In re Jude

(E.D. Ky. Bankr. June 24, 2016)

In this Chapter 13, the bankruptcy court rules on the objection to confirmation and finds that the creditor’s expert’s valuation of the debtor’s mobile home was more reliable than the valuations provided by the debtor’s experts. The creditor’s expert testimony was not hearsay, as it was reasonable for the expert to rely on information about the particular mobile home model provided by the manufacturer. The debtor’s experts failed to obtain knowledge of the particular model before determining their values. Opinion below.

Judge: Schaaf

Attorney for Debtor: Holmes Law Firm, Elaina L. Holmes

Attorney for Creditor: McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirkland, Zachary A. Horn

2016-06-24 – in re jude

Author: Matt Lindblom

Tomlin v. The Bank of New York Mellon (In re Tomlin)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. June 23, 2016)

The bankruptcy court applies Kentucky’s borrowing statute, KRS § 413.320, to determine the applicable statute of limitations for the debtor’s defamation, breach of contract, and fraud claims. The court analyzes where each claim accrued and dismisses some but not all of the debtor’s claims. Opinion below.

Judge: Wise

Attorney for Debtor: Dann Law Firm, Brian D. Flick

Attorney for Defendants: Christopher M. Hill, John R. Wirthlin, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Patricia K. Burgess, Stephanie Smiley

2016-06-23 – in re tomlin

Author: Matt Lindblom

Germeraad v. Powers

(7th Cir. June 23, 2016)

The Seventh Circuit reverses the bankruptcy court, concluding that the bankruptcy code permits modification of a confirmed Chapter 13 plan based on increased income post-confirmation. While the code does not expressly permit modification on this basis, other courts have permitted this. The trustee had filed a motion to increase the debtors’ plan payments based on an alleged $50,000 post-confirmation increase in the debtors’ annual income. Opinion below.

Judge: Adelman

Attorney for Debtor: Eugene Wedoff

Attorney for Trustee: Kenneth T. Siomos

2016-06-23 – germeraad v powers

Author: Matt Lindblom

McKinstry v. Richard Holmes Enterprises, LLC (In re Black Diamond Mining Company, LLC)

(E.D. Ky. June 16, 2016)

The district court affirms the bankruptcy court’s order dismissing the reopened bankruptcy case. The creditor consented to the unsecured creditors trusts’ settlement of a claim, which was followed by a distribution to creditors and closure of the case. The creditor then moved to reopen the case, and the bankruptcy court granted the motion on condition that the creditor deposit its distribution amount in escrow. The creditor failed to do so, and the case was then dismissed. The bankruptcy court did not err in placing a condition on reopening the case. Because the creditor waited to challenge the settlement and bring claims against the trusts’ attorneys after distribution, there were no fund to indemnify the trust. Thus, the requirement to deposit funds in escrow was appropriate. Opinion below.

Judge: Thapar

Attorneys for Creditor: The Getty Law Group, PLLC, C. Thomas Ezzell, Richard A. Getty, Ware Jackson Lee O’Neill Smith & Barrow, LLP, Paul Smith, Timothy F. Lee

Attorneys for Trust and Its Attorneys: Foley & Lardner, LLP, David B. Goroff, Geoffrey S. Goodman, Dinsmore & Shoal LLP, David James Treacy, Hoover Hull Turner LLP, Michael R. Limrick, Patrick A. Ziepolt, Wayne C. Turner

2016-06-16 – in re black diamond mining company

Grossman v. Wehrle (In re Royal Manor Management, Inc.)

(6th Cir. June 15, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit affirms the decision finding sanctions were appropriate against the attorney because he unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied the proceedings with repeated filings. The bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in entering the sanctions order. Opinion below.

Judge: White

Appellant: Dennis Allan Grossman

Attorney for Appellee: Louise M. Mazur, Marc Bryan Merklin, Brouse McDowell, Caroline Louisa Marks

2016-06-15 – in re royal manor management

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Sobczak-Slomczewski

(7th Cir. June 13, 2016)

The Seventh Circuit holds that Bankruptcy Rule 8002(a)’s 14-day time limit for filing a notice of appeal is jurisdictional. Thus, the debtor’s appeal was properly dismissed because it was filed on the fifteenth day after entry of the order. While this court had clearly held the rule was jurisdictional in prior opinions, it revisited the issue in light of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Bowles v. Russell (2007) and Kontrick v. Ryan (2004). The court finds that the rule is not merely a claim-processing rule as described in those opinions. Opinion below.

Appellant: Pro Se

Attorneys for Appellee: Meltzer, Purtill & Steele LLC, David L. Kane, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., Jeffrey McIntyre

2016-06-13 – in re sobczak-slomczewski

Author: Matt Lindblom

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust

(U.S. Sup. Ct. June 13, 2016)

The Supreme Court holds that Puerto Rico is a “State” for purposes of Chapter 9’s pre-emption provision, despite the Code’s definition of “State” excluding Puerto Rico for purposes of defining who may be a debtor under Chapter 9. Thus, Puerto Rico cannot authorize its municipalities to seek relief under Chapter 9 nor enact its own municipal bankruptcy laws. The district court properly enjoined enforcement of the laws enacted by Puerto Rico in 2014, which enabled its public utilities to modify their debts. Opinion below.

2016-06-13 – puerto rico v franklin california tax-free trust

Author: Matt Lindblom

The Unsecured Creditors Committee of Sparrer Sausage Company, Inc. v. Jason’s Foods, Inc.

(7th Cir. June 10, 2016)

The Seventh Circuit reverses, holding the bankruptcy court applied too narrow of a baseline payment range to the creditor’s ordinary course defense in this preference action. While this court agreed that there were a few payments outside the ordinary course, the new value defense applied to completely offset those payments. Opinion below.

Judge: Sykes

Attorneys for Appellant: Nixon Peabody LLP, Richard Scott Alsterda, Theodore Eric Harman

Attorneys for Appellee: Clark Hill PLC, Pamela Joy Leichtling, Scott N. Schreiber

2016-06-10 – unsecured creditors committee v jasons foods

Author: Matt Lindblom

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

(E.D. Ky. June 7, 2016)

The district court affirms the bankruptcy court’s orders holding the trustee failed to state a claim for substantive consolidation and could not proceed on a reverse veil piercing theory under Kentucky law. The trustee alleged the defendant was the recipient of a fraudulent transfer from the debtors, but the transfer was actually made to the defendant by a Kentucky LLC separate from the debtors. Because Kentucky courts have not recognized reverse veil piercing, the district court declines to apply it to disregard the separate existence of the debtors and the LLC. The court also agrees with the bankruptcy court that the trustee failed to allege facts sufficient to apply substantive consolidation. Opinion below.

Judge: Caldwell

Attorney for Defendant: Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, Adam M. Back

Attorneys for Trustee: Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, James R. Irving, Richard Boydston

2016-06-07 – in re howland

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Licking River Mining, LLC

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. June 6, 2016)

In these jointly administered cases converted to chapter 7, the bankruptcy court modifies the stay for the limited purpose of paying defense costs from the debtor’s D&O insurance policy to the two individual creditors. The creditors were directors and shareholders of one of the debtors and were named defendants in the trustee’s adversary complaint, which alleged the debtors breached their fiduciary duties to the debtor. The court holds it is premature to make a determination as to whether the policy proceeds are property of the estate. Opinion below.

Judge: Wise

Attorneys for creditors: Fowler Bell PLLC, Taft A. McKinstry, Matthew D. Ellison

Trustee: Phaedra Spradlin

2016-06-06 – in re licking river mining

Author: Matt Lindblom