(7th Cir. Aug. 24, 2015)
The Seventh Circuit affirms the dismissal of the debtors’ chapter 7 petition for cause under 11 U.S.C. § 707(a). The movant had obtained a large arbitration award against the debtors and the debtors failed to make an effort to pay the award. They continued incurring monthly living expenses of $11,100 with monthly income of $9,500. The court finds that “cause” under § 707(a) is not restricted to the three procedural defects listed in that section. Cause existed here because the debtors failed to make any effort to pay creditors when they had the means to do so. “What the Schwartzes failed to do was pay as much of their indebtedness as they could without hardship. Their action was deliberate and selfish, and provides good cause for denying the discharge.” Opinion below.
2015-08-24 – in re schwartz
Author: Matt Lindblom
(Bankr. S.D. Ind. Feb. 4, 2015)
The bankruptcy court denies the creditor’s motion to dismiss or convert the chapter 7 case. The creditor had obtained a judgment against the debtor and her employer for the debtor’s unlawful accessing and dissemination of the creditor’s medical information. The creditor sought dismissal of the case under § 707(b) (failure of means test), but the court determined the debtor’s debts were not primarily consumer debts and thus that section did not apply. While the judgment was not a business debt, that did not necessarily mean it was a consumer debt. The creditor also sought dismissal for cause under § 707(a). The court recognized that seeking to pay a large debt of one creditor is a factor in favor of dismissal, but that alone did not warrant dismissal for cause. There was no evidence of the debtor’s ability to pay the large judgment. Finally, the creditor alternatively sought to convert the case to chapter 11, but the court denied the request, finding no credible evidence of the debtor’s ability to pay the debt or that chapter 11 would benefit creditors more than chapter 7 (in part because the creditor could collect the judgment from the debtor’s employer). Opinion below.
2015-02-04 – in re peterson
Author: Matt Lindblom