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Court's Web Site Opinions Database

The court's web site 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
Adversary, Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Default Judgment, Reconsideration, Standing     07/24/2019     CA Silverman     

Trustee filed motion for “turnover” requiring Debtor to cooperate in marketing and sale of Debtor’s house. Debtor objected, moving to vacated the default judgment in the adversary proceeding against her ex-boyfriend on which the turnover motion was based. Parties stipulated to a ruling on the motions for the preliminary issues of whether the Debtor should have been named in the adversary proceeding and whether the default judgment should be set aside. The Court ruled the Debtor should not have been named, the default judgment would not be set aside, and Debtor did not have standing to object to the adversary proceeding default judgment under F.R.C.P. 60(b).


Judge David T. Thuma
Avoidance Actions, Fraudulent Transfers     07/19/2019     Clark C. Coll, Trustee v. Stephen Blanco et al     

The chapter 7 trustee sued defendant to avoid alleged fraudulent transfers in the form of checks and cash withdrawals.  Defendant presented a defense that the payments were for salary, rent, and other legitimate business expenses.  The Court found and concluded that only a portion of the transfers could be avoided for the benefit of the estate.

Judge David T. Thuma
Discharge, Nondischargeability     06/26/2019     Susan Pillarella-Bryant et al v. Joseph Bryant et al     

Defendant was accused of breach of trust. Plaintiff moved for a finding of nondischargeability of a domesticated judgment under §523 and a denial of discharge under §727. The Court ruled that the Defendant’s debt was nondischargeable under §523(a)(4) and §523(a)(6). Discharge was not denied under §727.dischar

Judge David T. Thuma
Injunctions     06/19/2019     Robert Marcus v. Las Uvas Valley Dairies et al     

Plaintiff, who was the liquidating trustee of the bankruptcy estate, sought to enjoin individual defendants from dealing freely with their property pending entry of a final judgment.  The Court found that pre-judgment relief could not be granted by the Court where Plaintiff’s claims were legal rather than equitable and denied Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.


Judge David T. Thuma
Classification of Claims     06/06/2019     Indian Jewelers Supply Co., Inc.     

Three former employees filed claims based on debtor’s defunct employee stock ownership plan.  Debtor objected to the claims and argued that the claimants were stockholders, not creditors, because the ESOP held debtor’s stock in trust for them.  The Court concluded that former employees, who were or should have been cashed out of the ESOP interest years before, were creditors rather than stockholders.

Judge David T. Thuma
Conversion     05/24/2019     Cheryl Sherman     

After acknowledging the split in the case law regarding whether a debtor may voluntarily reconvert a case from chapter 7 to Chapter 13 following a prior conversion, or whether reconversion is impermissible as a matter of law, the Court denied the debtor’s motion to reconvert her chapter 7 case back to chapter 13 because the debtor failed to meet her burden to demonstrate that reconversion was appropriate under the circumstances.  Debtor failed to prove that she had sufficient income to propose a feasible plan to cure the mortgage arrears and maintain the regular monthly mortgage payments. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 13, Fees, Trustee     05/23/2019     Edward Crespin and Janis Crespin     

The chapter 13 trustee requested to deduct a fee from funds she has been ordered to pay debtors’ counsel in this dismissed case.  Debtors’ counsel objected, arguing that the trustee was not entitled to a fee because the case was dismissed without a confirmed plan.  The Court concluded that the Bankruptcy Code did not permit the trustee to pay herself the requested fee.


Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Dischargeability     05/17/2019     Velma Morgan v. Michelle Renee Mladek     

Defendant was a lawyer who filed a lien against Plaintiff’s house. Plaintiff won the state court case for slander of title and initiated the adversary proceeding to hold the debt nondischargeable.  After trial, the Court concluded the Defendant lacked the requisite mental state under §523(a)(6) for a finding of nondischargeability.


Judge David T. Thuma
Automatic Stay, Discharge Injunction, Laches     05/14/2019     Jama E. Fontaine     

The Court determined that the mortgage lender willfully violated the automatic stay by continuing to rely on the validity of its foreclosure judgment entered after debtor filed her bankruptcy case. The entry of the foreclosure judgment did not constitute a “ministerial act” not subject to the automatic stay. The Court awarded the debtor her attorney’s fees as actual damages, but determined that the debtor could not recover damages for emotional distress.  Punitive damages were not warranted under the circumstances. Laches did not bar the debtor’s stay violation claim even though the debtor delayed filing her motion for willful violation of the automatic stay for more than five years and returned to the bankruptcy court only after she lost her appeal in state court.  Mortgage lender did not violate the discharge injunction.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 13     05/14/2019     Jarrod Jay Battershell     

After both mortgages on Debtor’s house defaulted, junior lienholder mortgagee paid off the priority mortgage as a protective advance. Debtor argued that the payment should be characterized as a loan purchase rather than payoff and could cure the arrearages in plan payments. The Court concluded there was no basis to recharacterize the payoff as Debtor proposed and doing so would violate §1322(b)(2).

Judge David T. Thuma