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
Summary Judgment     04/14/2016     Philip Montoya, Trustee v. Gary Sasso et al     

Fact issues concerning the character of property acquired pre-petition by debtor’s non-filing spouse precluded summary judgment on Trustee’s claim for declaratory judgment determining that the property is an asset of the bankruptcy estate.  Court granted Trustee’s request under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(g) to treat facts not subject to genuine dispute as established in the adversary proceeding.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Avoidance Actions, Fraudulent Transfers, Preference, Summary Judgment     04/14/2016     Mazel v. Varela     

The Court denied the Trustee’s motion for partial summary judgment on claims to recover preferential and fraudulent transfers due to the following deficiencies: 1) the facts not subject to genuine dispute failed to establish the debtor’s insolvency at the time of the transfers – Trustee could rely on the presumption of insolvency only as to those transfers made within 90 days of the petition date and only with respect to the Trustee’s preferential transfer claims under § 547; 2) a lack of evidence of the value of the transferred property and the amount of creditor’s claim prevented the Court from determining whether the Trustee satisfied § 547(b)(5)’s hypothetical liquidation element for preferential transfers; 3) fact issues concerning reasonably equivalent value precluded judgment on the Trustee’s constructive fraud claims; and 4) circumstantial evidence of actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud was not so overwhelming as to warrant summary judgment – such claims involving issues of intent and credibility are less susceptible to summary judgment.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Attorneys Fees, Dischargeability, Fees, Nondischargeability     04/12/2016     Ann Rippberger v. Bryan Lamey     

Debtor's ex-wife filed an adversary proceeding seeking a determination that a debt arising from the parties' premarital agreement was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(15).  The parties stipulated to nondischargeability but disagreed on the amount due, as the agreement was ambiguous.  The Court applied New Mexico contract construction principles and analyzed the evidence presented at trial to determine the parties' intent.   The Court denied Defendant's last minute request to abstain from liquidating the debt and Plaintiff's request for attorney fees in connection with her prosecution of the adversary proceeding.

Judge David T. Thuma
Dischargeability     04/01/2016     Carl Fox v. Darla J. Kelly     

Court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff determining that the debt arising from two orders entered in the parties’ state court dissolution of marriage proceeding were non dischargeable under either 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5) or 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(15), but declined to quantify the amount of the non-dischargeable debt.  Defendant provided some evidence that she had paid some of the amounts awarded to Plaintiff under the two orders.  The state court can liquidate (and modify, if appropriate) the amount of the non-dischargeable debt arising from the two orders.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 13, Good Faith     03/31/2016     Ely Yao     

Debtor who had completed 54 of 58 payments under his confirmed Chapter 13 plan and then voluntarily converted from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, sought to reconvert to Chapter 13 to complete the remaining payments under the confirmed Chapter 13 plan.  The Chatper13 Trustee objected on grounds that conversion from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 nullified the confirmed plan and that the Debtor had not demonstrated that he sought to reconvert in good faith.  The Court held that conversion from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 does not nullify, terminate, or vacate a confirmed Chapter 13 plan.   Rather, the provisions of Chapter 13 making the plan binding simply no longer apply upon conversion to Chapter 7 and again become applicable upon reconversion to Chapter 13.  The surrounding facts and circumstances satisfied the good faith analysis under the Marrama standard applicable to motions to convert under § 706.   The Court granted the Debtor’s motion to reconvert for the purpose of completing the remaining payments under the original confirmed plan.  The Court expressly did not decide whether reconversion is barred per se.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 11, Contract Interpretation     03/28/2016     Sunnyland Farms, Inc.     

Creditor asked Court to interpret ambiguous confirmed plan to allow him to receive stock rather than cash. Using applicable contract interpretation principles, the Court interpreted the plan to allow the creditor to receive stock.

Judge David T. Thuma
Employment of Professionals     03/14/2016     Quick Cash, Inc.     

Any attorney who forms an attorney-client relationship with the debtor and who provides legal advice to the debtor is required to make the disclosures required by 11 U.S.C. §329, and the debtor must seek approval of such attorney’s employment under 11 U.S.C. § 327(a), even if the attorney is acting in a consulting capacity, had been retained by a third party, and does not intend to seek compensation for such services from the bankruptcy estate.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Automatic Stay, Stay Violation     03/14/2016     Bartolo Montoya     

 Debtor sought damages against the Pueblo of Isleta Tax Administration based on an alleged willful stay violation.  The Court held that the tax lien order entered in tribal court after debtor filed a voluntary Chapter 7 petition violated 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(1) and was void ab initio, even though the order imposing the tax lien included a provision recognizing and respecting the existence of the automatic stay; debtor failed to meet his burden of proving any actual damages; and the circumstances did not warrant imposition of punitive damages.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Discharge Injunction, Jurisdiction, Reconsideration, Standing     03/10/2016     Tammy Sprague, personal representative of the estate of Fred Dale Van Winkle v. Williams et al     

Defendants asked the Court to reconsider its order denying their motion to dismiss the adversary proceeding for lack of jurisdiction.  Since the order was interlocutory, the Court reviewed it under a discretionary standard and declined to reconsider.  The Court found that reopening the bankruptcy case was unnecessary since the adversary proceeding was filed while the main case was open.  The Court also determined that the personal representative of the deceased debtor's estate had standing to assert a violation of the discharge injunction, and that the claim did not require a jury trial. stand

Judge David T. Thuma
Attorneys Fees, Chapter 11, Fees, Professionals     03/03/2016     Steven Howard and Judy Pimentel     

UST objected to the final fee application of debtor's counsel, arguing that the fees were not reasonable because there was no way debtor could confirm a plan of reorganization.  The Court sustained the objection in part, holding that the debtor had a chance to confirm a plan during much of the case, but that the debtor's second amended plan had no chance of being confirmed.

Judge David T. Thuma

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