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Court Opinions Database

The court's 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, Reconsideration, Remand     02/02/2023     Mitchell and Victoria Hawkes vs. Automated Recovery Systems of New Mexico, Inc., et al.     

Plaintiffs moved the court to reconsider its earlier decision not to abstain and remand a removed adversary proceeding. The court considered the issues raised and denied the motion.a


Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Conversion, Discharge, Dischargeability, Summary Judgment     01/27/2023     Prizler v. Cain     

The Court denied Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment which sought a determination that the alleged debt at issue in the removed legal malpractice action constituted a pre-petition debt discharged in Plaintiff’s converted no-asset chapter 7 bankruptcy case.Under § 523(a)(3)(A) a pre-petition debt not of a kind specified in § 523(a)(2), (4), or (6) is discharged in a no-asset chapter 7 case notwithstanding a debtor’s failure to schedule or list the creditor. Under § 523(a)(3)(B) a pre-petition debt of a kind specified in § 523(a)(2), (4), or (6) is not discharged in a no-asset chapter 7 case if the creditor is not scheduled or listed under § 521(a)(1) and the creditor did not have notice or actual knowledge of Plaintiff’s bankruptcy case in time to timely file a complaint seeking a non-dischargeability determination under § 523(a)(2), (4), or (6). Plaintiff omitted Defendant from his bankruptcy schedules and mailing list because he allegedly did not know that Defendant would or might later sue him for legal malpractice. Defendant did not have notice or actual knowledge of Plaintiff’s bankruptcy case in time to timely file a complaint seeking a non-dischargeability determination under § 523(a)(2), (4), or (6). The facts not subject to genuine dispute did not establish that the conduct that gave rise to the alleged legal malpractice claim occurred prior to conversion or that the debt is not of a kind specified in § 523(a)(2), (4), or (6). No court has determined whether the debt in question falls within those subsections of § 523(a). Therefore, the Court could not conclude that the debt in question was discharged.



Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
BAPCPA, Chapter 13, Dismissal or Conversion     01/20/2023     Christopher Charles Bartlett     

US Trustee moved to dismiss or convert a chapter 7 case under Sec. 707(b). The court granted the motion, finding: (1) debtor was limited to the IRS standard expenses for housing, not his actual expenses; (2) debtor could not claim a vehicle operation expense for a 5th wheel trailer; (3) Debtor’s “special circumstances” arguments based on those two expense items were without merit; and (4) the totality of the circumstances demonstrated abuse.


Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 13, Dismissal, Reconsideration     01/13/2023     Jody Lee Beach and Rhonda B. Beach     

Creditor filed a motion asking the court to reconsider its earlier ruling denying creditor’s motion to dismiss the chapter 13 case because debtors had too much unsecured debt. The court reconsidered the matter and determined not to alter or amend its earlier conclusion that, of the two debts at issue, the first debt was unliquidated and the second debt had been waived. Or extinguished as of the petition date.


Judge David T. Thuma
Administrative Claims, Breach of Contract, Chapter 11     01/12/2023     Henry Valencia, Inc.     

Claimants and Debtor entered into a post-petition oral agreement for repair to claimants’ van. Claimants filed an application for administrative expense based on Debtor’s  alleged improper repair and damage to their van while in Debtor’s possession. The Court determined that damages arising from a breach of a post-petition contract made in the ordinary course of a chapter 11 debtor’s business operations can constitute an administrative expense claim under § 503. Claimants did not meet their burden of proving that Debtor breached the oral contract’s implied warranty to use reasonable skill to complete the repairs, but established that Debtor breached the implied warranty to complete repairs within a reasonable time, entitling claimants to an allowed administrative expense for loss of use damages equal to the cost of renting a vehicle for the unreasonable period of delay, less the amount to be charged for repairs under the oral agreement to repair the van. 


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Avoidance Actions, Reconsideration     01/06/2023     Philip Montoya, Chapter 7 Trustee v. William S. Ferguson et al     

Defendants moved for reconsideration of an adverse judgment. The court analyzed the arguments in the motion for reconsideration and found that the motion simply reargued matters previously argued at trial and determined by the Court. The Court denied the motion for that reason and on the merits.recon


Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 11, Relief from Judgment     01/06/2023     Michael Jacques Jacobs     

Debtor sought relief under Rule 59(e) from the Court’s order dismissing debtor’s chapter 11 case. The Court dismissed debtor’s case for “cause” under § 1111(b), concluding that debtor’s plan impermissibly modified the secured creditor’s claim, which was secured solely by debtor’s principle residence, in violation of § 1123(b)(5)’s anti-modification prohibition. Although some case law supports debtor’s position, the Court already considered those cases in ruling on the motion to dismiss or convert, and determined as a matter of law that debtor was required to pay all pre-confirmation arrears in full by the plan effective date in order to satisfy the anti-modification prohibition of § 1123(b)(5). Debtor’s alleged errors in the court’s findings of fact would not have changed the result; debtor’s arguments regarding “indubitable equivalent” are not relevant to whether debtor’s plan was facially unconfirmable under § 1123(b)(5); and debtor’s remaining arguments did not meet the standard for Rule 59(e) relief.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Appeals, Professionals, Standing, Trustee     12/23/2022     Philip Montoya, Chapter 7 Trustee v. William S. Ferguson et al     

Ruling on defendants’ request to set a bond and stay enforcement of an adverse judgment pending reconsideration and/or appeal, the court analyzed what bond amount would fully protect plaintiff without causing irreparable injury to defendants. After detailed analysis, the court set the bond at $810,000.


Judge David T. Thuma
Exemptions     12/16/2022     Bianca Ann Medina     

The issue before the Court was whether the New Mexico exemptions, apart from the $500 wildcard exemption, allow a debtor to exempt all or any part of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), or its New Mexico counterpart, the New Mexico Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC). The Trustee objected to Debtor’s claim of exemption in her EITC and WFTC except for the wildcard exemption. The Court found that the EITC and WFTC are a form of public assistance for low income wage earners that is not dependent on whether the wage earner pays or has overpaid any taxes. Unlike several other states, New Mexico does not have an exemption specific to the EITC or WFTC or an exemption applicable to public assistance benefits generally. While New Mexico does have an exemption for public assistance benefits, the exemption is limited to benefits payable or paid under the N.M. Public Assistance Act, which does not include the EITC or WFTC. The Court therefore sustained the Trustee’s objection to Debtor’s claim of exemptions.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 13, Confirmation, Due Process, Executory Contract, Res Judicata     12/07/2022     Nelson Gonzales     

Sellers under a real estate contract (“REC”) requested the Court to determine that they terminated the REC prepetition such that debtor could not seek to cure the arrears under the REC through his chapter 13 plan; alternatively, sellers sought relief from the automatic stay. Debtor countered that sellers were bound by the terms of his confirmed chapter 13 plan which treated the REC as a secured claim rather than as an executory contract under § 365. The Court strictly enforced the termination provisions of the REC and determined that sellers did not establish that they properly terminated the REC pre-petition because there was no evidence that they sent the final notice of default to debtor by certified mail, return receipt requested as required under the REC; however, because sellers did not receive bankruptcy notices at their new address, due process concerns prevented sellers from being bound by the terms of debtor’s confirmed chapter 13 plan. Sellers provided debtor with their new address, but debtor did not include or update the sellers’ new address on the mailing list. Because sellers were not bound by the confirmed chapter 13 plan, the court did not need to determine whether the REC is an executory contract that requires assumption or rejection under § 365 or may be treated as a security device subject to modification under § 1322. The Court denied the motion, conditioned upon debtor providing sellers with proof of insurance on the property, and gave the debtor an opportunity to modify his confirmed plan to provide for treatment of sellers’ REC, which might include alternative treatment as an executory contract or as a secured claim. 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz