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Plaintiff filed a Chapter 11 and was debtor-in-possession until the bankruptcy appointed a trustee in her stead.  Following dismissal of the bankruptcy case, plaintiff sued her bankruptcy attorney for malpractice.  Held:  Plaintiff cannot sue the attorney, without bankruptcy court approval, for malpractice committed while attorney for plaintiff as debtor in possession.  The bankruptcy court appoints the attorney for the debtor-in-possession,… Read More

Under 11 USC 365, a bankrupt may assume a lease that "has been" in default only if it (a) cures the default, (b) compensates the landlord for any monetary loss caused by the default, and (c) provides adequate assurance of future performance of the lease.  This decision holds that the bankrupt must satisfy the three conditions with respect to the… Read More

Indebtedness arising from the attorney’s obligation to reimburse the State Bar for the payments made to victims of his misconduct is dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Such an indebtedness is not a penalty, fine or forfeiture payable to a governmental agency, but rather is payable to and for the benefit of the State Bar and is compensation for the Fund’s actual pecuniary… Read More

Following Ritzen Group, Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC (2020) 140 S.Ct. 582, this decision holds that an order denying relief from the automatic stay is immediately appealable so long as it finally resolves the issue of whether the movant is entitled to relief from stay on the basis on which relief was sought, even if the denial is without prejudice… Read More

Article I, section 8 of the Constitution empowers Congress to enact uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy throughout the nation.  This decision holds that Congress violated the uniformity requirement when it raised US Trustee fees in 2017 because, at that time, it did not also raise the fees charged bankrupts in the six districts in Alabama and North Carolina… Read More

An order unconditionally granting or denying a motion for relief from the automatic stay in bankruptcy is final and appealable.  The 14-day window for filing an appeal from the order opens when the order is filed.  Stay relief is a proceeding separate from, and precedes, claim resolution. Read More

Corso obtained a default judgment against Rejuvi in a district court in South Australia.  Corso filed a proof of claim in Rejuvi's bankruptcy proceeding.  Rejuvi appealed from a bankruptcy court order allowing Corso's claim based on the South Australia default judgment.  Held, the claim was properly allowed.  Under California's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgment Recognition Act (CCP 1713 et seq.), Rejuvi… Read More

Mentioning an existing lawsuit in the debtor's statement of affairs is insufficient.  The claim must actually be listed as an asset in the debtor's schedules.  Otherwise, the claim is "unscheduled" and is not abandoned when the bankruptcy trustee decides it is a no asset estate and the bankruptcy court discharges the debtor and closes the case.  Accordingly, here, where plaintiff… Read More

In Law v. Siegel (2014) 571 U.S. 415, the US Supreme Court held that a bankruptcy court may not use its equitable powers under 11 USC 105 to contravene express provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.  Applying that reasoning, this decision departs from prior Ninth Circuit precedent, In re Rosson (9th Cir. 2008) 545 F.3d 764, and holds that a bankruptcy… Read More

The anti-suit and other injunctions entered when Castlepoint was placed in receivership under the California Insurance Commissioner did not prevent suit by shareholders of a related entity against other related entities and their controlling officers and directors on claims of breach of contract (to which Castlepoint was not a party), tortious interference with that same contract, and breach of fiduciary… Read More

Distinguishing Law v. Siegel (2014) 134 S.Ct. 1188, this decision holds that a bankruptcy court may apply claim and issue preclusion doctrines to bar later assertion of exemptions it has already denied.  Here, Albert claimed two exemptions when she originally filed her Chapter 13 petition.  A creditor objected, and the bankruptcy court denied the exemptions.  Albert failed to appeal.  Later,… Read More

11 USC 108(c) extends time limits (such as statutes of limitation) for actions against the debtor until 30  period after the automatic stay in bankruptcy is vacated.  This decision holds that 108(c) extends the 10-year period in which a judgment creditor may apply for renewal of the judgment under CCP 683.130.  The majority opinion also disagrees with In re Lobherr… Read More

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

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