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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
Chapter 11, Employment of Professionals     10/19/2021     S-Tek 1, LLC     

The chapter 11 debtor asked the Court to approve its counsel jointly representing debtor and debtor’s principals in an adversary proceeding. The Court found no actual conflict of interest in the joint representation but found potential conflicts. The Court approved the joint representation subject to satisfaction of four conditions, which included a waiver by the principals of indemnification claims against the estate. The Court also found that indemnification claims arising from a prepetition contract are prepetition claims subject to the claims bar date and construed the ultra vires defense to liability narrowly.


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 11, Chapter 13, Conversion, Dismissal, Dismissal or Conversion     10/13/2021     Chuck and Chuthamard McCune     

Creditor filed a motion to dismiss debtor’s chapter 13 bankruptcy case on eligibility grounds. Debtors determined not to contest chapter 13 eligibility and filed a motion to convert their chapter 13 case to a subchapter V case under chapter 11. Creditor responded by filing a motion to convert Debtors’ chapter 13 case to chapter 7 premised on Debtors’ bad faith filing and prosecution of their chapter 13 case and certain pre-petition transfers. Debtors later asked to convert to a non-subchapter V chapter 11 case in the alternative. The opinion discusses what a debtor must show to convert a case to chapter 11. It also discusses when a debt is unliquidated for purposes of chapter 13 eligibility. The Court determined that Debtors were not eligible to be Debtors under subchapter V, could not convert to a non-subchapter V case under chapter 11, and did not file or prosecute their chapter 13 case in bad faith. Because the Debtors conceded for purposes of the pending motions that they were not eligible for chapter 13 relief, the only remaining possible outcomes were conversion to another chapter or dismissal. Because Debtors had an absolute right to voluntarily dismiss their chapter 13 case that had not previously been converted, the Court granted Debtors an opportunity to elect voluntary dismissal under § 1307(b). If the Debtors do not elect voluntary dismissal, the Court will convert the case to chapter 7.  


Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Chapter 11, Claim Objection, Due Process, Extension of Time, Proof of Claim     10/01/2021     Las Uvas Valley Dairies     

Creditor Jeani Anderson moved to have her proof of claim deemed timely despite being filed over three years after the bar date. Anderson was never given actual or constructive notice of the Debtor’s bankruptcy. The Court granted the motion, finding that Anderson was an unknown creditor entitled to constructive notice of the bar date and that denying her proof of claim would violate her due process rights. Alternatively, the Court found Anderson’s delay in filing her proof of claim was due to excusable neglect.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Dischargeability, Issue Preclusion, Summary Judgment     10/01/2021     United States of America v. Alejandro Saavedra     

Plaintiff (the United States Government) sought summary judgment on its Section 523(a)(2)(A) claim against Defendant. The debt at issue is a money judgment arising from Defendant’s violations of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. Section 3729. The Court holds that the principle of issue preclusion bars relitigating three of the five requisite elements of a Section 523(a)(2)(A) claim (false representation, reliance, and damages).  The remaining elements (intent to deceive and justifiable reliance) were not at issue in the False Claims litigation and issue preclusion does not apply. If Plaintiff proves the remaining elements at trial, the entire judgment (including treble damages and punitive damages) will be nondischargeable. The summary judgment motion is granted in part and denied in part pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(g).   

Judge David T. Thuma
Automatic Stay, Equitable Remedies, Jurisdiction     09/17/2021     Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe     

Creditor sought relief from the automatic stay to file an adversary proceeding seeking various forms of equitable relief with the overarching goal of removing his name from a list of “Priests, Deacons, and Religious Accused of Sexual Abuse of Children” that was published online and in local and national newspapers. Debtor may wish to file a defamation claim. The Court has jurisdiction over defamation claims that can be resolved by the application of neutral principles of civil law. Were Creditor to prevail in a defamation claim, injunctive relief might be available if damages were an inadequate remedy. Because Creditor was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a “minor child,” claim that was settled instead of adjudicated untrue, it is unlikely that Creditor would prevail in a defamation claim. The other forms of relief that Creditor would seek are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Catholic Church’s tribunals. This Court is barred by the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine from intervening in matters of the Catholic Church’s laws, precedents, usages and customs. Moreover, Creditor may not mount a collateral attack, in this Court, on the Catholic Church’s determination that his name is properly included on the list. For these reasons, cause does not exist to lift the automatic stay.

Judge David T. Thuma
Cause, Chapter 11, Dismissal, Good Faith, Subchapter V     09/02/2021     In re S-Tek 1, LLC     

In a motion to dismiss, creditor Surv-Tek, Inc. asserted that Debtor’s bankruptcy case must be dismissed because Debtor filed the case in bad faith merely to gain a strategic litigation advantage in a dispute with Surv-Tek after the state court entered an order in favor of Surv-Tek. The Court analyzed the totality of the circumstances and determined that Debtor’s bankruptcy case served a legitimate bankruptcy purpose: to preserve Debtor’s ongoing business and preserve jobs. The Court also found that the petition was not filed merely to obtain a litigation advantage and that Debtor’s pre-petition conduct and other factors were either neutral or did not weigh heavily toward dismissal. The creditor also argued that the case should be dismissed because Debtor’s proposed plan is not confirmable on its face. The plan relied on 11 U.S.C. § 510(b) to subordinate part of Surv-Tek’s claim. The Court found that § 510(b) was not applicable to the transaction at issue as a matter of law but that fact did not establish that Debtor is unable to propose a confirmable plan. Debtor may amend the plan to address the creditor’s claim without reliance on § 510(b). Finally, Surv-Tek argued that Debtor’s principal had falsely testified, demonstrating Debtor’s bad faith in pursuing its bankruptcy case. The Court found that Debtor’s principal had not willfully testified falsely. The Court denied the motion to dismiss.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Claim Objection     08/31/2021     JB and Company Chevron, LLC     

New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department was not permitted to amend its timely filed proof of claim after 1) expiration of the claims bar date; 2) confirmation of debtor’s plan; and 3) entry of sale order authorizing the sale of a liquor license that provided for payment of NMTR’s then existing claim in full. The Court relied on equitable considerations, including another creditor’s detrimental reliance on the amount of NMTR’s timely filed claim, to disallow the untimely amended claim.

Chief Judge Robert H. Jacobvitz
Adversary, Dischargeability, Fraudulent Transfers, Ponzi Scheme Issues, Summary Judgment     08/20/2021     Nationwide Judgment Recovery Inc. v. Angel Grimaldo     

The plaintiff-assignee of a foreign judgment and the debtor-defendant filed cross motions for summary judgment as to the dischargeability of the judgment debt, which stemmed from net profits the debtor made from investing in a Ponzi scheme. Because whether or not the debtor intended to defraud others when he accepted the profits is a material fact at issue, summary judgment is not appropriate for either party.

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Claim Preclusion, Default Judgment, Dischargeability, Issue Preclusion     08/12/2021     Taeki Martin v. Ramin Zamani-Zadeh     

Plaintiff sought summary judgment on her claim that an Oregon state court default judgment against Debtor is nondischargeable. In support of her motion, plaintiff relied on the principles of claim and issue preclusion. Claim preclusion does not apply to Section 523(a) claims. Although issue preclusion may apply to such claims, the judgment in this case does not satisfy the requisite standards. Plaintiff’s nondischargeability claim is based on fraud, false pretenses, and false representation. The state court judgment was based on Plaintiff’s Oregon state law claim of “financial abuse of a vulnerable person.”  The judgment does not demonstrate an identity of issues between this and the former proceeding, nor it show that the issues underlying Plaintiff’s nondischargeability claim were actually litigated and essential to the state court judgment. Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment is denied.  

Judge David T. Thuma
Adversary, Avoidance Actions, Fraudulent Transfers, Preference     08/06/2021     Philip J. Montoya v. Margaret Dubbin     

Trustee sought to avoid repayment of Debtor’s 401(k) loan on the eve of bankruptcy as preferential and/or fraudulent, and Debtors moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing that there were no transactions and no debtor/creditor relationship created between a debtor and her retirement plan. Following Johnson v. Home State Bank, 501 U.S. 78 (1991); In re Buchferer, 216 B.R. 332 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 1997); and BAPCPA, the Court held that nonrecourse loans can establish a debtor/creditor relationship, that the conversion of non-exempt to exempt assets can form the basis of a § 548 claim, and that borrowing from one’s 401(k) plan is much more complex than borrowing from oneself. Thus, at the motion to dismiss stage, the trustee has pleaded claims for which relief may be granted.

Judge David T. Thuma