Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif

(U.S. Sup. Ct. May 26, 2015)

The Supreme Court holds that certain claims entitled to Article III adjudication (i.e. Stern claims) may be decided by bankruptcy judges when the parties knowingly and voluntarily consent to such adjudication. Such consent does not have to be express. Here, the creditor filed a non-dischargeability complaint that included a count requesting a declaratory judgment that a trust was the alter-ego of the debtor. The bankruptcy court entered judgment against the debtor on that count (as well as the non-dischargeability counts). The debtor’s answer conceded that the action was a core proceeding and requested judgment in his favor on all counts. The Supreme Court remands to the Seventh Circuit to decide whether the debtor gave the requisite knowing and voluntary consent to entry of the final judgment by the bankruptcy court. Opinion below.

2015-05-26 – wellness international network v sharif

Author: Matt Lindblom

MERV Properties, LLC v. Friedlander (In re MERV Properties, LLC)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. May 4, 2015)

The bankruptcy court denies the plaintiff’s motion for default judgment and dismisses the action against the individual defendant. The plaintiff attempted to serve the complaint and summons on the defendant by mailing them to “the place where the individual regularly conducts a business or profession,” pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 7004(b). The plaintiff then waited until well after the 120-day deadline to effect service and moved for default judgment. The court finds that service was not effective because the defendant did not regularly conduct business at the address at the time of the attempted service, and the plaintiff could not establish good cause for meeting the 120-day service deadline. Thus, the Court declined to extend the period for effecting service.

In a second opinion entered the same day, the Court granted motions for summary judgment in favor of the other defendants. Claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and related claims against the individual defendants were not supported by evidence and dismissed. Claims against the bank defendant were analyzed under Article 3 of Kentucky’s UCC and also dismissed. Opinions below.

2015-05-04 – merv properties v friedlander1

2015-05-04 – merv properties v friedlander2

Author: Matt Lindblom