O. Smith Corp.

After defendant manufacturer removed claims against it in four asbestos injury cases to federal court, plaintiffs alleged injured parties moved to remand the claims to state court and sought a discretionary award of attorneys' fees, under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1447(c).
Ruling: 
State law claims "related to" debtor's bankruptcy remanded to avoid duplication of judicial efforts.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 29,2009, LexisNexis #0210-130

In re Landry

A creditor, individually and as a trustee of a revocable trust (the creditor), filed an objection to an exemption claimed by a chapter 13 debtor. The debtor filed a motion to strike the objection with prejudice. The debtor alleged that the objection to his declaration of homestead, which he claimed pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 188, § 1, failed to meet the specificity required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8, made applicable by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7008.
Ruling: 
Allegations that debtor purchased property with excessive fees obtained from creditor were insufficient to defeat homestead exemption.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 16,2009, LexisNexis #0210-053

Rederford v. US Airways Inc.

Plaintiff former employee filed a complaint alleging her termination violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 12111-12117, and seeking reinstatement, damages, and attorney's fees. Defendant former employer moved to dismiss, asserting that the suit was barred by a bankruptcy court's permanent injunction. The district court for the District of Rhode Island granted the motion. The employee appealed.
Ruling: 
Possibility of pursuing equitable remedy of reinstatement did not remove Americans with Disabilities Act claim from scope of discharge injunction.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 14,2009, LexisNexis #0110-030

In re Mammola

A debtor filed a motion to reopen his chapter 7 case for the purpose of amending his schedules. Specifically, he sought to amend Schedule F to add a creditor to the list of creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims. The creditor objected, asserting that he was not informed of the bankruptcy case because the debtor failed to amend Schedule F upon conversion of his chapter 11 case to a chapter 7 case.
Ruling: 
Debtor could not reopen converted chapter 7 case to add creditor on eve of state court trial.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 14,2009, LexisNexis #0110-134

In re American Cartage Inc.

Chapter 7 trustee caused the reopening of the debtor's bankruptcy case, and sought approval of a settlement with another waste hauler that helped fulfill the debtor's contractual obligations. Creditor city, the purchaser of the debtor's assets, opposed the settlement on the grounds that it held claims against the other waste hauler that previously belonged to the debtor. The trustee asserted such claims remained with the estate.
Ruling: 
Contract cause of action was property of chapter 7 estate in reopened case.
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Commercial case opionion summary, case decided on December 10,2009, LexisNexis #0110-103

Anderson v. Richards (In re Anderson)

Plaintiff debtor filed an adversary proceeding seeking to avoid a mortgage he granted to defendant creditor, his former wife, pursuant to a separation agreement as discharged. The creditor counterclaimed, asserting neither her claim nor her security interest in real property were discharged, pursuant to 11 U.S.C.S. § 523(a)(3) and (15). She moved for summary judgment on those issues.
Ruling: 
Debt owed to former spouse that was not properly scheduled was not discharged although property settlement claim was matter for abstention.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 10,2009, LexisNexis #0110-117

In re Colon

After a determination that a debtor had more than the maximum number of creditors to allow a single petitioning creditor to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the debtor, an appellate remand permitted discovery concerning the number of the debtor's creditors. The creditor moved for entry of an order for bankruptcy relief based on discovery misconduct.
Ruling: 
Involuntary debtor ordered to cooperate in preparation of discovery plan or face sanctions.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 04,2009, LexisNexis #0110-038

Puzzo v. Martin (In re Martin)

Plaintiff homeowners brought an adversary proceeding against defendant bankruptcy debtor who performed construction work on the homeowners' residence seeking a determination that a debt to the homeowners was not dischargeable under 11 U.S.C.S. § 523(a) based on the debtor's fraud, fiduciary defalcation, and willful and malicious injury. The debtor moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim.
Ruling: 
Debt was dischargeable absent showing that debtor contractor knew that representations regarding payment of subcontractors were false when made.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 03,2009, LexisNexis #0110-049

In re Budryk

A bankruptcy debtor who owned rental properties proposed a reorganization plan but the mortgagee of the properties objected to confirmation of the plan on the ground that the plan was not feasible as required by 11 U.S.C.S. § 1129(a)(11).
Ruling: 
Mortgagee's feasibility objection to plan confirmation sustained.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 03,2009, LexisNexis #0110-063

DeSteph v. Connecticut Dept of Banking (In re DeSteph)

Chapter 13 debtor filed an adversary proceeding against defendants, the State of Connecticut Department of Banking, the Commissioner, and a staff member (the State), for the State's alleged violation of the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C.S. § 362 and for violation of N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 358-C. The State filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012(b).
Ruling: 
State action to enforce securities laws fell within regulatory exception to automatic stay.
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Consumer case opionion summary, case decided on December 02,2009, LexisNexis #0110-075

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