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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
Administrative Claims, Chapter 11     06/08/2023     Henry Valencia, Inc.     

Taxing authorities could claim administrative expenses for taxes incurred post-petition, pre-chapter 11 plan effective date, despite filing their claims after the general administrative expense claims bar date. Under § 503(b)(1)(D), taxing authorities are not required to file a request for payment of administrative expense as a condition to allowance of an administrative expense claim. Neither the administrative expense claims bar date order nor the confirmed plan specifically overrode § 503(b)(1)(D)’s exception. However, once property of the estate vested in the debtor on the plan effective date, no further taxes could be incurred by the estate. Consequently, because administrative tax claims are limited to taxes incurred by the estate, the Court disallowed the taxing authorities’ claim for administrative expenses incurred on or after the plan effective date.  



Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Default Judgment, Discharge, Due Process, Service     06/02/2023     Edwards     

The UST filed an adversary proceeding objecting to debtor’s discharge. Debtor filed a non-responsive response to the complaint and failed to participate further. UST moved for a default judgment. The motion was granted, the court holding that the record made clear that debtor was not entitled to a discharge.

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 13, Contract Interpretation, Employment of Professionals, Professionals - Conflict of Interest     05/26/2023     Motiva Performance Engineering, LLC     

Defendant in a pending adversary proceeding moved the court to rule that the plaintiff chapter 7 estate had a conflict of interest with the estate’s largest creditor, such that the trustee was required to retain new, separate counsel (the same counsel represents both). The court determined that the outcome of the conflict issue depended on the proper interpretation of a contract between the estate and the creditor. The court interpreted the contract and ruled that no disqualifying conflict of interest existed.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Default Judgment, Discharge     05/19/2023     Ilene J. Lashinsky vs. Ricky Rudy Benavidez     

The UST filed an adversary proceeding objecting to debtor’s discharge. Debtor filed a non-responsive response to the complaint and failed to participate further. UST moved for a default judgment. The motion was granted, the court holding that the record made clear that debtor was not entitled to a discharge.ad


Judge David T. Thuma
Damages, Dischargeability, Fraud, Nondischargeability     05/11/2023     Taeki Martin v. Ramin Zamani-Zadeh     

Plaintiff brought a nondischargeability action, seeking to declare her state court judgment against debtor/defendant nondischargeable under Sec. 523(a)(2)(A). After a trial on the merits, the court ruled that defendant had defrauded plaintiff and that all damages awarded by the state court arose from the fraud.da


Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Dischargeability, Nondischargeability     05/03/2023     Alvarado v. Chavez-Medina     

The Court denied defendant’s second motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ amended non-dischargeability complaint based on willful and malicious injury under § 523(a)(6). Plaintiffs stated a plausible claim for relief by alleging that defendant willfully decided to travel over 65 miles per hour on the right-hand shoulder and knew that traveling at high speeds while not keeping a proper lookout and driving erratically on the shoulder of a highway was substantially certain to cause injury. Plaintiffs’ amended complaint also sufficiently alleged that Defendant acted wrongfully, without justification or excuse. The Court recognized that Plaintiffs face a high bar to establish that Defendant subjectively knew that his actions were substantially certain to result in injury in order to satisfy the “willfulness” component at trial. 


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 13, Equitable Remedies, Injunctions     04/13/2023     S-Tek 1, LLC v. Surv-Tek     

Debtor’s principal sought a declaratory judgment determining that a three-year noncompete obligation, which arose upon the Debtor’s default under closing documents executed in connection with the purchase of a business, had expired by its own terms. Seller opposed the motion, asserting that 1) § 108(c) applied to suspend the term of the non-compete obligation; 2) under a savings clause, the Court, in its discretion, could reform the agreement to extend the term of the noncompete obligations; or 3) equitable tolling applies. The Court determined that § 108(c) is inapplicable. The Court also concluded that it lacked authority to reform the non-compete agreement; however, the Court found that equitable tolling may apply, since seller diligently sought to pursue its rights to enforce the noncompete provision while the Debtor, through its principals, continued to operate the business. The automatic stay allowed Debtor to continue business operations in violation of the noncompete agreement while it attempted to confirm a chapter 11 plan, while holding seller at bay from enforcing its rights. Under these circumstances, the Court concluded that equitable tolling may apply, provided the seller has resumed competing business operations and depending on other factors. The Court set an evidentiary hearing to take evidence regarding seller’s current and intended business operations before making a final ruling.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Attorneys Fees, Professionals, Property of the Estate     04/12/2023     Automated Recovery Systems of New Mexico, Inc.     

Debtor filed a motion to pay certain funds to special counsel, arguing that they were trust funds and not estate property. A creditor objected. The court ruled that the funds, attorney fees collected from state court judgments entered in favor of the debtor, were held in trust, were not estate property, and could be paid to special counsel.


Judge David T. Thuma
Claim Preclusion, Collateral Estoppel, Dischargeability, Issue Preclusion, Nondischargeability     04/10/2023     Pidcock v. McCune     

Plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment on validity, existence, and amount of debt owed by Debtor-Defendants relating to stock purchases and a loan, as established by a state court judgment, as well as non-dischargeability of the debt on the basis of fraud under § 523(a)(2) and securities violations under § 523(a)(19). The Court granted summary judgment with respect to the validity, existence, and amount of debt because the state court judgment had claim preclusive effect on such matters. However, the Court denied summary judgment on Plaintiff’s non-dischargeability claims. Regarding the fraud dischargeability claim, the state court judgment did not have (ii) claim preclusive effect because that claim is unique to bankruptcy or (ii) issue preclusive effect because the issue was not actually litigated, and the state court’s amended judgment removed the finding of fraud. Regarding the securities violation dischargeability claim, the Court ruled that § 523(a)(19) overrides the traditional “actually litigated” requirement for issue preclusion. The Court then found that the state court judgment was silent on whether it was based on a securities violation and a review of the complaint did not clarify the basis for the judgment. Resolving a split in the case law, the Court found that it has authority under § 523(a)(19) to determine with there is a securities violation but denied summary judgment on the § 523(a)(19) claim because material facts are in genuine dispute.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Attorneys Fees, Chapter 11, Jurisdiction     03/31/2023     Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe     

Chapter 11 debtor moved for entry of a final decree. United States Trustee objected, arguing that the case was not yet fully administered because some final fee applications had not yet been filed or approved. The court granted the motion, ruling that the estate had been fully administered and that any fee application contested matters could be heard post-closing.

Judge David T. Thuma