In re McGee

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 29, 2014)

The bankruptcy court enters orders sanctioning attorneys Brady and Porter for multiple violations of their professional duties and responsibilities. The attorneys failed to adequately represent clients prior to and after filing bankruptcy petitions, took thousands of dollars from clients and failed to account for funds or timely file petitions, and allowed non-attorney staff to counsel clients and file court documents without appropriate supervision. The court determines that the chapter 13 bankruptcy of one of the attorneys did not prevent the entry of the order for sanctions. The orders require reimbursement of client funds, monetary sanctions, and permanent prohibition of practice in this bankruptcy court. Opinion below.

2014-10-29 – in re mcgee

In re Ripberger

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 28, 2014)

The bankruptcy court denies the debtor’s ex-wife’s motion for stay relief to seek an order from the state court determining rights in the marital residence. The ex-wife argued that the divorce decree gave the debtor an option to purchase, which option was not exercised. Thus, the ex-wife argued, the state court needed to decide how the residence should be distributed. The bankruptcy court held that the state court’s divorce decree clearly gave the debtor title to the residence, which made the ex-wife simply a creditor of the estate for the purchase price, rather than a co-owner. Opinion below.

2014-10-28 – in re ripberger

In re Polston

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Oct. 21, 2014)

The bankruptcy court awards the debtor $2,369 in attorney fees and punitive damages to be paid by the secured creditor, who failed to appear at the stay violation hearing. Despite the debtor’s attorney telling the creditor to cease communications following the filing of the petition, the creditor continued to contact the debtor by telephone and through written communications. Opinion below.

2014-10-21 – in re polston

Spradlin v. Williams (In re Alma Energy, LLC)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 21, 2014)

The Sixth Circuit had determined that the bankruptcy court lacked jurisdiction over the adversary complaint. That determination was the result of an appeal of one of two judgments entered in the adversary proceeding. The bankruptcy court, in what appears to be a case of first impression, concludes that the judgment that was not appealed should stand because there was an arguable basis for jurisdiction at the time it was entered as to some of the counts. The court sets aside its judgment as to the counts for which it did not have an arguable basis for jurisdiction. The lengthy opinion (48 pages) is below.

2014-10-21 – in re alma energy llc

Seamster v. Chael

(N.D. Ind. Oct. 14, 2014)

The district court dismisses the pro se chapter 13 debtor’s appeal for failure to pay the appeal filing fee, because the subject order was not a final appealable order, because the subject order was later vacated, and because the debtor failed to timely file a brief in support of the appeal. Opinion below.

2014-14-14 – seamster v chael

Howard v. Jackson (In re Jackson)

(Bankr. S.D. Ind. Oct. 7, 2014)

The bankruptcy court denies the debtor’s motion to dismiss the nondischargeability complaint as to the claim that a debt was a domestic support obligation. The claim was brought by the personal representative of the debtor’s ex-wife’s probate estate. The court rejected the debtor’s argument that the plaintiff failed to state a claim because the probate estate cannot show that it was ever his spouse, former spouse, or child, or that it was a governmental unit, as required by the statute. The court grants the motion to dismiss with respect to the claim that a debt owed to the probate estate was a nondischargeable educational loan. That claim failed to satisfy any of the standards articulated in 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8). Opinion below.

2014-10-07 – in re jackson

Crocker v. Stiff (In re Stiff)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 3, 2014)

Following trial in this nondischargeability action, the court denies the trustee’s objection to the debtor’s discharge for failure to keep adequate records or explain the disposition of material assets, based on Code §§ 727(a)(3) and (5). While evidence may have shown fraud or poor accounting procedures, the trustee failed to establish his claims under §§ 727(a)(3) and (5). Thus, judgment was entered in favor of the debtor. Opinion below.

2014-10-03 – in re stiff

Bankr. N.D. Ind. Opinions – September 2014

The following opinions were recently made available on the website for the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana. I understand that opinions from this Court may be uploaded as “opinions” at different times (sometimes much later than the date they are issued), depending on the particular Judge and office staff. I will continue to check this Court’s website routinely and report on opinions that appear there.

Ind. Dept. of Workforce Dev. v. Hooks (Bankr. N.D. Ind. Sep. 17, 2014)
Ind. Dept. of Workforce Dev. v. Lucio (Bankr. N.D. Ind Sep. 17, 2014)
Ind. Dept. of Workforce Dev. v. Meredith (Bankr. N.D. Ind. Sep. 17, 2014)
Ind. Dept. of Workforce Dev. v. Quaglo (Bankr. N.D. Ind. Sep. 18, 2014) – Denial of the department’s motions for default judgment in nondischargeability actions, alleging debtors inappropriately accepted benefits. The debtors were in default for failure to timely respond to the complaints. However, the complaints failed to set out a prima facie claim of obtaining funds by false representations and thus default judgments were denied. Opinions below.

2014-09-17 – in dept of workforce dev v hooks

2014-09-17 – in dept of workforce dev v lucio

2014-09-17 – in dept of workforce dev v meredith

2014-09-18 – in dept of workforce dev v quaglio

In re Double Tree Lake Estates, LLC (Bankr. N.D. Ind. Sep. 18, 2014) – Denial of the debtors’ motion to quash subpoenas served on non-parties. The court rejects the debtors’ procedural arguments and finds that the debtors failed to show the requested information was irrelevant to the case. Opinion below.

2014-09-18 – in re double tree lake estates, llc

Spradlin v. Beads and Steeds Inns, LLC (In re Howland)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 2, 2014)

The bankruptcy court grants the fraudulent transfer defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing the trustee’s complaint. The trustee’s claim depended on the court substantively consolidating the debtors with a non-debtor entity as of a date prior to the bankruptcy petition date. While there were some facts supporting a finding that the debtors commingled assets with the non-debtor entity, the court found that creditors of each did not consider them a single entity. Based on the trustee’s factual assertions, the court declined to permit substantive consolidation and dismissed the complaint. Opinion below.

2014-10-02 – in re howland

In re Ellett

The bankruptcy court grants motions of the debtors finding violations of the automatic stay and awarding damages. The creditors violated the automatic stay when they sent bills for pre-petition services after the bankruptcy was filed and they were given notice. Arguments justifying the post-petition billing based on the billing systems’ technical limitations were rejected by the court. Opinions below.

2014-09-30 – in re ellett
2014-09-30 – in re ellett 2
2014-09-30 – in re ellett 3