Opinions

The Middle District of Georgia offers opinions in PDF format, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

Please note: These opinions are not a complete inventory of all judges' decisions and are not documents of record. Official court records are available at the clerk's office.

Judge John T. Laney, III

Creditor Nissan moved for relief from stay against Debtor and objected to Debtor’s confirmation plan. Nissan alleged that the transaction between Nissan and Debtor for the vehicle was a true lease and, additionally, that Debtor’s plan lacked sufficient adequate protection. Debtor, in response, argued that the lease was not a true lease and instead was a disguised security agreement. The Court found the lease to be a true lease and granted the motion for relief from stay; the Court also agreed that the offered adequate protection was insufficient and sustained Nissan’s objection to confirmation.

In this case, the Trustee brought a Motion for Sanctions against a Pro Se Debtor. The Trustee alleged that the Debtor filed a complaint to open an adversary proceeding in violation of F.R.B.P. 9011. After a hearing on the motion, the Court found that Debtor did violate Rule 9011 and therefore sanctions were appropriate. The Court determined that the appropriate sanction for this matter was to dismiss the adversary proceeding.

In this adversary proceeding, a Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff-Debtor’s claims under FRCP 12(b)(6). Plaintiff’s claims, in order, were 1) Wrongful Foreclosure, 2) Fraud, and 3) Violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The Court found that Plaintiff was able to allege sufficient facts to potentially state a claim for Claim I but not for Claims II or III. As a result, the Court granted Defendant’s Motion with respect to Claims II and III but denied Defendant’s Motion with respect to Claim I.

This case concerns a Trustee’s action under 11 U.S.C. §544(a)(3) to avoid a transfer of real property and subsequent cross Motions for Summary Judgment. The initial complaint alleged that the Trustee was able to avoid the transfer because the Deed to Secure Debt for the property in question was improperly attested to and thus, incapable of providing constructive notice to bona fide purchasers. The Court held that the Deed to Secure Debt did provide constructive notice and granted Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

This case concerns a student loan discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8). Based on allegations in the initial complaint Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the debt was incurred post-petition and is therefore non-dischargeable. Before the Court heard Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss, the Court granted the Debtor leave to amend the complaint. The Court held that the amendments cured the deficiencies that the Defendants contended were grounds for dismissal.

This case concerned whether the one-year extension of the § 546(a) statute of limitations begins to run from the appointment of the interim trustee or upon concluding the § 341 meeting of creditors.  The court concluded that the appointment runs from concluding § 341 meeting when creditors decline or otherwise fail to elect a trustee.  This result, the court reasoned, is mandated by § 546(a)’s reference to appointment under § 702.  That section appoints the interim trustee as the “permanent” case trustee. Additionally, the court rejected the argument § 702 merely recognizes the interim trustee’s continued appointment if no trustee is elected, as § 701(b) explicitly terminates the appointment of the interim trustee upon concluding the § 341 meeting.

Judge Austin E. Carter

The Debtor sought to employ counsel for special purpose under 11 U.S.C. § 327(e) to which the United States Trustee objected, claiming the proposed representation was over-broad and amounted to conducting the case.  The Court found that preparation of the Debtor’s schedules and statement of financial affairs as well as gathering required documents and attending the initial debtor interview amounted to conducting the case, and denied the application as to those acts.  The Court approved the employment as to general human resources and labor matters (WARN Act and FLSA), non-bankruptcy related outstanding and threatened liability lawsuits, and advising the Debtor’s bankruptcy counsel regarding previous efforts to work-out, negotiate, and resolve forbearance and other agreements with its primary secured lender.

In this adversary proceeding, creditor seeks determination of dischargeability of debt arising from medical malpractice action where the injury resulted from an improper prescription issued by a nurse practitioner working under delegated authority of the debtor-physician.  The Court granted in part and denied in part the debtor’s motion for summary judgment.  Granting summary judgment in favor of the Debtor as to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) claim because the statute requires that the injury be caused by the acts of the debtor herself rather than her agent, and because debtor’s actions amounted to not more than negligence.  Denying summary judgment as to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) claim because genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the nurse practitioner was the debtor’s agent and, if so, whether the nurse practitioner’s conduct constituted fraud.

Chief Judge James P. Smith

The debtor’s business, an LLC, entered into two revenue based factioning agreements in which the LLC sold its future receivables.  The LLC was to collect and deposit its receivables into a bank account.  The Purchaser would be repaid by debiting by ACH a fixed amount each business day.  The debtor personally guaranteed the contracts.  The debtor’s business had financial problems and could no longer make the daily payments.  The debtor placed a “stop payment” order on the ACH debts to the Purchaser.  The debtor filed a Chapter 11 case.  

The Purchaser argued its claim against the debtor was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2)(A), and (B), (4) and (6).  The court held that the debtor had not made false representations in the contracts or phone calls with the Purchaser.  The court held the transactions were actual sale contracts and that the LLC’s receivables were the Purchaser’s property.  The Purchaser’s embezzlement claim failed because it failed to show that the debtor appropriated the property for a use other than for which it was entrusted.  Finally, the court held there was no willful and malicious injury to the Purchaser.

In these consolidated adversary proceedings, the debtors are doctors of podiatric medicine and guarantors of their business’ debt which was secured by all assets of the business.  After the business had financial problems and closed, the debtors, without notice to the creditor, transferred the business’ assets to another podiatric group in exchange for employment offers to the debtors.  After the debtors filed Chapter 7 cases, the creditor argued their obligations were nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4) and (6).  

The court granted the debtors’ motion to dismiss the § 523(a)(4) objections, holding that the debtors had not acted in a fiduciary capacity or embezzled the creditor’s collateral.  The court denied the debtors’ motion as to the § 523(a)(6) objection, holding that the creditor’s complaint had stated a claim for willful and malicious injury by transfer of the collateral.In re

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