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 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
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Default Judgment     03/17/2022     Jacobs v. DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc.     

The Court set aside the clerk’s entry of default and denied Plaintiff’s motion for default as to various defendants who failed to timely file an answer to the complaint. Defendants demonstrated good cause to set aside the entry of default: 1) the failure to timely file an answer  was not willful, and defendants started participating in the adversary proceeding once they became aware of the proceeding, 2) questions concerning the adequacy of service existed; 3) defendants raised possible meritorious defenses; and 3) Plaintiff would not suffer prejudice from setting aside the clerk’s entry of default.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Adversary, Core Proceedings, Jurisdiction     03/11/2022     Barry J. Byrnes v. Sylvia Marie Byrnes     

Plaintiff brought two state court tort claims against Defendant. He removed both claims to this Court after Defendant filed chapter 7 bankruptcy. Plaintiff did not consent to the Court hearing either claim. In an earlier opinion, the Court ruled that Plaintiff was not entitled to a jury trial. Plaintiff filed a motion to withdraw the reference for trial of the claims in the United States District Court. While Plaintiff’s motion was pending, the Court made the following rulings related to the trial of the claims: (1) The Court adopts the “narrow” interpretation of “personal injury tort” found in 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(5); (2) Under the narrow interpretation, Plaintiff’s defamation claim is not a personal injury tort; (3) Plaintiff’s IIED claim may be subject to dismissal or summary disposition because it is based entirely on Defendant’s alleged defamatory statements; (4) In any event, the Court can try the IIED claim because the gravamen of Plaintiff’s claims is defamation; and (5) The Court will not remand the claims, but will try them in Las Cruces. Additionally, the Court held that if the District Court had a different view about the legal issues before the Court and/or how best to proceed, it could supersede the Court’s decision(s) when it ruled on Plaintiff’s motion to withdraw the reference.

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 13, Confirmation     03/01/2022     Bonny Esquibel     

The Court held that even though creditor had standing to object to the amended chapter 13 plan and despite the timeliness of the objection, 1) creditor’s failure to timely object to debtor’s original plan constituted acceptance of that plan, satisfying the requirements of § 1325(a)(5)(A) such that the plan need not satisfy the alternative requirements of § 1325(a)(5)(B); and 2) under § 1323(c), a creditor who accepted the original plan and whose rights are not changed under the amended plan is deemed to have accepted the amended plan notwithstanding the creditor’s objection to the amended plan. The Court also found sua sponte that the plan’s proposed treatment of creditor’s claim was in good faith.

 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Claim Objection, Proof of Claim     03/01/2022     Cheryl Louise Sherman     

Debtor objected to her home mortgage lender’s proof of claim, arguing that the prepetition expenses were excessive and improperly itemized. The lender responded that its expenses were itemized as required by the bankruptcy rules and were high because of Debtor’s twelve-year payment default and repeated bankruptcy filings. The Court overruled the objection, reasoning the lender complied with the itemization requirements and that Debtor failed to provide evidence the prepetition fees were unreasonable. However, the Court allowed Debtor to take discovery regarding the reasonableness of certain prepetition fees.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Default Judgment, Relief from Judgment     02/18/2022     Yvette J. Gonzalse v. Timothy Delgado et al     

Defendant’s non-appearance for trial led to entry of a default judgment against him. 364 days after the entry of the default judgment, Defendant filed a motion for relief from the judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1), (5), or (6). Though he demonstrated a meritorious defense to the claims against him, Defendant did not demonstrate eligibility for relief from  under the standards imposed by the relevant subparts of Rule 60(b). The motion is denied. adver

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 13     02/07/2022     Jody Beach and Rhonda Beach     

Creditor moved to dismiss Debtors’ case, arguing that Debtors’ unsecured debts exceed the chapter 13 eligibility limit. The outcome of Creditor’s motion hinged on the value of Debtors’ home. The Court found Debtors’ home was worth $540,000 on the petition date. The Court reasoned the Covid pandemic, low interest rates, and government spending programs created a unique seller’s market in mid-2021. Creditor’s motion to dismiss was denied.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary Proceedings - Procedural Matters, Classification of Claims, Jurisdiction, Nondischargeability, Removal     01/28/2022     Barry J. Byrnes v. Sylvia Marie Byrnes     

A plaintiff who files a nondischargeability action premised on unliquidated tort claims submits to the equitable jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court, which will determine issues of fact dispositive of liability and damages inherent to the issue of dischargeability. Plaintiff’s complaint in this case constitutes an informal proof of claim as to which there is no right to a jury trial. Regardless of whether Plaintiff’s tort claims qualify as “personal injury torts,” under the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure Plaintiff impliedly consented to this Court trying them.  

Judge David T. Thuma
Abstention, Adversary, Chapter 11, Core Proceedings     01/20/2022     Jet Sales West LLC.     

Debtor filed an adversary proceeding, asserting two counts. Count one asked the Court to determine Debtor’s tax liability to the City of El Paso. Count two asked the Court to award money damages for alleged wrongful acts taken in connection with the assessment and collection of the disputed tax. The El Paso Central Appraisal District (“CAD”) moved to dismiss the adversary proceeding, or for the Court to abstain. The Court denied CAD’s motion to dismiss, holding Debtor preserved its right to challenge Texas’ jurisdiction to tax. However, the Court limited Debtor’s arguments at trial.

Judge David T. Thuma
Chapter 11, Proof of Claim     01/18/2022     S-Tek 1, LLC     

Debtor sought to strike an amended proof of claim filed after the claims bar date which substituted the named creditor. The Court denied the motion, determining that the claim was properly amended to substitute the name of the correct creditor and related back to the date of the filing of the original claim where 1) the original claim gave Debtor adequate notice of the existence, nature, and amount of  the claim, 2) except for the name of the creditor, the amended claim did not materially change the original claim, 3) the creditor filing the amended claim bore a substantial relationship to the original claimant inasmuch as both creditors where wholly owned by the same two individuals, and the same counsel represented both creditors and filed the proof of claim and the amended claim, 4) the mistaken identity of the claimant in the original claim should have been obvious to the Debtor for a variety of reasons; and 5) the amendment did not prejudice the Debtor or other creditors.

 

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Adversary, Discharge, Fraudulent Transfers     01/07/2022     Ilene J. Lashinsky, United States Trustee vs. Felix Candelaria Jr. and Sarah Candelaria     

The United States Trustee filed a complaint seeking denial of Debtors discharge in their chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The complaint was based on alleged fraudulent vehicle transfers and numerous false oaths in Debtors’ bankruptcy schedules, at the Section 341 meeting, and in depositions. After a trial of the merits the Court concluded that Debtors’ discharge must be denied based on the allegations in the complaint, which the United States Trustee proved by a preponderance of the evidence, and on Debtors’ numerous false oaths at trial.

Judge David T. Thuma

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