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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
Chapter 11, Confirmation     12/21/2015     The Vaughan Company Realtors     

On objection to confirmation by certain restitution claimants, defrauded investors in the debtor’s Ponzi scheme, the Court denied confirmation of Chapter 11 plan proposing a “rising tide” distribution method whereby pre-petition distributions to defrauded investors are treated as distributions from the estate in an effort to equalize distributions between earlier defrauded investors who received a greater return on their principal investment and later defrauded investors who received little or nothing before the bankruptcy filing because the plan did not comply with the requirements of § 1123(a)(4), which requires “same treatment” of claims within a class.  The plan also failed to satisfy the “best interest of creditors test” under § 1129(a)(7) with respect to rejecting creditors. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Discovery     12/17/2015     United Tort Claimants v. Quorum Health Resources, LLC.     

On a motion to compel compliance with subpoena and the objection thereto, the Court acknowledged the split in authority on the issue of whether Rule 45(b)(1) requires personal service of a subpoena or whether some other form of service is sufficient, but did not decide the issue, finding, instead, that service of a subpoena on a corporation to the attention of “Records Custodian” fails to comply with the requirements for service on a corporation.   Because the target of the subpoena waived its objection to defective service on such basis, the Court considered the motion to compel on the merits and granted motion in part, requiring production of certain requested documents.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Injunctions, Property of the Estate     12/17/2015     Unsecured Creditors Committee v. Philip Briggs et al     

Plaintiff sought to enjoin Defendant from spending a tax refund that allegedly was estate property.  The Court concluded Plaintiff was entitled to a preliminary injunction.  The Court found that because the Defendant was insolvent and likely unable to repay a money judgment, Plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm if the funds were depleted before a decision on the merits could be rendered.  The Court also applied the relaxed standard for the "likelihood of success on the merits" prong, finding that the ownership issue raised serious and difficult questions warranting further investigation. injun

Judge David T. Thuma
Discharge     12/14/2015     Phillips 66 Company v. Dale Ritchie et al.     

Creditor bought an action under 727(a)(2), (a)(4), and (a)(5), objecting to Debtors’ discharge.  After a trial on the merits, the Court ruled that the (a)(2) claim did not have merit, because the Debtors did not fraudulently conceal property.  The Court also ruled against Plaintiff’s (a)(4) claim, because Debtors did not make a false statement, and any omissions were the result of honest error rather than fraudulent intent.  Finally, the Court ruled against Plaintiff’s (a)(5) claim, because the Debtors provided sufficient documentation regarding the transaction.  Discharge granted.

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 12, Confirmation     12/04/2015     Bright Harvesting Inc.; Gary and Gennifer Bright     

Debtors sought confirmation of their respective Chapter 12 plans.  Secured creditor objected, arguing, inter alia, that the plans were not feasible.  After adjusting debtors' projections based on the evidence presented at trial, the Court found the plans offered a reasonable prospect of success and were workable.  The Court conditioned confirmation on the debtors changing or clarifying certain plan provisions in their confirmation orders.  Such changes were necessary to satisfy the remaining requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 1225.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Due Process, Jurisdiction, Service     11/20/2015     Philip J. Montoya v. Nancy Akbari-Shahmirzadi et al.     

Defendants sought to dismiss the adversary proceeding on the grounds that, inter alia, the Court lacked jurisdiction and the proceeding was moot.  The Court analyzed dismissal under Rules 12(b)(1), (2), (4), (5), and (6).  The Court determined movants could not seek dismissal on behalf of defendants they did not represent, that the matter was not moot based on an earlier settlement, and that it had both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over all of the defendants who were served in the United States.

Judge David T. Thuma
Collateral Estoppel, Damages, Dischargeability, Nondischargeability     11/19/2015     H. Steven Murphy v. MKM Investments, LLC et al.     

Plaintiffs sought summary judgment that their debt was nondischargeable, based on two pre-petition state court judgments.  The Court declined to give preclusive effect to the first judgment, which appeared to be a default judgment, but allowed the plaintiffs to supplement the record with other evidence.  The Court determined that the findings in the second judgment were sufficient to establish defendant committed actual fraud and willfully and maliciously injured plaintiffs' property.  Since the second judgment did not include any findings about the amount of damages caused by defendant's conduct, the Court allowed plaintiffs to supplement the record on damages.

Judge David T. Thuma
Standing     11/18/2015     The Vaughan Company Realtors     

Creditors whose unsecured, non-priority unsecured claims were disallowed against the bankruptcy estate lacked both Article III constitutional standing and statutory standing under § 1109(b) and §1128() to object to the Chapter 11 Trustee’s Chapter 11 plan.  Creditors did not have a direct pecuniary interest in the outcome of the Chapter 11 plan and could not demonstrate that they would suffer any injury in fact resulting from any of the plan’s provisions. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Class Action     11/10/2015     Quick Cash Inc.     

Class proofs of claim are permitted in bankruptcy cases.  The bankruptcy court may, in its discretion, apply Federal Rule 23 (governing class actions) through Bankruptcy Rule 9014 and Bankruptcy Rule 7023 to the claims allowance process to allow a class representative to file a class proof of claim on behalf of all similarly situated members of the class.  The following factors are relevant to the Court’s decision to apply Rule 7023 to allow the filing of a class proof of claim:  whether the class has been certified; notice of the bankruptcy claims bar date to class members or putative class members; whether public policy reasons favoring class action suits should be applied to the claims process; the nature of the class action, including whether it is an opt in or opt out class;  the timing of the request to file a class proof of claim; whether potential jurisdictional issues impede the filing of a class proof of claim; and the potential impact of the filing of a class proof of claim om the debtor’s reorganization prospects, the potential prejudice to other creditors, and the potential benefit to class members. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Class Action     11/10/2015     Caroline Tullie v. Quick Cash, Inc.     

The putative class representative satisfied all requirements for class certification under Federal Rule 23(a) and (b)(3), made applicable to adversary proceedings by Fed.R.Bank.P. 7023:  numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy of representation, predominance, and superiority.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz