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
Assumption, Contract Interpretation     06/14/2016     SPOVERLOOK, LLC.     

Debtor moved to reject settlement agreement with a homeowner's association pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 365(a).  The settlement agreement required the Debtor to convey property and the HOA to release its claims against Debtor.  Neither had occurred as of the petition date.  The Court held that the settlement agreement was an executory contract because both parties had material unperformed obligations.  The fact that the HOA's obligation was contingent and self-executing did not change the result, as the mechanism for performance does not determine executoriness.  

Judge David T. Thuma
Discharge Injunction, Reaffirmation Agreements, Stay Violation, Summary Judgment     06/03/2016     Floyd White et al v. Cannon Federal Credit Union     

Creditor moved for summary judgment that its collection of a discharged debt did not violate the automatic stay and discharge injunction.  The court held that fact issues about whether the loan was secured; whether the debtors voluntarily agreed to pay the loansumm; and whether there was a valid novation, all prevented entry of summary judgment.

Judge David T. Thuma
Proof of Claim, Time     05/27/2016     Aquatic Pools, Inc.     

Debtor sought to establish on summary judgment that creditor's claim for wages or contract payables was not entitled to priority under § 507(a)(4).  Creditor argued that even though she was terminated more than 180 days before the petition date, the wages or contract payables were "earned" within that period because the payment was due about 150 days prepetition.  The Court overruled this argument and found that employees "earn" wages within the meaning of  § 507(a)(4) when the services are performed, not at the time of payment.

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 11, Due Process, Injunctions     05/23/2016     Cady Landrum v. Otero County Hospital Association     

On cross motions for summary judgment, the Court determined that 1) the language in the Debtor-Hospital’s confirmed Chapter 11 plan was broad enough to enjoin claims against former employees of the Debtor-Hospital relating to claims against the Debtor-Hospital and has res judicata effect even if such third-party injunction is contrary to the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code;  2) that Plaintiff received actual notice of the commencement of the bankruptcy case, the hearing on confirmation of the Chapter 11 plan, and the deadline for filing administrative claims; and 3) fact issues concerning whether the content of the notice was sufficient to satisfy due process and bind plaintiff to the injunction contained in the Confirmed Chapter 11 plan precluded summary judgment.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
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
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

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