In re Blankenship

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Mar. 14, 2018)

The bankruptcy court denies the debtor’s motions to avoid two judicial liens. The underlying judgments were solely against the debtor’s spouse. At the time the judgment liens were recorded, the property was owned jointly by the debtor and his spouse. The property was then transferred solely to the debtor. The debtor argues the liens impair his exemptions. The court finds because the lien holders are not creditors of the debtor, the liens do not attach to the debtor’s interest in the property. Opinion below.

Judge: Lloyd

Attorney for Debtor: Julie Ann O’Bryan

Attorney for Creditors: Jeffrey Sexton

2018-03-14 – in re blankenship

Author: Matt Lindblom

Harker v. PNC Mortgage Company (In re Oakes)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Feb. 6, 2018)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. affirms the bankruptcy court’s order denying the mortgage holder’s motion for judgment on the pleading in this mortgage avoidance action. The creditor argued that recently-enacted Ohio statutes provide that the bankruptcy trustee, as a hypothetical judicial lien creditor, cannot avoid the mortgage, which was improperly executed and recorded. The B.A.P. holds that, pursuant to Ohio law at the time the case was filed, the trustee takes priority over the creditor’s defective mortgage. Opinion below.

Judge: Opperman

Attorneys for Trustee: Donald F. Harker, III; Rieser & Marx, Dianne F. Marx, John Paul Rieser

Attorneys for Creditor: Plunkett Cooney, Amelia A. Bower

2018-02-06 – in re oakes

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re VanWinkle

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 4, 2017)

The bankruptcy court grants in part the debtor’s motion to avoid a judicial lien on two parcels of real property. Applying the formula in 11 U.S.C. § 522(f), the court determines that the debtor’s exemption is impaired with respect to one parcel but not the other. Opinion below.

Judge: Schaaf

Attorneys for Debtor: Michael B. Baker, James R. Westenhoefer

Attorneys for Creditor: DelCotto Law Group PLLC, Sara A. Johnston

2017-10-04 – in re vanwinkle

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Morris

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Sep. 28, 2017)

The bankruptcy court holds that the creditor’s lien is a judicial lien subject to avoidance under § 522(f) rather than a statutory lien. The creditor properly recorded a mechanic’s lien against the debtor’s property, and then filed suit prior to the one-year period expiring after the filing. However, the complaint filed sought a judgment for breach of contract rather than enforcement of the mechanic’s lien. The creditor then recorded a judgment lien following entry of a default judgment. The bankruptcy court concludes that the statutory process for perfecting the mechanic’s lien was not followed—the mechanic’s lien dissolved after the one-year period and the creditor held only a judicial lien at the time the bankruptcy petition was filed. Opinion below.

Judge: Lloyd

Attorney for Debtor: Allan E. Dunaway

Attorney for Creditor: Stiller Waterman LLC, David M. Cantor

2017-09-28 – in re morris

Author: Matt Lindblom

Security Seed and Chemical, Inc. v. French (In re French)

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Dec. 1, 2016)

Following trial, the bankruptcy court excepts from discharge a debt arising from a loan, but holds the plaintiff failed to meet its burden with respect to other debts. The court also finds that a lien was not created where there was no proof of an actual levy, but a seperate judgment lien is held valid. The court denies the debtor’s motion to avoid the lien. Opinion below.

Judge: Stout

Attorneys for Plaintiff: Thomas, Arvin & Adams, James G. Adams, III, David E. Arvin

Attorneys for Defendant: King, Deep & Branaman, Harry L. Mathison

2016-12-01-in-re-french

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

First National Bank of Manchester v. Elza

(E.D. Ky. Aug. 21, 2015)

The district court affirms the bankruptcy court’s order avoiding the mortgage foreclosure deficiency judgment liens on the debtor’s residence. The creditor had obtained a deficiency judgment following foreclosure of its mortgage lien and filed a judgment lien for the deficiency, which encumbered the debtors’ residence. The debtors moved to avoid the lien under 11 U.S.C. § 522(f) and the bankruptcy court granted the motion. The creditor appealed, arguing that § 522(f)(2)(C), which provides that judgments arising out of mortgage foreclosures are not avoidable, applied to the deficiency judgment lien. The court recognizes the split in authority on the issue, but ultimately concludes that § 522(f)(2)(C) merely provides that judgments in foreclosure actions (i.e. sale orders enforcing the mortgage lien) cannot be avoided such that the mortgage lien is avoided. The section does not apply to deficiency judgment liens. Opinion below.

2015-08-21 – first national bank v elza

Author: Matt Lindblom