In re Pace

(B.A.P. 6th Cir. June 20, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. holds that 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(2)(C) does not preclude avoidance of mortgage deficiency judgment liens. Rather, based on the plain meaning of the statute, that section simply makes clear that entry of a judgment in a foreclosure action does not convert the underlying mortgage agreement into a judicial lien that may be avoided. Here, the bankruptcy court denied the debtor’s motion to avoid a deficiency judgment lien following a real property foreclosure action, stating that § 522(f)(2)(C) bars avoidance of a foreclosure deficiency judgment lien. The B.A.P. analyzes conflicting case law from multiple jurisdictions and reverses the bankruptcy court.

Judge: Wise

Attorney for Debtor: T. Robert Bricker

Author: Matt Lindblom

2017-06-20 – in re pace

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

Panther Petroleum, LLC v. Couch (In re Couch)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Feb. 2, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. affirms the bankruptcy court’s judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in the nondischargeability action. Collateral estoppel prevented the debtor from defending against the claim that the debt arose from fraud and a willful and malicious injury. A Tennessee state court had entered a default judgment against the debtor that included specific factual findings that established a claim for nondischargeability under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2)(A), (a)(4), and (a)(6). Opinion below.

Judge: Opperman

Attorneys for Plaintiffs: Keating, Muething & Klekamp, Joseph E. Lehnert, Brian P. Muething, Jason V. Stitt

Attorneys for Debtor: Hamm, Milby & Ridings, Roger Aaron Hostettler

2017-02-02-in-re-couch

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