Category: Bankruptcy

Standard for Sanctions for Violating Discharge

Taggart v. Lorenzen, 139 S. Ct. 1795 (2019): The Supreme Court was asked to decide the standard to applied to determine whether or not a Court may impose sanctions for conduct that violates the discharge injunction.  The Supreme Court rejected both a subjective standard (preferred by the creditor) and strict liability (preferred by the debtor). The Court instead held that sanctions are appropriate “where there is not a ‘fair ground of doubt’ as to whether the creditor’s conduct might be lawful under the discharge order.”

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Discharge Denied When Debtor’s Case Fails the Smell Test

In re Wilson, 2016 Bankr. Lexis 995 (Bankr. D. Md. March 30, 2016) Robert Horace Wilson (“Debtor”), a practicing orthopedic surgeon, filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to stay the collection efforts of his largest creditor (“Creditor”). Debtor’s nonfiling spouse (“Spouse”) also was a physician. In his original Schedules, Debtor disclosed monthly income of nearly $18,000 and ownership interests in a medical practice and an entity called Spike Club, LLC (“Spike”), which owned a gentlemen’s club. Those Schedules, which by Debtor’s admission were incomplete and inaccurate, also disclosed only minimal bona fide claims against him apart from Creditor’s claim and

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Post-Filing Modification Prevents Student Loans From Being Discharged in Bankruptcy

Naffis v. Xerox Education Services, LLC AP No. 15-0078 February 6, 2019 Consumer sought to discharge student loans but after filing the bankruptcy, the consumer consolidated his loans, which made them a “post-petition” debt and therefore not dischargeable. The consumer then Amended his Complaint to add violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act (“MCDCA”) because the servicer persuaded him to consolidate his loans, causing him to lose the opportunity for discharge. The servicer, Xerox Education Services, LLC (“XES”) filed a motion for summary judgment. The Court held that because the student

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Lost in Bank’s Computer System: Violation of Discharge Injunction

Zombro v. SunTrust; AP No. 06 – 1166; April 14, 2008   This case involved a credit card account and a deed of trust at SunTrust bank.   The first legal issue the court addressed was whether or not the debtor would be allowed to amend their complaint against the bank. To this the court decided that “Under the notice pleading approach adopted in Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 7008, the bank had sufficient notice both of the claim (violation of the discharge injunction) and the remedy (attorney’s fees) sought by the debtors as well as supporting allegations of fact.

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No excuse not to have credit counseling course

In re Houston; Case No. 08-11848; April 11th, 2008   The debtor in this case filed a Chapter 13 without yet having the necessary credit counseling certificate. Instead of this certificate, she filed a certification of exigent circumstances stating that she will be evicted without the court’s protection.   The court cites Bankruptcy Code §109(h)(3)(A) which allows the credit counseling requirement to be waived if the debtor submits to the court a certification that (1) “describes exigent circumstances that merit a waiver” of the credit counseling requirement; (2) “states that the debtor requested credit counseling services from an approved nonprofit

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Bankruptcy and Virginia Corporate Law

In re Cummings; Case No. 07-13758-SSM; April 10th, 2008   Lawsuit brought in bankruptcy case highlights core aspects of Virginia corporate law   Individual debtor filed a Chapter 11 under the bankruptcy code to reorganize her debts. The debtor then brought an action for breach of contract arising from the sale of a business, a declaratory judgment that salary repayment and non-compete provisions in an employment agreement she signed are unenforceable, and damages for breach of fiduciary duty.   The court restated the standard for summary judgment that it was going to use. Importantly, the court noted that “the Supreme

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Notice of Bankruptcy Case

In re US Airways, Inc.; Case No. 04-13819-SSM; March 27th, 2008   In a chapter 11 case, a debtor that continues in business following confirmation of a plan or reorganization is discharged from all debts arising prior to confirmation. 11 U.S.C. § 1141(d). However, before such a claim can be discharged, creditors must be afforded adequate notice of the bankruptcy case, as well as of the deadline set for filing claims against the debtor. Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Tessler (In re J.A. Jones, Inc.), 492 F.3d 242, 249(4th Cir. 2007).   They type of notice that is required depends

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Who Can File Pleadings for Debtor?

In re Carr; Case No. 05-11697-RGM; March 19th, 2008   When a party to a case is represented by counsel, counsel and counsel alone should be filing the pleadings. In addition to this error, the motion alleged that Wachovia Bank, the trustee of a trust established under the will of Robert A. Geary. The question at issue was whether the trustee ought to be compelled to make a distribution. The court notes that the will is probated in the Circuit Court for the City of Chesapeake and that this is a matter of state law; therefore, the court declined to

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Time For Filing Dischargeability Complaint

In re Nwoke; Case No. 07-10324-SSM; March 18th, 2008 This case was before the court on the motion of Tenacity Settlements, LLC (“Tenacity”) for leave to file a complaint to determine the dischargeability of Tenacity’s claim against the debtor to recover a payment made by mistake. Tenacity was not listed as a creditor and not given notice of the bankruptcy case. This complaint to determine dischargeability was filed after the date to file complaints to determine dischargeability. However, “a complaint to determine dischargeability of an unlisted debt under § 523 (a)(3), Bankruptcy Code, may be filed ‘at any time.’” FRBP

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Relationship Between Fiduciary Duty In and Out of Bankruptcy and Non-Dischargeability

In re Stewart; Case No. 07-10860-RGM; March 7th, 2008 This case was before Judge Mayer on a motion for summary judgment filed by the debtor. The Plaintiff in this case filed an adversary proceeding asserting that a judgment it had obtained in District Court in Oregon was nondischargeable under §§523(a)(4) and (a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code. Secton 523(a)(4) and its predecessors have long narrowly construed the scope of fiduciary relationships encompassed by them. There must be a technical or express trust which predates and exists apart from the act creating the liability. Agents, bailees, brokers, factors, partners and similarly situated

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