Opinions

 

All court opinions may be accessed at no charge via PACER through the "Written Opinions" link on the Reports page. You must, however, have an account to access the report via CM/ECF or PACER.

Access to opinions from 1997 to present, that are PDF searchable, unrestricted & unsealed, are also available through the Government Printing Office using the Advanced Search for Government Publications. There is no login required and publications are available free of charge.


Court's Web Site Opinions Database

The court's web site provides free access of some opinions, at the discretion of the judges, for the years 1998 to present. The results shown below are automatically displayed for all years, all judges, and all keywords/topics.

A search may be performed using the Search box above, or filtering by year, judge, and/or keyword/topic. To search for more than one judge and/or keywords/topics simultaneously, hold down the Ctrl key (or Command key) and select each item.

Keywords/Topic Date Title Description Judge
Attorneys Fees, Costs of Litigation, Fees, Sanctions     12/23/2016     Lester G. Hunt     

Following a permanent loan modification and a number of contested matters, Chapter 13 Debtor sought attorney fees and costs from Lender.  Debtor argued he should be awarded  attorney fees and costs under a number of theories, including FRBP 7054, bad faith, discovery sanctions, and contempt sanctions.  The Court declined to award costs or fees.

Judge David T. Thuma
Administrative Claims, Assumption and Rejection, Classification of Claims, Time     12/23/2016     Flying Star Cafes, Inc.     

Following rejection, the landlord sought allowance of an administrative expense claim for, inter alia, post-petition rent, insurance, property taxes, and repairs.  The Court determined that under 11 U.S.C. § 365(d)(3), the landlord is entitled to an administrative claim for unpaid post-petition lease obligations without demonstrating a benefit to the estate.  The Court also determined that to comply with § 365(d)(4), which sets the deadline for assumption or rejection, the motion must be timely filed; the Court need not approve the proposed assumption or rejection within the deadline.  After reviewing the lease to determine the Debtor's obligations, the Court awarded $29,991.15 as an administrative expense.

Judge David T. Thuma
Abstention, Attorneys Fees, Dismissal, Jurisdiction     12/19/2016     Wilbert W. Salazar and Stephanie Rae Salazar     

Debtor's former counsel asked the Court to enter a money judgment against debtors for the attorneys fees and costs allowed in a dismissed chapter 13 case.  After analyzing the definition of "judgment" in Rules 9001 and 9002 and the relevant case law, the Court determined that a final fee order is a judgment that establishes the debtor's debt to counsel.  The Court also determined that regardless of whether it had jurisdiction over post-dismissal collection of allowed fees, it would abstain and leave collection matters to the state court.
 

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Jurisdiction, Standing     12/12/2016     Robert Yaquinto, Jr. v. John N. Ehrman     

Defendant moved to dismiss claims in adversary proceeding under FRCP 12(b)(1), arguing that the Plaintiff did not have standing to assert the claims.  The Court dismissed the case, concluding that Plaintiff did not have standing, because the plan failed to reserve the claims at issue under 11 U.S.C. 1123(b)(3).

Judge David T. Thuma
Contract Interpretation, Costs of Litigation, Disgorge Fees, Professionals, Settlement     12/07/2016     Hart Oil & Gas, Inc.     

Former liquidating trustee asked the Court to order her former counsel to return $22,753 to the estate for redistribution.  The former trustee argued that the payment was contrary to counsel’s fee agreement.  Counsel countered that the agreement was changed through a settlement to allow him to collect the funds.  The Court found that the order approving the settlement was ambiguous, and applied tradition canons of contract construction, including the Restatement, to conclude that a proper interpretation required it to grant the former trustee’s motion. cont

Judge David T. Thuma
Assumption and Rejection, Chapter 11, Trustee     12/02/2016     Railyard Brewing Company, LLC.     

Chapter 11 trustee of the Railyard Company sought to reject a lease between his estate and Railyard Brewing, a company owned by Debtor’s principals.  The lease was drafted by a principal while he controlled both companies, and it contained unusual terms that favored the lessee and burdened the lessor-estate.  The Court concluded that the trustee’s decision to reject the lease was within his sound business judgment.  However, because Railyard Brewing was potentially an appropriate tenant for the space, the Court directed the parties to attempt to negotiate a new, commercially reasonable lease through mediation.

Judge David T. Thuma
Abstention, Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Contract Interpretation, Due Process, Jurisdiction     11/23/2016     Harpole Construction Inc. v. Medallion Midstream, LLC     

Defendant asked the Court to dismiss the adversary proceeding for lack of jurisdiction, to abstain, or to transfer venue.  Defendant argued that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1409(d), venue should be transferred to Texas because it lacked sufficient minimum contacts with New Mexico.  The Court concluded that Defendant purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within New Mexico, as it solicited Plaintiff to bid on projects and entered into a construction contract with Plaintiff that included provisions invoking New Mexico law.  The Court also declined to enforce a forum selection clause requiring the case to be tried in Dallas, Texas because the proceeding was core and the public interest in centralizing bankruptcy proceedings outweighed the interests in enforcing a forum selection clause.  Finally, the Court declined to abstain under discretionary abstention provisions.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Contract Interpretation, Dischargeability, Jurisdiction, Nondischargeability     11/23/2016     Monge v. Jayme et al     

Defendants asked the Court to dismiss the adversary proceeding for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.  Plaintiffs asserted claims under sections 523 and 727.  The Court concluded standing, and therefore jurisdiction, was proper because Plaintiffs were listed as creditors.  The Court declined to dismiss based on preclusion principles because Plaintiffs did not include documents from the previous proceeding with their motion.  The Court also overruled Plaintiffs' argument that the complaint was time-barred, as it was filed within the extended deadline under section 523(c).  With respect to the sufficiency of the complaint, the Court ordered Plaintiffs to amend the complaint to state their claims with more clarity.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Due Process, Jurisdiction     11/14/2016     Montoya v. Akbari-Shahmirzadi et al     

Defendant from Dubai sought to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.  Plaintiff sued Defendant to recover allegedly fraudulent transfers from the Debtor.  The inquiry was whether defendant had sufficient minimum contacts with the forum state, which in bankruptcy cases is the United States.  The Court concluded it had personal jurisdiction over the Defendant, which intentionally accepted $250,000 from the Debtor's Swiss bank account.  The Court also directed Plaintiff to amend the complaint to more clearly state his claims. 

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Costs of Litigation     10/14/2016     Hasmukhbhai K. Patel v. Dipakkumar Vanmalibhai Patel et al     

After obtaining a nondischargeable judgment under section 523(a)(4), Plaintiffs sought to recover litigation costs under Fed.R.Bankr.P. 7054, Local Rule 7054-1, and 28 U.S.C. 1920.  Defendants argued the award should be limited to only those costs which can be tied to a successful claim.  The Court rejected this argument and instead analyzed whether the costs appeared necessary at the time they were incurred for preparation of the case.  The Court then analyzed whether individual costs for transcription fees, copying charges, and witness fees were reasonable and/or allowable. 

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