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
Chapter 11, Confirmation     10/11/2016     Sandia Resorts, Inc.     

The Court denied creditors’ request for temporary allowance of claim under Fed.R.Bankr.P. 3018(a) for voting purposes.  The evidence showed that the creditor did not hold a pre-petition claim.  Only creditors with an allowable pre-petition claim against the debtor are eligible to vote to accept or reject a chapter 11 plan.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Summary Judgment     10/11/2016     Henderson v. White     

The facts not subject to genuine dispute established that the residential lease underlying Plaintiffs’ claims for violation of the automatic stay and the discharge injunction was entered into after Plaintiffs filed their voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.  Defendants’ actions to enforce the post-petition lease did not violate the automatic stay or the discharge injunction.  The Court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Assumption and Rejection, 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
Automatic Stay, Chapter 11     09/30/2016     Daniel Jaramillo     

The Court denied the debtor’s request to set aside a default order granting stay relief, finding that the anti-modification provision under § 1123(b)(5) prevented the debtor from seeking to restructure the loan through a Chapter 11 plan.  There was no other evidence before the Court that the debtor would be able to sell the property to a third party to pay off the loan.  

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
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
Chapter 11, Res Judicata     09/01/2016     Sandia Resorts, Inc.     

Court granted motion for temporary allowance of claim for purposes of voting pursuant to Rule 3018(a), finding that the plan and confirmation order entered in the debtor’s prior bankruptcy case was entitled to claim preclusive effect under both federal and New Jersey claim preclusion law, preventing debtor from successfully objecting to creditor’s request for temporary allowance of its claim.  Creditor’s proof of claim was sufficient to establish the amount of its claim for purposes of voting.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
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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