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.

Chief Judge John T. Laney, III

Creditor (Piggly Wiggly) is held in contempt for willfully violating the automatic stay based on its having issued a warrant postpetition for Debtor's arrest based on a worthless check written prepetition. Debtor carried her burden and satisfied both prongs of the test established in Barnette v. Evans, 673 F.2d 1250 (11th Cir. 1982), so that having the criminal warrant issued was stayed by the bankruptcy filing.

The court sustains Debtor's objection to McLane Company, Inc.'s proof of claim. The court finds that McLane Company, Inc. has not established the elements necessary for a reclamation claim under § 546(c) of the Code.

Robert F. Hershner, Jr. (Retired)

Debtor could not claim as exempt the cash value of life insurance policies under O.C.G.A. § 44-13-100(a)(8).

The Chapter 13 debtor defaulted prepetition on a retail land sales contract. The creditor moved for relief from the automatic stay so that he could remove the debtor from the realty. The Court denied the motion, noting that the debtor's interest had not been foreclosed under state law.

Debtor obtained a rapid refund on his income tax return by fraudulently representing that he owed no child support arrearage. The Court held that the debtor's obligation to repay the rapid refund was nondischargeable.

Judge James D. Walker Jr. (Retired)

If a creditor perfected its lien on a mobile home within the 90 day period prior to the debtor's petition and more than 20 days after delivery of the mobile home, and if the Chapter 13 trustee does not actually bring an action to litigate avoidance of the perfection of the lien prior to confirmation of the plan, the res judicata effect of Section 1327(a) will protect the creditor's allowed secured claim only if the trustee had opportunity to litigate the avoidance because she actually knew about the untimeliness of the creditor's perfection of its lien, and if the trustee discovers the untimely perfection subsequent to confirmation, she may bring an action to avoid it.

The secured status of a creditor should be determined for the purpose of Section 1325(a)(5)(B) based on collateral's confirmation date replacement value, but in a Chapter 13 case, secured status should be determined based on a value no less than the petition date liquidation value if the creditor's claim is secured by inherently depreciable collateral.

Annulment of the automatic stay, entailing retroactive validation of actions taken in violation of the stay, requires the party seeking annulment to show that (1) it innocently violated the stay, (2) its innocent violation of the stay did not interfere with the debtor's "breathing spell," and (3) its innocent violation of the stay did not injure other creditors.

Using four-factor approach in determining "good cause" under FRCP 55(c) and discussing creditor's notice requirements for collection of attorney fees under Georgia law.

If the value of a Chapter 13 debtor's interest in property would be high enough to pay interest to unsecured creditors pursuant to Section 726(a)(5) if the case were one under Chapter 7, then the debtor's Chapter 13 plan must provide for such interest in order for the plan to meet the requirements of Section 1325(a)(4).

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