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'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
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
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
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
Discrimination, Fees     05/10/2019     David Wayne Jackson     

The debtor objected to the Chapter 7 Trustee’s fees asserting that the Chapter 7 Trustee should not be awarded any compensation because of his alleged mishandling of the estate and mistreatment of the debtor because of his race. The Chapter 7 trustee properly and reasonably relied on the real estate broker to market and sell non-exempt unencumbered real property, and the sales price ultimately obtained was consistent with the realtor’s recommendations and the debtor’s valuation of the property listed in his bankruptcy schedules.  The Court found no evidence of racism and approved the requested fees in accordance with §326.

 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Dischargeability     05/03/2019     Adrianne Anaya v. Amalio J. Cardoza and Gloria Inez Cardoza,     

The Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss or for more definite statement. Complaint arising from an alleged dog attack sufficiently stated a plausible claim for non-dischargeability of debt under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) based on willful and malicious injury.  

Automatic Stay, Discharge Injunction     05/03/2019     Danielle D. Bridge     

Debtor is an OB/GYN accused of medical malpractice. Creditors moved to lift automatic stay to pursue state court litigation against the Debtor and the hospital where malpractice allegedly occurred. Court denied relief from the automatic stay, as to Debtor, but noted that creditors could still pursue the hospital.

 

Judge David T. Thuma

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