Grant v. Granader (In re Granader)

(6th Cir. Oct. 12, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit affirms the bankruptcy court’s order denying the creditor’s motion to reopen the case. The debtor’s ex-spouse filed the motion four years after the debtor received his discharge. The ex-spouse argued that an obligation arising out of their divorce proceedings should be declared non-dischargeable. The court holds the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion. Opinion below.

Per Curiam

Attorney for creditor: Aaron J. Scheinfield

Attorneys for debtor: Silverman & Morris, Geoffrey Lewis Silverman, Karin F. Avery


Attorney: Matt Lindblom

Cardwell v. Hester (In re Hester)

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Oct. 11, 2016)

The bankruptcy court holds that the plaintiff’s claim is non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2), (4), and (6). The plaintiff and the debtor started a pawn business together. Shortly after it began operating the debtor was arrested on drug charges. The parties then gave conflicting testimony regarding various claims that arose in favor of the plaintiff against the debtor, including for a loan to post bond and theft from the plaintiff. The court finds that the plaintiff’s testimony was more credible and enters judgment in favor of the plaintiff. Opinion below.

Judge: Stout

Attorney for Debtor: Cooley & Offill, Robert A. Cooley, Jesse E. Offill

Attorney for Plaintiff: Steven L. Boling


Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Smith

(Bankr. S.D. Ind. Oct. 6, 2016)

The bankruptcy court sustains the trustee’s objection to confirmation of the debtor’s chapter 13 plan. The proposed plan provided for monthly payments for three years, but the Court finds that the applicable commitment period should be five years. The debtor argued that he should have a “marital adjustment” for loan payments on which his wife is contractually obligated, but the Court holds that those payments should be included in the calculation of the debtor’s combined monthly income, and thus the applicable commitment period is five years. Opinion below.

Judge: Carr

Attorney for Debtor: John Steinkamp & Associates, John T. Steinkamp

Trustee: Ann M. DeLaney


Author: Matt Lindblom

Gower v. Parker (In re Parker)

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Oct. 3, 2016)

The bankruptcy court denies the debtor’s motion to dismiss the nondischargeability action. The debt arose from a burglary of an individual’s home. The individual died prepetition. The deceased individual’s beneficiaries filed the action pro se, naming the individual’s estate as well as themselves as plaintiffs. The debtor argued the complaint should be dismissed because the beneficiaries engaged in the unauthorized practice of law because the estate was included. The Court relies on a recent Sixth Circuit opinion and finds the beneficiaries were permitted to file as they did. The debtor also argued the complaint should be dismissed because of the timing of service of the complaint and summons. The Court holds the proper procedures were followed. Opinion below.

Judge: Lloyd

Attorney for Plaintiffs: Crain, Schuette & Associates, Amanda Lisenby Blakeman

Attorney for Debtor: Alicia C. Johnson


Author: Matt Lindblom

Ochadleus v. City of Detroit, Michigan (In re City of Detroit, Michigan)

(6th Cir. Oct. 3, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit affirms the district court’s dismissal of the pensioners’ challenge to the confirmation order entered in the Chapter 9 bankruptcy case filed by the City of Detroit, Michigan. The pensioners filed the action to challenge the plan’s reduction of their benefits. The Court holds that the doctrine of equitable mootness applies. The pensioners did not obtain a stay, the plan has been substantially consummated, and many actions have been undertaken or completed under the plan. Opinion below.

Judge: Batchelder


Author: Matt Lindblom


In re Ramey

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Sep. 30, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. affirms the bankruptcy court’s order dismissing the Chapter 7 case for failure to complete the 11 U.S.C § 109(h) pre-petition credit counseling. The debtor argued the requirement should be waived in this case for reasons including that the §109(h)(2) and (3) exceptions should apply. The bankruptcy court held the exceptions did not apply. The debtor could not establish incapacity, because the debtor was able to complete the counseling post-petition, and the debtor failed to establish that the debtor could not obtain pre-petition counseling within seven days of a request or any other exigent circumstances. Opinion below.

Judge: Humphrey

Debtor: pro se

Author: Matt Lindblom


In re Trentadue

(7th Cir. Sept. 14, 2016)

The Seventh Circuit affirms the bankruptcy court and district court ruling that debtor husband must pay ex-wife’s attorney’s fees as a priority, non-dischargeable domestic support obligation (DSO). Debtor was ordered by a state court to pay $25,000 directly to his ex-wife’s attorney for “significant over-trial”. He never paid and eventually filed Chapter 13. His ex-wife’s attorney filed a DSO claim for $25,000. Debtor objected to the claim but was overruled. On appeal, he argued that the over-trial award did not deserve DSO status because it was not payable to his spouse, former spouse, child, or caregiver as required by §101(14A) of the Code. The 7th Circuit noted that debtor’s interpretation of §101(14A) was correct, but refused to address this argument because he failed to raise it before the bankruptcy court or the district court. Debtor also argued that DSO status should be denied because the over-trial award was intended as punishment, not as support, but the Court noted that every Circuit that has considered the issue (including the 6th, in In re Rugiero, 502 F.App’x. 436, 439 (6th Cir. 2012)) has recognized that attorney fee awards can constitute support under certain circumstances. Opinion below.

Circuit Judges: Ripple, Kanne, and Williams

Attorney for Debtor/Appellant: Jared Nusbaum

Attorney for Appellee: Helen Ludwig

Author: Robert Imperial