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Opinions


    In re Tinita Holmes, Case No. 15-31329 (December 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The chapter 13 trustee objected to plan confirmation because the debtor had not demonstrated that she devoted all of her projected disposable income to pay general unsecured creditors. See 11 U.S.C. §1325(b). Specifically, the trustee argued that the debtor failed to account for contributions to the debtor's household made by the debtor's mother when calculating the debtor's projected disposable income. The debtor, relying on 11 U.S.C. §101(10A), contended that because her mother's only income was social security, she did not have to account for her mother's contributions. The court sustained the trustee's objection.


    In re Toczek, Case No. 13-33214 (November 2016) (November 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The court held that objections to claims and related notices must be mailed or otherwise delivered to the person and at the address specified by the creditor in the proof of claim. 


    In re Sternat, Case No. 15-21681 (August 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The debtor filed a motion under 11 U.S.C. section 522(f)(1)(A) to avoid a judicial lien on his residence held by his ex-wife. The debtor's ex-wife argued that the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Farrey v. Sanderfoot prevented the debtor from avoiding her lien. The court concluded that the debtor's ex-wife's lien attached to the debtor's pre-existing interest in the residence, and, therefore, Farrey v. Sanderfoot did not apply. The court also concluded that the divorce court's judgment does not give rise to an avoidable equitable lien.


    In re Brittany King, Case No. 16-24784 (July 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The chapter 13 debtor filed a motion requesting that the court approve a loan for the purchase of a vehicle. The court held that the Bankruptcy Code delegates oversight of chapter 13 debtor consumer transactions to the chapter 13 trustee. The court denied the debtor's motion but took no view on whether the chapter 13 trustee should exercise her discretion to approve the debtor's proposed consumer credit transaction.


    In re Gouthro, Case No. 12-35699 (June 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The court overruled the debtors' meritless objection to the trustee's affidavit of default. The objection neither (1) disputed the veracity of the trustee's affidavit of default nor (2) argued that the debtors could establish excusable neglect to justify an expansion of the time to perform under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9006(b)(1). The order provides notice that similar meritless objections to affidavits of default risk sanctions under 11 U.S.C. section 105(a) and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9011(c).


    In re James Burke, Case No. 16-23732 (June 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The chapter 13 debtor's case was automatically dismissed pursuant to 11 U.S.C. section 521(i) because the debtor failed to file his Statement of Financial Affairs. The debtor filed a motion to vacate the dismissal. He based the motion on the fact that the court's deficiency order did not advise him that he failed to file the Statement of Financial Affairs. The motion contended that counsel relied on the order to determine which additional documents he needed to file. The court denied the motion and explained that it is the debtor's duty to comply with section 521. Because the debtor neither timely filed the information required by section 521(a) nor moved to extend the time before section 521(i)'s 45-day deadline expired, the case was dismissed by operation of law, and the court had no authority to vacate that dismissal.


    In re Gelhaar, Case No. 15-20540 (June 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    Decision and order discussing the best-interests-of-creditors test under 11 U.S.C. section 1325(a)(4).


    In re Birschbach, Case No. 15-22376 (March 2016) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    The debtor filed a motion pursuant to 11 U.S.C. section 522(f) in one push mower and two riding lawn mowers. The court determined that section 522(f)(4) did not permit the debtor to avoid the lien on the riding lawn mowers but that the debtor was entitled to avoid the lien on the push mower.


    In re Burris, Case No. 15-31603 (December 2015) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    A secured creditor objected to the debtor's plan because the debtor's plan did not provide for its claim. Overruling the objection, the court held that nothing in section 1322 or 1325 required the debtor to include the secured claim in her plan.


    In re Tina Enders, Case No. 15-21737 (September 2015) -- Judge G.M. Halfenger
    Creditor objected to confirmation of the debtor's chapter 13 plan contending that the plan's payment of its secured claim in pro rata distributions did not comply with 11 U.S.C. §1325(a)(5)(B)(iii)(I)'s requirement that periodic payments on secured claims be made in “equal monthly amounts”. The court sustained the objection.