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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
Adversary, Summary Judgment, Turnover     05/19/2022     Montoya v. Ferguson     

Prior to Motiva Performance Engineering, LLC’s bankruptcy filing, the state district court adjudged Motiva to be the owner of Settlement Funds paid by an insurance company as compensation for the loss of use of a vehicle owned by Motiva, which Defendant William Ferguson (part owner of Motiva) had claimed belonged to him. The district court ordered that if Ferguson had not already disbursed the Settlement Funds to Motiva, he was required to turn them over to a state court plaintiff in partial satisfaction of his judgment against Motiva. Ferguson did not abide by the state court’s order and Motiva filed bankruptcy. The trustee filed this adversary proceeding against Ferguson and his affiliates seeking, inter alia, turnover of the Settlement Funds. Ferguson claims that he already turned over the Settlement Funds by causing his wholly owned law firm to (1) pay Motiva’s bankruptcy counsel retainer, and (2) to deposit funds in Motiva’s DIP account. In a motion for summary judgment, the trustee argued that the retainer and the deposit were loans from Ferguson’s law firm to Motiva and sought an order requiring Ferguson to turn the Settlement Funds over to Motiva’s bankruptcy estate. Concluding that genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment, the Court denied the trustee’s motion.


Judge David T. Thuma
Claim Preclusion, Relief from Judgment, Reconsideration     05/10/2022     Michael Jacques Jacobs     

Debtor sought relief from the Court’s order allowing creditor’s claim under Rule 60(b)(1), (2), and (3). The Court determined that Debtor forfeited arguments regarding the amount of creditor’s claim raised for the first time in his Rule 60(b) motion. Debtor’s assertion that his former counsel failed to provide adequate representation did not qualify for relief under Rule 60(b)(1) under the theory that counsel “acted without authority.” Debtor’s “newly discovered” evidence regarding loan payments was insufficient to obtain relief under Rule 60(b)(2) because such evidence would not change the outcome. The foreclosure judgment obtained prepetition had claim preclusive effect to establish the amount of creditor’s claim. Debtor failed to allege fraud or misconduct by opposing party or its counsel sufficient to obtain relief under Rule 60(b)(3). 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Attorneys Fees, Professionals     04/28/2022     Robert Betancourt     

The U.S. Trustee’s office objected to special counsel’s fee application, arguing that the Court did not pre-approve the contingent fee when counsel was employed, and that under a “reasonableness review” the fee was too high. Special counsel disagreed, asserting that the Court pre-approved the contingent fee, so a reasonableness review was not permitted. The Court found that it pre-approved the contingent fee arrangement, so it would be improper to conduct a reasonableness review. Alternatively, the Court held that the fee was reasonable.



Judge David T. Thuma
Attorneys Fees, Injunctions, Sanctions     04/27/2022     Edwin Bacon Hall     

The Chapter 7 Trustee filed a motion to enforce and for sanctions for violation of provisions of a settlement order that included a channeling injunction and procedures that required potential claimants to sign a consent whereby they agreed not to seek relief from the settlement order. Claimant had filed a motion requesting the Court to interpret the settlement order and notices sent before entry of the settlement order. Claimant’s motion included a request for relief from the settlement order under Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9024. The Court determined that the motion violated the consent but did not violate the channeling injunction and awarded the Chapter 7 Trustee reasonable attorney’s fees and costs per the consent proportionate to the work the Chapter 7 Trustee performed in relation to the claimant’s request for relief under Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9024. 


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Dismissal or Conversion, Subchapter V     04/21/2022     Akamai Physics, Inc.     

After confirmation and substantial consummation of Debtor’s Chapter 11, Subchapter V plan, the United States Trustee (UST) moved for conversion or dismissal of the bankruptcy case under Section 1112(b)(1). The plan was confirmed with the support of all Debtor’s creditors and the plan is not in default. While the UST’s arguments may have constituted cause for dismissal or conversion pre-confirmation or pre-substantial consummation, they are ineffective at this stage of the case. If conversion or dismissal ever is required in this case, the Court will have to determine whether the “hybrid” plan in this case, which defers discharge pending completion of the plan payments, would survive or be negated.   

Judge David T. Thuma
Claim Preclusion, Issue Preclusion     04/19/2022     Javier Lopez     

A judgment obtained by default establishes the validity, extent, and amount of a claim and, therefore, a state court divorce decree obtained by default awarding child support arrears and an equalization payment had claim preclusive effect to establish the amount of the judgement creditor’s claims. However, the determination of the nature of the claim as a domestic support obligation or property settlement requires the court to ignore the labels attached to the state court judgment to determine whether the obligations function as support; because the state court did not make that determination, the default divorce decree did not satisfy the “same claim” requirement for application of claim preclusion to the nature of the claim. Issue preclusion did not apply because the divorce decree was obtained by default, failing to satisfy the “actually litigated” requirement for issue preclusion.



Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Default Judgment, Dismissal     04/07/2022     Jacobs v. DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc.     

The Court set aside the clerk’s entry of default, denied Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment, and, on its own motion, dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against the defaulting defendants. Even though defendants failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims against these defendants was appropriate where it was patently obvious that Plaintiff could not prevail on claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or declaratory judgment.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Reconsideration, Summary Judgment     04/07/2022     United State of America v. Alejandro Saavedra     

Plaintiff filed motion to reconsider an order granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion to reconsider in part. When doing so, the court elected to consider portions of the record not cited by the parties in their briefs.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Dismissal, Issue Preclusion, Rooker-Feldman, Summary Judgment     04/05/2022     Jacobs v. DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc.     

Defendants filed motions to dismiss Debtor’s claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and request for declaratory judgment all arising from the chain of transfer of a note and mortgage on Debtor’s principal residence. Defendant/creditor obtained a final foreclosure judgment against the Debtor in state court prior to the filing of Debtor’s bankruptcy case. The Court determined that:  

1) standard for evaluating the motion - the Court could rely on underlying state court judgment and findings of fact and conclusions of law without turning the motions to dismiss into summary judgment motions where the Debtor’s complaint referenced the state court documents and there was no genuine dispute as to authenticity of those documents;

2) fraudulent misrepresentation – the applicable statute of limitations barred Debtor’s claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, and, as to the parties to the state court foreclosure action, the preclusive effect of the foreclosure judgment barred Debtor’s fraudulent misrepresentation claims;

3) Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) – creditor/defendant that was seeking to collect its own debt is not subject to the FDCPA, but the other defendant who may only be a mortgage servicer remains subject to the FDCPA; because the Court could not discern from the complaint whether Debtor’s claims for violation of the FDCPA challenge the validity of the foreclosure judgment or the underlying debt itself, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not bar Debtor’s FDCPA claims; for the same reason, if Debtor’s claim for violation of the FDCPA challenges collection methods rather than the judgment or debt, such claim does not constitute a compulsory counterclaim that was forfeited because it was not raised in the underlying state court foreclosure action;

4) intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) - the Court can determine in the first instance whether the alleged behavior meets the standard of extreme and outrageous conduct necessary to support a claim for IIED and Debtor’s factual allegations failed as a matter of law to meet that standard;  alternatively, Debtor’s claim for IIED was barred by the applicable statute of limitations;

5) declaratory judgment - because bankruptcy courts are not courts of the United States under applicable Tenth Circuit law, the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Debtor’s request for declaratory judgment under the Federal Declaratory  Judgment Act; alternatively, no justiciable controversy existed over which the Court could issue a declaratory judgment because the prior state court foreclosure judgment has preclusive effect; alternatively, even if the Court had jurisdiction over the request for declaratory judgment, the Court would exercise its discretion to decline to adjudicate the request.

The Court dismissed all claims against all defendants, except for the claim for violation of the FDCPA asserted against defendant whose only interest in the subject loan may be as a servicer with no ownership interest.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Attorneys Fees, Professionals     03/25/2022     Victor P. Kearney     

Reid Collins & Tsai LLP (“RCT”) filed a final fee application seeking payment of a 25% contingent fee on a $3,000,000 trust distribution to the bankruptcy estate. The Unsecured Creditors’ Committee and the United States’ Trustee’s office objected. The Court found RCT’s application was procedurally sound and unambiguously approved under 11 U.S.C. § 328(a). However, fact issues required a final evidentiary hearing to determine whether the terms and conditions of RCT’s employment should be changed under the Improvident Proviso, and whether and/or how much of the $3,000,000 could fairly be considered “Gross Recoveries” to which RCT would be entitled to a 25% contingent fee.