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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
Injunctions, Jurisdiction     11/27/2013     Tres Hermanos Dairy, LLC.     

Debtor's motion to stay proceedings pending district court ruling on a motion to withdraw the reference denied because the court found, inter alia, that the district court was unlikely to withdraw the reference of the subject core matter.

Judge David T. Thuma
Statutory Construction     11/26/2013     Platinum Oil Properties, LLC     

Court interpreted meaning of 25 C.F.R. § 211.53 to conclude that an assignment of operating rights in an oil and gas lease on Indian land requires approval of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.    Because the debtor did not obtain the Secretary’s approval of a purported assignment of operating rights, the purported transfer was ineffective. (2013 WL 6195844 (Bankr. D.N.M. Nov. 26, 2013); Case No.  11-09-10832 JA – Docket No. 356)

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Discharge, Nondischargeability     11/13/2013     Sierra Chemicals, LLC v. Mosley     

Creditor sought to deny debtor's discharge under 727(a)(4) and/or declare its debt nondischargeable under 523(a)(4) or (a)(6).  Court ruled that the 727(a)(4) claim lacked merit because the false statement at issue was not material.  The court ruled that creditor's 523(a)(6) claim failed because the breach of contract at issue, while intentional, was not done with intent to harm.  Court ruled in creditor's favor on the 523(a)(4) claim to the extent of $30,000, finding that debtor embezzled creditor's intangible property.disch

Judge David T. Thuma
Judicial Estoppel, Jurisdiction, Reconsideration, Standing     10/28/2013     Baker v. Bank of New York, et al.     

Court has right and obligation to address its subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte.  Denial of plaintiffs' motion to substitute trustee of 2005 case as the sole plaintiff, made near the end of trial, properly denied when substitution would be futile and would prejudice defendant, and where plaintiffs should have discovered the ir standing problem years ago.

Judge David T. Thuma
Avoidance Actions, Fraudulent Transfers, Ponzi Scheme Issues     10/25/2013     Wagner v. Valencia, et al.     

In a case involving a Ponzi scheme, the Court concluded that the Trustee had established most of the prima facie elements of her preference claim.  More specifically, the Court found that: (1) payments to net losers were made on account of an antecedent debt; and (2) each investor received more than they would have in a Chapter 7 case.   Misc. Case No. 12-0006 (Bankr.D.N.M. Oct. 25, 2013).

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Avoidance Actions, Fraudulent Transfers, Ponzi Scheme Issues, Summary Judgment     10/23/2013     Wagner v. Oliva, et. al.,     

In a case involving a Ponzi scheme, the Court concluded that the Trustee had established most of the prima facie elements of her fraudulent transfer claims.  More specifically, the Court found that: (1) Douglas Vaughan’s plea agreement would be admissible at trial; (2) VCR operated as Ponzi scheme, meaning that the transfers were made with the actual intent to defraud creditors; (3) VCR was insolvent during the relevant time periods; (4) VCR received less than reasonably equivalent value for the payment of net winnings; and (5) VCR had an interest in the transferred funds.  Misc. Case No. 12-0006 (Bankr.D.N.M. Oct. 23, 2013).

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Collateral Estoppel, Nondischargeability, Summary Judgment     10/15/2013     Sierra Chemicals, LLC v. Mosley     

Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment based on issue preclusion denied; federal arbitration findings are entitled to preclusive effect, but a key finding of "willfulness" under Sec. 523(a)(6) was not made by the arbitrator.

Judge David T. Thuma
Compromise, Settlement, Standing     10/15/2013     Ralph Leo Brutsche     

To have standing to object to a proposed settlement agreement, the debtor must show a reasonable possibility of surplus after satisfying all debts.  Settlement agreements must be fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the estate.  Such agreements need not represent the best possible outcome; the Court will generally approve a compromise or settlement if it falls within the range of reasonable outcomes.  Adv. No. 11-13326 (Bkrtcy.D.N.M., October 15, 2013).

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Collateral Estoppel, Judicial Estoppel, Limitation of Actions, Res Judicata, Standing     10/04/2013     Baker v. Bank of New York, et. al.     

Debtor sued mortgage company over mis-handling of mortgage loan default and foreclosure.  Court found that Debtors had valid claims at one time, but lost the claims through failure to defend the foreclosure action, schedule the claims in their bankruptcy case, or pursue the claims before the statute of limitations expired.

Judge David T. Thuma
Collateral Estoppel     09/25/2013     Brown v. Brown     

On motion for summary judgment, court could not determine whether a debt arising from a  judgment entered in a state court dissolution of marriage proceeding was a domestic support obligation under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5)--which is not dischargeable in a Chapter 13 case-- or a debt of the type referenced in 11 U.S.C.  § 523(a)(15)--which is dischargeable. (2013 WL 5376541(Bankr. D.N.M.  Sept. 25, 2013; Case No. 13-13-10538; Adversary No. 13-1025J – Docket No. 13)

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz