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First National Bank - Fox Valley v. Gruber (13-2797)

(April 2014) -- Judge Halfenger

Plaintiff purchased vacant land owned by the debtor at a pre-petition execution sale. When the debtor filed his bankruptcy petition, his right to redeem had expired, but lien-holding creditors still had one day to acquire the plaintiff's interest under Wis. Stat. §815.44. Because the §815.44 period had not expired, the plaintiff did not have the right to make a demand on the sheriff to issue a deed conveying the debtor's right, title, and interest in the land. The plaintiff filed an adversary proceeding seeking, in part, a declaration that the land purchased at the execution sale was not property of the debtor's bankruptcy estate, or in the alternative, a declaration that the bank did not need relief from the automatic stay to demand that the sheriff issue it a deed to the land.

The court ruled that (1) at the time the debtor filed his bankruptcy case he had both legal title and a possessory right in the land to use it in any manner that did not constitute waste; those interests were included in Gruber's bankruptcy estate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §541(a)(1); and (2) the bank could not demand a deed conveying the debtor's right, title, and interest in the land without obtaining relief from the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. §362(d), because any such demand by the bank would, at a minimum, violate 11 U.S.C. §362(a)(3) and would not be a ministerial act excepted from the automatic stay.

In re Choy (14-21411) (April 2014) -- Judge Halfenger

Debtors, with only one prior dismissal, who did not file motion to continue the automatic stay under 362(c)(3) in time to have it heard and decided within 30 days did not have standing to move to impose the automatic stay under 362(c)(4).

In re Ingram, 508 B.R. 98

(March 2014) -- Judge Kelley

Attorneys' fees and punitive damages for stay violation denied when towing company held valid statutory lien on debtor's truck.


In re Ingram, 2014 Bankr. LEXIS 1217

(March 2014) -- Judge Kelley

Debtor's attorney forced to refund entire fee when she gave inappropriate advice to file bankruptcy when a state court action was warranted, filed inaccurate schedules and fee disclosure and failed to appear at a hearing on enforcement of the stay taking the position that her fee did not cover that hearing.


In re Eckerstorfer (13-26186) (March 2014) -- Judge Halfenger

The court sustained, in part, the debtor's ex-wife's objection to confirmation of the debtor's chapter 13 plan and overruled the debtor's objection to his ex-wife's proof of claim, concluding that (i) the plan's proposed treatment of the maintenance arrears owed to the debtor's ex-wife did not comply with 11 U.S.C. §1322(a)(2), and (ii) the debtor did not have a right of setoff under Wisconsin law that would allow him to reduce the amount of his ex-wife's proof of claim.

In re Lawrence & Lorine Hartung, Case No. 12-21920 (March 2014) -- Judge McGarity

Court found judicial lien on chapter 13 debtors' homestead was avoidable to extent trust monies were not traceable to homestead.  Wisconsin law regarding exception to homestead exemption statute was discussed.  Additionally, Court noted that exemption by default under section 522(l) did not appy in the context of lien avoidance.  Note:  This is a Court Minutes Decision, only.

In re William R. Barnes, Case No. 11-27724 (March 2014) -- Judge McGarity

After above-median income debtor's income decreased below the applicable median income following confirmation, he sought to reduce the plan duration to a period less than 60 months without also providing for full repayment to unsecured creditors.  The trustee opposed confirmation of the modified plan. The court overruled the objection in part and sustained the objection in part.  A postconfirmation modification could reduce the applicable commitment period, provided the change in circumstances inhibited the debtor's ability to fund the plan through the end of the original term, a determination which required further evidence.

State of Wisconsin-Department of Workforce Development v. Davis (In re Davis), 507 B.R. 280

(March 2014) -- Judge Kelley

The Debtor was not personally liable under Wis. Stat. § 108.22(9) for a defunct corporation's liability for unpaid unemployment contributions.

In re Tammi Bastian, Case No. 13-21240, Debtor v. Fast EFNDS LLC, et al., Adv. No. 13-2198

(February 2014) -- Judge McGarity

Defendants' motions to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment, were denied.  The debtor's complaint seeking damages for alleged violations of the automatic stay stated a claim upon which relief could be granted.  Additionally, the bankruptcy court had personal jurisdiction over the individual defendant and facts in dispute precluded summary judgment.

In re Jones (13-33118) (January 2014) -- Judge Halfenger

The court denied chapter 13 debtor's application to employ special counsel as unnecessary, finding that 327 applies only to trustees.

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