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

The Chapter 7 trustee moved for summary judgment in an adversary proceeding seeking to avoid the debtor's allegedly fraudulent transfers to the debtor's son. In a lengthy opinion, the Court held that the record contained many disputed issues of material fact arising from the defendant's argument that the debtor was merely returning property belonging to the debtor. The Court also examined the impact of the 2010 amendments to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.

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.

Secured creditor objected to confirmation of Chapter 13 Debtor's plan on the ground that the plan undervalued its collateral, a manufactured home. Debtor conceded the home was undervalued but disputed the creditor's valuation. At a hearing, Debtor presented evidence of value based on a market approach and comparable sales, and the creditor presented evidence of value based on a cost approach and NADA values. The court found Debtor's evidence better reflected current retail values for manufactured homes in the locality. Therefore, the Court accepted the value proffered by Debtor and required Debtor to amend his plan to reflect that value.

Debtor's errors and omissions from schedules were based on carelessness and inadequate legal counsel. They did not rise to the level of fraudulent intent necessary to deny a discharge under 11 USC sec. 727(a)(2) or (a)(4).

The debtor's student loans were nondischargeable because debtor failed to prove repayment of the loans would cause undue hardship. The court applied the three-prong Brunner analysis, and found the debtor failed to prove prong 2: that repayment of the loans would prevent her from maintaining a minimal standard of living for the duration of the loan repayment period. The debtor was currently employed. Although she might have to change jobs in the future, she had no health problems preventing her from working; and she could expect her expenses to decrease in the near future.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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