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
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. 

Assumption, Classification of Claims, Equitable Remedies, Good Faith     10/07/2016     SPOVERLOOK, LLC.     

Debtor sought to reject a state court settlement agreement with a homeowner's association under section 365(a).  The HOA objected, arguing that rejection would be futile because the HOA would be entitled to specific performance in the event of a breach, and that rejection was proposed in bad faith.  The Court analyzed the definition of "claim" and concluded that because specific performance is an alternative to the legal remedy of money damages, the HOA could be forced to accept money damages if Debtor confirmed a plan.  The Court also found that filing a bankruptcy petition to reject a lease or executory contract did not constitute bad faith. 

Judge David T. Thuma
Attorneys Fees, Chapter 13, Discharge     10/04/2016     Michael Allyn Conner and Lyndee Christine Conner     

The Trustee objected to chapter 13 Debtors' counsel's fee application.  Counsel submitted his fee application after the last plan payment was made, and the Trustee asserted laches. The Trustee further argued that the fees should be discharged.  The Court concluded that the fee application should be allowed and granted an administrative expense, but that the fees are subject to discharge.

Judge David T. Thuma
Attorneys Fees, Classification of Claims, Compromise, Nondischargeability, Settlement     09/30/2016     Wayne Kenneth Auge, II     

The Court approved a compromise between the chapter 7 trustee and the estate's major creditor.  The Court declined to follow In re Carter, 220 B.R. 411 (Bankr. D.N.M. 1998), which held that in a solvent case, unsecured creditors are entitled to interest at the contract rate and post-petition attorney fees.  The Court also determined that where a creditor holds a nondischargeable debt, the disallowed post-petition interest continues to accrue at the contract rate.  Based on these legal issues, and on various other factors, the Court concluded the settlement was within the range of reasonableness.  
 

Judge David T. Thuma
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

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