Kendrick v. Rister (In re Rister)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. May 18, 2017)

The bankruptcy court grants the defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in this vehicle lien avoidance action. The debtor entered into a sale contract for purchase of the vehicle on the day before the petition was filed, but the certificate of title was not transferred to the debtor until after the petition was filed. Accordingly, the court finds that the vehicle is not property of the estate and the complaint should be dismissed. The court permits the trustee a period of time in which to file an amended complaint based on the trustee’s assertion that the estate may include rights under the sale contract. Opinion below.

Judge: Wise

Attorney for Trustee: Michael B. Baker

Attorneys for Defendants: Steiden Law Offices, Eric A. Steiden; Frost Brown Todd LLC, Paige Leigh Ellerman, Adam J. Webb; Aaron J. Nash; Patricia L. Johsnon

2017-05-18 – in re rister

Author: Matt Lindblom

Town Center Flats, LLC v. ECP Commercial II LLC (In re Town Center Flats, LLC)

(6th Cir. May 2, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit reverses the bankruptcy court, finding that the assignment of rents acted as a complete transfer of ownership and the assignor did not retain any interest in the rents. The court analyzes Michigan law on such assignments and concludes that because the debtor/assignor had no rights in the rents assigned, they were not property of the bankruptcy estate. Opinion below.

Judge: Stranch

Attorney for Appellant: Robert N. Bassel

Attorney for Appellee: Jeremy S. Friedberg

2017-05-02 – in re town center flats

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

Phi Air Medical, LLC v. Westenhoefer (In re White)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Nov. 11, 2016)

The bankruptcy court grants summary judgment in favor of the trustee in this declaratory judgment action, in which the plaintiff sought a judgment that certain health insurance proceeds were not property of the estate. The plaintiff argued that the debtor had assigned the proceeds to it prior to the bankruptcy, but the court holds that the evidence presented did not establish such assignment. The debtor’s spouse had signed the document for him, but the debtor’s spouse did not have the requisite agency authority to do so. Opinion below.

Judge: Schaaf

Attorney for Plaintiff: Stites & Harbison PLLC, Chrisandrea L. Turner

Attorney for Defendant: Barber Law PLLC, T. Kent Barber

Author: Matt Lindblom

2016-11-11-in-re-white

In re Bullitt Utilities, Inc.

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

The bankruptcy court addresses the issue of whether the debtor’s prepetition claim for a surcharge before the Public Service Commission is property of the estate. The pre-petition receiver for the debtor argued that it was not, because the debtor abandoned its assets prepetition in the PSC action. The court disagrees, finding that legal title was not severed in the prepetition proceedings, and thus the bankruptcy trustee has control and authority over the surcharge claim. Opinion below.

Judge: Lloyd

Attorneys for trustee: James R. Irving, Robert W. Keats

Attorneys for Receiver: Kaplan & Partners LLP, Charity B. Neukomm, James E. McGhee, Christopher B. Rambicure

2016-09-01 – in re bullitt utilities

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

Camofi Master LDC v. U.S. Coal Corp. (In re Licking River Mining, LLC)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. May 9, 2016)

The bankruptcy court grants the trustee’s motion to dismiss the creditors’ adversary proceeding. The claims asserted by the creditors were property of the estate and thus the trustee has the exclusive right to assert the claims. Opinion below.

Judge: Wise

Attorneys for Trustee: Foley & Lardner LLP, Geoffrey S. Goodman, David B. Goroff

Attorneys for Plaintiffs: Akin Gump Strauss  Hauer & Feld LLP, Robert J. Boller, Douglas A. Rappaport, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Casey M. Cantrell Swartz, W. Timothy Miller

Attorneys for Defendants: Nixon Peabody LLP, Dennis J. Drebsky, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Daniel J. Donnellon, James R. Irving, Luskin Stern & Eisler LLP, Michael Luskin

2016-05-09 – in re licking river mining

Author: Matt Lindblom