Bankruptcy docket roundup – December 9, 2021

Apologies to my dear readers for falling behind on these posts! Will try to do better. Real life sometimes intrudes on my precious blogging time. Hope you’ve been doing well, or at least making do, without me.

Let’s start with an appeal to the Fourth Circuit. The panel looks into complex procedural issue related to a dispute over a condominium complex and, despite the condo association’s trial court loss for physical damages and Fair Housing Act issues, the association still wanted to collect its assessments against a condo owner. Clark v. Almy (19-2181) Judges Wilkinson, King, Diaz.

In the Central District of Illinois, there’s a cautionary case for practitioners to look into. Court grants US trustee’s request for attorney to disgorge $365 in filing fees over insufficient verification practices by the firm. In re Kincaid (19-70433), Judge Gorman.

In the District of Connecticut, section 523 defendant is a former financial advisor to the plaintiffs who lost a FINRA arbitration brought by the Ahuja’s based on negligent investment advice as a fiduciary. Summary judgement in favor of creditors because the debtor’s case falls under the securities subsection of 523(a)(19). Ahuja v. Fleming (19-51611), Judge Manning.

Staying in the cold country before moving south, in the Eastern District of Michigan, court sides with the debtor and dismisses a trustee’s 727 complaint because there was no allegation of fraud when the debtor transferred her exempt home six months after discharge. However, there is more to the case that may give the trustee avenues to move against the debtor. Lim v. Stewart (20-48595), Judge Tucker.

Moving down to sunnier and warmer District of Southern Florida, order granting motion to avoid liens under 522(f)(1)(A) over creditor’s objection that its lien does not actually “impair” the debtor’s exemption. Pretty interesting case in the context of Florida’s broad homestead exemptions and a split in the state on whether unenforceable recorded judgment liens impair the exemption. In re Pettengill (21-11326), Judge Russin.

Given how far Judge Russin dives into the nature or liens, I’d love to cover this one on the next podcast.

Bankruptcy docket roundup – November 29, 2021

Yes BK court really is in the post office.

Since it’s my blog and my jurisdiction, let’s start with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. Got two appeals from lower court appeals, which is to say, the appellants already had a shot at appeal, whether it was with a district court or the 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP).

Let’s start with the appeal from the 9th Cir. BAP. Ninth Circuit rejects an appeal from the bankruptcy appellate panel as to whether an advance on an inheritance is a loan that can be discharged in bankruptcy. The BAP and this court rule that it cannot. Mellem v. Mellem (21-60020) Judges Schroeder, Fletcher, and Miller.

Second, the Ninth Circuit summarily affirmed the district court’s ruling from a pro se appeal from a bankruptcy court. Roughly, the appellant failed to follow the rules correctly, including FRBP 8003. Brugnara v. Brugnara (19-17267) Judges Owen, Bade, and Lee.

We have some more appellate court action as well, albeit pretty lightweight like the Ninth. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal summarily denied a petition to appeal from the lower district court because the underlying bankruptcy case was dismissed, so… no jurisdiction. Holmes v. Haynsworth (21-153)

Returning to the 90 or so bankruptcy trial courts, starting in Atlanta in the Northern District of Georgia, ruling on summary judgment arising out of disputes between the debtor and her mortgage servicer. Servicer wins most of the summary judgment points; however, trial will proceed on allegations of discharge and stay injunction violations. White-Lett v. Bank of NY Mellon (20-6278-BEM), Judge Ellis-Monro.

Moving up to the Southern District of New York, objection to pilots’ proofs of claims because of technicalities in collective-bargaining agreements is sustained. Interesting issues related to the confluence of collective bargaining contracts and “flow through” agreements intersecting with the POCs. In re: AMR Corp. (11-15463), Judge Lane.

In the Eastern District of Michigan, an adversary proceeding based on a fraudulent investment scheme to create software for healthcare organizations is ongoing. Today’s opinion arises out of a motion for summary judgment where Judge Randon concludes that “by a fine margin” there are sufficient facts in dispute to proceed to trial. Bojkovic v Kutsomarkos (20-04348), Judge Randon.

Up near Gerry Spence territory in the District of Montana, summary judgment on an undue hardship student loan case is denied (go debtor!). She owes $160k on a salary of $40k. I know the facts are, generally, rooted in cold, hard numbers, but summary judgement seems like it would super dangerous for a sympathetic debtor like this. Luckily, her case lives (I’m partial to student loan plaintiffs). Bonus for readers: interesting discussion of key nuances of the Brunner test in the Ninth Circuit as well. Box v. Granite State Mgmt. & Res. (21-9004-BPH), Judge Hursh.

And another student loan case! Returning to the Northern District of Georgia, post-trial judgment and opinion that debtors’ student loans are not an undue hardship (ugh) where co-signor debtors were caring for their adult child. Think I got the facts right on this, will review. Clark v. Wells Fargo (18-4012), Judge Ellis-Monro.

Seeing as how I have a pending student loan adversary, I think Box and Clark are next up for the podcast (Apple Podcasts link)!

See you tomorrow bankruptcy geeks!

Disclaimer: on these posts, I do not necessarily read the entire case. Often I don’t, in fact. I usually skim them briefly, so if you see anything I got really wrong or an important nuance I missed… please let me know by sending me an email! michael@michaelricelaw.com


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