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.

When assignee of a credit card claim failed to attached a copy of the assignment to its proof of claim, the proof of claim was nevertheless entitled to prima facie validity under Rule 3001(f) so long as an attached summary included substantially all the information required by Rule 3001(c)(3)(A). Debtor's testimony that he did not know the assignee and had never done business with the assignee was not sufficient to rebut the presumption of validity when debtor admitted the debt on his schedules and no competing proofs of claim were filed. Therefore, the debtor's objection to the proof of claim based on unenforceability under state law was overruled.

Court denied discharge to debtor who transferred his one-half interest in his residence one month prior to filing for bankruptcy. The court found the transfer was made with intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)2)(A).

Chapter 7 debtors' real and personal property were subject to an IRS tax lien. The lien was wholly unsecured as to the real property and partially secured as to the personal property. Debtors sought to strip off the lien as to the real property. Because the lien attached to some equity in the personal property, the IRS's claim was an allowed secured claim for purposes of 11 U.S.C. § 506(d). Therefore, the Supreme Court's decision in Dewsnup v. Timm applied to prohibit lienstripping.

When a secured creditor's collateral is subject to joint ownership and the joint owner is also a cosigner on the debt, then a lien release provision in the debtor's plan renders the creditor's lien unenforceable against the debtor's interest in the collateral upon the debtor's discharge. However, the creditor may retain its lien to the extent of the co-owner's interest in the collateral until such time as the creditor receives payment of its debt in full at the contract rate.

Judge John T. Laney, III

In response to two pro se adversary complaints, the debtor moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, for a more particular statement, and to strike allegations. The Court addressed, at length, each of the debtor's objections to the complaints. The Court granted in part and denied in part the debtor's motions, and the Court gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaints.

In response to two pro se adversary complaints, the debtor moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, for a more particular statement, and to strike allegations. The Court addressed, at length, each of the debtor's objections to the complaints. The Court granted in part and denied in part the debtor's motions, and the Court gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaints.

The Court granted the Chapter 7 trustee's motion to reconsider an order denying the trustee's motion to reopen. The Court reexamined Johnson v. Alvarez (In re Alvarez), 224 F.3d 1273 (11th Cir. 2000), and concluded it mandated the result that Georgia's discovery rule does not apply when determining whether a cause of action is property of the estate.

Chief Judge James P. Smith

The Chapter 13 trustee objected to confirmation of the above-median-income debtor’s plan on the grounds that the plan did not comply with the “projected disposable income” requirement of 11 U.S.C. § 1325(b)(1)(B).  The trustee argued that the debtor’s non-filing spouse’s social security benefits should be included in the plan payments, which would result in unsecured claims being paid in full.  The court held that the social security benefits of a non-filing spouse are not included in the calculation of the debtor’s projected disposable income.  The court also rejected the trustee’s argument that the plan was not proposed in good faith, 11 U.S.C. § 1325(c)(3), because the debtor was voluntarily agreeing to pay unsecured creditors more than he was required to pay.

The Chapter 13 trustee objected to confirmation of the below-median-income debtors’ plan on the grounds that the plan did not comply with the “projected disposable income” requirement of 11 U.S.C. § 1325(b)(2)(B).  The trustee agreed that social security benefits should be included in the calculation of a below-median debtor’s projected disposable income.  The court, consistent with the majority of reported decisions, held that social security benefits are specifically excluded from “current monthly income” and are not included in the calculation of projected disposable income.  The court also rejected the trustee’s argument that the plan was not filed in good faith, 11 U.S.C. § 1325(c)(3), and held that the debtors’ had shown “cause” to extend the terms of their plan from 3 to 5 years.

The bank objected to the dischargeability of its claim under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(B) because the debtor had falsely claimed on his financial statements that he owned certain real property.  Although the bank had foreclosed on the real property that secured the debtor’s debt, the bank had not had the sale confirmed in state court.  The bankruptcy court held that, under state law, the bank had no enforceable deficiency claim against the debtor and dismissed the bank’s complaint with prejudice.

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