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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.

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Keywords/Topic Date Title Description Judge
Settlement, Statutory Construction     12/23/2021     S-Tek 1, LLC     

Recognizing a split in the case law, the Court held that under the Uniform Commercial Code a security interest does not attach to rights under an agreement settling a commercial tort claim or in the settlement funds unless the commercial tort claim that was settled, the settlement agreement, or the settlement funds are specifically described original collateral. A general security interest in commercial tort claims, general intangibles, payment intangibles, accounts and contract rights is insufficient. The Court also held that an after-acquired property clause in a security agreement was valid, despite some redundant language. Therefore, the security party has a security interest in the debtor’s after-acquired accounts receivable.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Abstention, Adversary, Chapter 11, Core Proceedings     12/22/2021     Jet Sales West, LLC v. City of El Paso, et al.     

Debtor filed an adversary proceeding, asserting two counts. Count one asked the Court to determine Debtor’s tax liability to the City of El Paso. Count two asked the Court to award money damages for alleged wrongful acts taken in connection with the assessment and collection of the disputed tax. The City moved to dismiss the adversary proceeding, or alternatively for the Court to abstain. The Court denied the City’s motion, reasoning Debtor had standing to bring the adversary proceeding, the City waived sovereign immunity, mandatory abstention did not apply because the tax dispute was a core proceeding, and the facts of the case weighed against permissive abstention.


Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 11, Dismissal, Good Faith     12/15/2021     Jet Sales West, LLC     

The City of El Paso moved to dismiss Debtor’s bankruptcy case as having been filed in bad faith. The City alleged Debtor filed bankruptcy for the sole purpose of gaining a tactical advantage in a tax dispute. The Court denied the motion, reasoning Debtor filed bankruptcy to obtain the benefit of the automatic stay; to be able to pay any taxes it owes the City over time; and for the Court to determine its tax liability to the City. The Court did not rule on whether it could and/or should determine Debtor’s tax liability to the City.


Judge David T. Thuma
Summary Judgment     12/10/2021     S-Tek 1, LLC v. Surv-Tek, Inc. et al     

The Court granted in part and denied in part defendants/counter-plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. As counter-plaintiffs, they sought partial summary judgment on claims for liability for breaches of loan documents, pending resolution of defenses at trial. The Court denied the partial summary judgment on liability, because liability cannot be determined where there are defenses to liability. As defendants, they also sought summary judgment denying the requested relief in six claims brought against them. The Court granted summary judgment on one count, denied it on two counts, and granted it in part and denied it in part on two counts; it was moot as to the sixth claim, which had been withdrawn.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 11, Confirmation     12/09/2021     S-Tek 1, LLC     

A separately classified undersecured creditor making the § 1111(b) election to treat its entire claim as secured does not automatically forfeit its right to vote its secured claim. If its secured claim is impaired under the plan, such creditor making the § 1111(b) election may vote its impaired secured claim to accept or reject the debtor’s plan and only relinquishes its right to vote what would otherwise be its unsecured deficiency claim. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Valuation     12/09/2021     S-Tek 1, LLC     

For purposes of plan confirmation, collateral a debtor will retain for its post-confirmation busines should be valued under § 506(a) as of or near the date of the confirmation hearing, although the Court left open the possibility of using a different date in unusual circumstances.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Claim Objection     12/06/2021     Trucking & Contracting Services     

The Court sustained the debtor’s objection to creditor’s claim and disallowed the claim in its entirety. Creditor did not meet its burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence (or even by a preponderance of the evidence) that a scrivener’s error in a guaranty agreement identifying a non-debtor entity in the signature block was the result of the parties’ mutual mistake sufficient to warrant reformation of the agreement under New Mexico law.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Avoidance Actions, Claim Preclusion, Default Judgment     12/03/2021     Philip J. Montoya v. Sheaneh Sattari     


In successive motions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b), Defendant sought to set aside a default judgment entered against her in favor of the chapter 7 trustee in an avoidance action. Since the first motion was denied without prejudice, the trustee’s argument that the present motion is barred by claim preclusion fails. Finding that Defendant did not show excusable neglect for failing to file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, the motion, brought pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1), is denied on the merits.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Chapter 13, Dischargeability, Divorce/Separation     11/24/2021     Darrell J. Newton v. Josephine M. Baglio et al     

Plaintiff Darrell Newton and Defendant Josephine Baglio agreed to the entry of a final decree dissolving their marriage. The decree, which apportioned their community property, included an equal division of Plaintiff’s pension plan. Plaintiff subsequently defaulted under the final decree in a number of material respects. After repeated attempts to get Plaintiff to pay as agreed, the divorce court entered a money judgment against Plaintiff and ordered that Plaintiff’s right to receive half the pension plan payments be assigned to Defendant, thereby increasing her interest in the plan to 100%. Plaintiff brought this adversary proceeding against Defendant, seeking to avoid the assignment as either a preferential transfer or a judicial lien impairing an exemption. Defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing the debt is a domestic support obligation that cannot be avoided as a preference or judicial lien. Alternatively, Defendant disputed whether the assignment of Plaintiff’s pension was actually a judicial lien. The Court denied Defendant’s motion, reasoning there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the debt was a DSO and whether the assignment was a judicial lien.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Evidence     11/19/2021     Taeki Martin v. Ramin Zamani-Zadeh     

As evidence at a trial of her nondischargeability claim, Plaintiff seeks to admit an audio recording of a state court trial at which Defendant did not appear. Evaluating the matter under Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(1), the Court concludes that Plaintiff’s recorded testimony is admissible at trial. The recorded testimony of the remaining witnesses will not be admitted.

Judge David T. Thuma