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Bankruptcy

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A creditor or other holder of property of the bankrupt estate does not violate the automatic stay (11 USC 362(a)(3)) by merely continuing to hold that property after the debtor files a bankruptcy petition.  Instead, 11 USC 542 governs the circumstances under which the bankruptcy court can compel a holder of property of the bankrupt estate to turn the property… Read More

Debtor abusively filed an earlier bankruptcy on behalf of a business entity, voiding a nonjudicial foreclosure sale of the entity's real property held the same day.  In debtor's later personal bankruptcy, creditor filed a claim, contending it was entitled to damages from the debtor on state law claims for abuse of process and tortious interference with business relations based on… Read More

Applying the objective standard outlined in Taggart v. Lorenzen (2019) 139 S.Ct. 1795, this decision holds that the debtor's creditors cannot be held in civil contempt for violating the discharge injunction.  They had a reasonable believe that Taggart had "returned to the fray" and thus was liable for attorney fees the creditors incurred in defeating his state court suit. Read More

Ocwen, a mortgage loan servicer, periodically reviewed credit reports of borrowers who had received bankruptcy discharges of personal liabiity on debts secured deeds of trust on their homes.  This decision holds that Ocwen did not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act by doing so.  Ocwen had a permissible pupose in trying to determine whether the borrowers qualified for an alternative… Read More

The Equal Access to Justice Act (28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)) does not authorize a fee award against the bankruptcy court that, sua sponte, refused to confirm movan't Chapter 13 plan because it did not state a definite end date for performance of the plan.  The EAJA does not treat courts as part of the "United States" for purposes of a… Read More

The bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in converting this Chapter 13 bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy despite the fact that the debtors had filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss their Chapter 13 case under 11 USC 1307(b).  That section gives the debtors an absolute right to leave Chapter 13, but not to leave the bankruptcy court.  And… Read More

A bankrupt may assume an existing lease of personal property (such as a car) under 11 USC 365(p).  This decision holds that the debtor may assume the lease, and the creditor may enforce it after the debtor is discharged without also complying with the rrequirements for reaffirming a debt under 11 USC 524(c). Read More

A trustee is not deemed to have abandoned property of the estate under 11 USC 554(c) on closure of a bankruptcy case unless that property has been scheduled.  Here, the bankrupt described his then-pending lawsuit against his home loan servicer in his statement of financial affairs and discussed the case with his bankruptcy trustee but did not list the lawsuit… Read More

A bankruptcy court may retroactively annul the automatic stay so as to validate actions taken before the order annulling the stay. This remains true even after Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico v. Acevedo Feliciano (2020) 140 S. Ct. 696, which held that a federal district court could not retroactively remand a case to state court to validate… Read More

After a state court entered an $800,000 judgment against him for conversion, Delannoy filed a Chapter 7 petition.  The trustee in the bankruptcy case sold Delannoy's state court appeal rights to the state court plaintiff which then dismissed the appeal and asserted the state court judgment as issue preclusive in connection with its objection to discharge in the bankruptcy court. … Read More

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