Opinions

 

All court opinions may be accessed at no charge via PACER through the "Written Opinions" link on the Reports page. You must, however, have an account to access the report via CM/ECF or PACER.

 

Access to opinions from 1997 to present, that are PDF searchable, unrestricted & unsealed, are also available through the Government Printing Office using the Advanced Search for Government Publications. There is no login required and publications are available free of charge.


Court Opinions Database

The court's provides free access of some opinions, at the discretion of the judges, for the years 1998 to present. The results shown below are automatically displayed for all years, all judges, and all keywords/topics.

A search may be performed using the Search box above, or filtering by year, judge, and/or keyword/topic. To search for more than one judge and/or keywords/topics simultaneously, hold down the Ctrl key (or Command key) and select each item.

Keywords/Topic Date Title Description Judge
Chapter 11, Extension of Time, Subchapter V     09/25/2023     Trinity Legacy Consortium, LLC     

Debtor sought a fifth extension to file a subchapter V plan. Under § 1189(b), an extension to file a subchapter V plan may only be granted if the need for the extension is due to “circumstances for which the debtor should not justly be held accountable.” The caselaw is split on whether the standard is an equitable inquiry or limited to whether the circumstances were “beyond the debtor’s control.” The Court applied the reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court in Pioneer, which resolved a similar split in the context of “excusable neglect” in favor of an equitable inquiry, based on bankruptcy courts having broad equitable powers to balance the interests of the affected parties while guided by the overriding goal of ensuring the success of the reorganization. The Court determined that an equitable inquiry is the appropriate standard under § 1189(b) as well. The equitable inquiry should consider whether the need for the extension was within debtor’s reasonable control and may also include such things as potential prejudice to the parties, the length of the extension, the debtor’s good faith, the debtor’s progress in formulating a meaningful plan, and the views of creditors and the subchapter V trustee. After making an equitable inquiry in this case, where among other things, Debtor is participating in a mediation with major creditors, the Court concluded that circumstances existed for which Debtor should not justly be held accountable and granted the extension. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Automatic Stay, Cause, Chapter 13, Dismissal, Filing Injunction     08/31/2023     Evan Ray Yellowman     

Mortgagee moved for stay relief under sec. 362(d)(4) in debtor’s fourth chapter 13 case in four years. The prior three cases were dismissed or converted. The court granted relief and ordered that any filing in the next two years would not impose the stay on the bank’s collateral. The court also dismissed the case, granting two dismissal motions filed by the chapter 13 trustee, because debtor did not attend his sec. 341 meeting and did not file a chapter 13 plan timely.

Judge David T. Thuma
Administrative Claims, Attorneys Fees, Chapter 13, Professionals     08/30/2023     Lance Merrill and Judith Merrill     

The Court disallowed a portion of the fees requested in chapter 13 debtor’s counsel’s first fee application, and approved counsel’s second fee application. Even though Court previously approved compensation requested in counsel’s first fee application, the Court may reexamine interlocutory interim fee applications at any time prior to final approval. Counsel’s request for compensation for work to correct counsel’s own mistakes was unreasonable and non-compensable under 11 U.S.C. § 330(a)(4)(B) notwithstanding benefit to the debtors. Charging to correct counsel’s own mistakes can subject counsel to sanctions.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Administrative Claims, Attorneys Fees, Chapter 13, Fees, Professionals     08/30/2023     Jeffrey Hassell and LaDerna Hassell     

The Court disallowed a portion of the fees requested in chapter 13 debtor’s counsel’s first fee application. Counsel’s request for compensation for work to correct counsel’s own mistakes is unreasonable and non-compensable under 11 U.S.C. § 330(a)(4)(B). The Court also cautioned counsel to take more care in completing the Rule 2016(b) Disclosure of Compensation in future cases. Even an inadvertent breach of the disclosure obligations can have serious consequences, including the total or partial disallowance of compensation, regardless of whether harm to creditors or the debtor is shown.

 

 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Administrative Claims, Attorneys Fees, Chapter 13, Fees, Professionals     08/25/2023     Robert James Abernathy and Tina Louise Abernathy     

Counsel for chapter 13 debtors filed a second fee application, about two years after confirmation of debtors plan. Due to the size of the fee application, the court carefully reviewed it and allowed fees of $5,355 rather than the amount requested, i.e., $8,840.

 

Judge David T. Thuma
BAPCPA, Chapter 11, Professionals, Statutory Construction     08/17/2023     La Familia Primary Care, P.C.     

Debtor moved for an order dispensing with the appointment of a patient care ombudsman. The UST’s office opposed the motion. The Court ruled that the debtor was not a health care business, so no appointment was required. In the alternative, the court ruled that appointment of a patient care ombudsman was not necessary to protect patients.La F
 

 

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 11, Jurisdiction, Recusal, Standing     07/28/2023     Victor P. Kearney     

After substantial consummation of creditors’ chapter 11 plan, debtor filed multiple motions seeking various forms of relief and discovery, none of which had merit. As the case was ready for entry of a final decree, the court addressed each motion and denied all relief.

 

Judge David T. Thuma
Abstention, Automatic Stay, Cause, Claim Objection, Jurisdiction     07/21/2023     Demetra Georgia Caporal     

With divorce proceeding pending in state court, debtor/wife filed a chapter 13 case. Husband filed a motion for relief from stay so the divorce and property settlement could be finalized. Debtor opposed the motion; The court ruled that stay relief was appropriate so the specialized tribunal could divide the parties’ marital property.

 

Judge David T. Thuma
Damages, Dischargeability, Nondischargeability, Reconsideration     06/30/2023     Taeki Martin v. Ramin Zamani-Zadeh     

Court entered a declaratory judgment that plaintiff’s debt to defendant was nondischargeable because it arose from fraud. Defendant moved for reconsideration. The court modified one finding of fact, clarified that it had not entered a money judgment, and otherwise denied all requested relief.

 

Judge David T. Thuma
Appeals, Claim Preclusion, Collateral Estoppel, Issue Preclusion, Res Judicata     06/22/2023     Salomon Alonso Lopez     

Prepetition, debtor stopped paying his mortgage, lender brought a foreclosure action, and debtor raised a standing defense. Lender obtain a summary judgment of foreclosure. Debtor filed a chapter 13 case, lender filed a proof of claim, and debtor objected to the claim, arguing lack of standing. The court overruled the objection on Rooker-Feldman and preclusion grounds.Prepetition, debtor stopped paying his mortgage, lender brought a foreclosure action, and debtor raised a standing defense. Lender obtain a summary judgment of foreclosure. Debtor filed a chapter 13 case, lender filed a proof of claim, and debtor objected to the claim, arguing lack of standing. The court overruled the objection on Rooker-Feldman and preclusion grounds.

Judge David T. Thuma

Pages