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
Administrative Claims, Attorneys Fees, Disgorge Fees, Professionals, Statutory Construction     09/15/2016     Santa Fe Medical Group, LLC     

An unpaid chapter 11 professional asked the Court to order other professionals to disgorge a portion of their collected fees, so the recovered funds could be redistributed pro rata among all estate professionals.  The fees were awarded in the chapter 11 case, which later converted to chapter 7.  After analyzing sections 105, 329-331, and 726 and the conflicting case law on the issue, the Court concluded it lacked authority to order disgorgement upon insolvency.  The Court also discussed other problems with disgorgement in the case, including standing, timing, the finality of the fee awards, etc., and identified the Code provisions that provide some protection to professionals when the case is sliding towards administrative insolvency.

Judge David T. Thuma
Contract Interpretation, Proof of Claim     08/26/2016     Aquatic Pools, Inc.     

Debtor objected to claim of creditor who provided pre-petition consulting services.    Creditor sought compensation and expense reimbursements after she made cash loans and used her credit card to pay Debtor's expenses.   The Court found that the parties' oral compensation agreement was not barred under the statute of frauds because it could be performed within one year.  The Court also performed an accounting to determine how much creditor was owed and how much she had already received from Debtor.

Judge David T. Thuma
Attorneys Fees, Chapter 13, Classification of Claims, Dischargeability, Nondischargeability     08/26/2016     Salvador Ongaro     

Chapter 13 Debtor sought a determination that certain obligations to his ex-wife are § 523(a)(15) property division obligations rather than § 523(a)(5) support obligations.  The Court considering the intent of the parties and the state court, the divorce decree and associated documents, and the parties' relative financial circumstances, and determined that certain obligations fell in each category.  The Court also found that the attorney fee award attributable to the § 523(a)(5) obligations was nondischargeable. 

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 11, Classification of Claims, Miscellaneous     08/10/2016     Hungry Horse, LLC     

Debtor sought to remove Creditor from the unsecured creditors' committee, arguing that Creditor's claim was secured by Debtor's payment and performance bonds.  The Court concluded that the bonds acted as third party guarantees and did nchaptot give rise to any lien or collateral in favor of Creditor.  Creditor was therefore eligible to a member of the committee.

Judge David T. Thuma
Equitable Remedies, Miscellaneous, Property of the Estate     08/05/2016     WAS, LLC v. Clarke Coll     

Creditors asked the Court to impose a constructive trust on Debtor's funds after Debtor essentially breached its obligation to remit to Plaintiffs 32% of its operating revenues.  The Court determined that constructive trusts are an extraordinary remedy in bankruptcy, and typically are only imposed in cases involving fraud, extreme injustice, or egregious conduct.  The Court declined to impose a constructive trust because Debtor's failure to remit the income stream to Creditors did not rise to that level.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Evidence     08/01/2016     Cronk et al v. Bushey     

Creditor-plaintiffs who intend to offer only portions of a deposition transcript at trial are required under Rule 32(a)(6) to offer additional portions of the deposition transcript that in fairness should be considered together with the initially designated portions.  Opposing party-defendant, who did not attend the depositions and did not pay for a copy of the deposition transcripts would be given an opportunity to review the transcript to designate additional portions of the transcript that offering party would be required to introduce to comply with Rule 32(a)(6). However, the opposing party-defendant could not obtain a complete copy of the transcript through the pre-trial exchange of exhibits process.  The opposing party-defendant must pay for the deposition transcript per Rule 30(f)(3) if he wishes to introduce other portions of the transcript at trial, or wants to obtain a complete copy of the transcript.  Creditor-plaintiffs may file a motion in limine if they disagree that the counter-designated portions of the deposition testimony need not be included to comply with Rule 32(a)(6).

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Motion to Sell     07/25/2016     Christopher R. Moreno and Ernestina S. Moreno     

The Court granted the Trustee’s amended motion to sell real property free and clear of liens, claims and interests to a relative of the debtor, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 363(b), (f), and (h) with such liens, claims and interests, if any, to attach to the proceeds of the sale with the same validity and priority and to the same extent that they attached to the asset sold.  The Court applied the sound business judgment test which requires the Trustee to establish sound business reasons for the sale.  A non-debtor party who objected to the sale had a ½ interest in the property, which was located in a rural area.  The property had significant access, water, and septic issues.   The purchaser, a relative of the debtor and the objecting party, agreed to purchase the property “as is,” and provided independent estimates for the needed repairs and upgrades to the property to justify the low sales price. motion

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Cause, Dismissal     07/15/2016     Herman Herrera     

Debtor sought to voluntarily dismiss this case under 11 U.S.C. § 707(a).  The Court balanced the interests of the Debtor and the creditors, and closely scrutinized the Debtor's motivations for dismissal and any prejudice to creditors.  The Court concluded that Debtor carried his burden to show cause for dismissal. 

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Dismissal, Standing     07/08/2016     Jim R. Hunter et al v. Madrid et al     

Debtor moved to dismiss the Chapter 7 case he filed, upon learning that he would not be able to retain a non-exempt rental property.  The trustee opposed the motion.  The court held that dismissal was appropriate under the facts and circumstances of the case.

Judge David T. Thuma
Automatic Stay, Relief from Stay     06/15/2016     Alliance Well Service, LLC.     

Secured creditor filed motion for relief from stay or alternatively adequate protection, and sought to establish that its right to adequate protection began on the petition date.  Absent specific guidance from the Bankruptcy Code, the Court considered three possible dates identified in the case law: petition date, motion date, or state law remedies date.  The Court concluded that the motion date was consistent with the code, practical, and fair to both sides.  The Court held that the creditor's right to adequate protection began to accrue as of the date the motion was filed.

Judge David T. Thuma

Pages