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
Discharge, Dischargeability, Nondischargeability     05/19/2016     Ron G. Sustos and Bustos, LLC v. Jennifer Patricia Muller     

Creditor filed an adversary proceeding to have Debtor's discharge denied under §§ 727(a)(3), (a)(4), and (a)(6), and the debt owed to him be declared nondischargeable under § 523(a)(2)(A).  After a trial on the merits, the Court ruled against the Creditor on all claims.

Judge David T. Thuma
Limitation of Actions, Summary Judgment     05/02/2016     Philip J. Montoya v. Gary Edward Sasso, et al.     

The Court denied summary judgment on the Trustee’s preference and fraudulent transfer claims to recover a vehicle as an asset of the bankruptcy estate.  Fact issues existed concerning whether the limitations period under § 546(a) could be extended under the doctrine of equitable tolling, which has a fraud component generally requiring active deception that lulls the plaintiff into inaction, and a diligence component measured by an objective standard.  The 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
Automatic Stay, Cause, Relief from Stay     04/29/2016     SPOVERLOOK, LLC.     

Creditor moved for relief from the automatic stay for cause under 11 USC § 362(d)(1), in order to pursue a motion to enforce a settlement agreement in state court proceedings.  After applying the Curtisfactors, the Court decided that the motion should be denied, and reasoned that the Debtor should be allowed to attempt to reject the settlement agreement as an executory contract.

Judge David T. Thuma
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
Collateral Estoppel, Damages, Dischargeability, Nondischargeability     04/14/2016     H. Steven Murphy et al v. David A. Spencer     

Plaintiffs sought summary judgment that their debt was nondischargeable based on a prepetition state court judgment.  The Court previously determined the judgment established liability under Section 523(a)(2)(A) (actual fraud) and 523(a)(6) (willful and malicious injury).  The only remaining issue was whether the entire amount of damages was also nondischargeable.  The Court determined that all damages stemmed from defendant's fraud and/or willful and malicious conduct.  The Court therefore entered a nondischargeable judgment for the entire amount of damages in the state court judgment.

Judge David T. Thuma
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

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