Edmondson v. Gordon (In re Gordon)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. May 18, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. affirms the bankruptcy court’s contempt order, but remands the matter for the limited purpose of providing the debtor sufficient notice and an opportunity to be heard on the issue of whether monetary sanctions were reasonable. The debtor sold property of the estate in direct violation of the bankruptcy court’s order. The bankruptcy court held the debtor in contempt and awarded the trustee his attorney fees as a sanction. However, the hearing notice for the contempt order did not make clear that monetary sanctions could be entered against the pro se debtor. Opinion below.

Judge: Opperman

Appellant: Pro Se

Attorney for Appellee: Thompson Burton PLLC, Phillip G. Young, Jr.

2017-05-18 – in re gordon

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Wright

(6th Cir. B.A.P. April 17, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. reverses the bankruptcy court’s finding that a personal injury claim was not abandoned, but affirms the finding that a second claim was not abandoned. The debtor listed the personal injury claim in his schedules, but not the second claim. The trustee filed a notice of no distribution, noting that the personal injury claim was not abandoned. The case was closed, and the trustee later moved to reopen the case to settle the personal injury claim. The court holds that because the trustee did not obtain an order preventing abandonment upon closing the case, the claim was abandoned under 11 U.S.C. § 554. The bankruptcy court correctly held that the unscheduled claim was not automatically abandoned upon closing the case pursuant to § 554(d). Opinion below.

Judge: Harrison

Attorney for Debtor: Gino Pulito

Attorney for Trustee: Lauren A. Helbing

2017-04-17 – in re wright

Author: Matt Lindblom

 

 

McDermott v. St. George (In re St. George)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. April 17, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P reverses the bankruptcy court’s order granting the U.S. Trustee a second extension of the deadline to file a nondischargeability complaint and reverses the subsequent judgment denying the debtor a Chapter 7 discharge. The court finds that the U.S. Trustee failed to establish sufficient cause for an additional extension under Bankruptcy Rule 4004(b). Opinion below.

Judge: Harrison

Attorneys for U.S. Trustee: Amy L. Good, Scott Robert Belhorn, Sharon Nollsch

Attorney for Debtor: Lee Raymond Kravitz

2017-04-17 – in re st george

Author: Matt Lindblom

Stein v. Stubbs (In re Stubbs)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Mar. 9, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. vacates the bankruptcy court’s orders denying the trustee’s motion for default judgment in the action to revoke the debtor’s discharge. The debtor failed to comply with the court’s order to provide the trustee a copy of her tax return when filed. The appellate court finds the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in denying the trustee’s motion for default judgment where the debtor was properly served with the action and there was no evidence the debtor was not aware of the bankruptcy court’s clear order on the issue. Opinion below.

Judge: Humphrey

Trustee: Sheldon Stein

2017-03-09 – in re stubbs

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Zenga

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Jan. 17, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. reverses the bankruptcy court’s order denying the debtors’ motion to dismiss the involuntary bankruptcy petition filed against them by a single creditor. The debtors argued that 11 U.S.C. § 303(b)(1) required a minimum of three petitioning creditors to institute an involuntary bankruptcy against them, because they had twelve or more creditors. The petitioning creditor argued that the debtors should be equitably estopped from asserting they had twelve creditors because in prepetition post-judgment discovery, they stated that they had only ten other creditors. The B.A.P. holds that, while the 303(b)(1) requirement is not jurisdictional, the bankruptcy court erred as a matter of law in applying equitable estoppel because the creditor failed to establish sufficient detriment as a result of the misrepresentation in the post-judgment discovery. Opinion below.

Judge: Humphrey

Attorneys for Debtors: Lefkovitz & Lefkovitz, Steven L. Lefkovitz

Attorneys for Appellee: Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, Gene L. Humphreys

2017-01-17-in-re-zenga

Author: Matt Lindblom

Spradlin v. Khouri (In re Bruner)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Jan. 4, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. affirms the bankruptcy court’s decision and order denying the trustee’s request for turnover of funds paid to the debtor’s criminal defense attorney. The debtor’s mother had made the transfer from a bank account held jointly with the debtor. The trustee failed to meet the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the attorney fee was property of the estate, and thus turnover was inappropriate. Because the debtor had no claim to the fee, the trustee had no claim for turnover. Opinion below.

Judge: Humphrey

Attorneys for Defendants: Khouri Law Firm, Yelena Bakman, Edward P. Kerns, Michael John Khouri, Wai Brenda Tso

Attorneys for Trustee: Bingham Greenebaum LLP, Richard Boydston

2017-01-04-in-re-bruner

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re McCoy

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Nov. 29, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. reverses the bankruptcy court’s order denying the debtor’s motion to reopen his Chapter 7 case. Four years after filing the bankruptcy and receiving a discharge, the debtor filed a motion to reopen his case to avoid judicial liens. No creditors objected. However, the bankruptcy court denied the motion based primarily on the delay in filing the motion. The B.A.P. holds that the mere passage of time does not necessarily cause prejudice to a creditor sufficient to bar reopening of a case. The bankruptcy court did not find prejudice and thus the motion should have been granted. Opinion below.

Judge: Harrison

Attorney for Debtor: Carlo A. Ciccone

2016-11-29-in-re-mccoy

Author: Matt Lindblom